One of the reasons Republican Presidential candidates are so eager to talk about Senator Hillary Clinton is that the issue environment is so treacherous for the GOP. While the country is evenly divided in its opinion of the former First Lady and current Presidential candidate, there are few issues where Republicans are trusted as much as Democrats. At the moment, voters are trust Democrats more than Republicans on nine out of the ten issues tracked by Rasmussen Reports. This tilt toward the Democrats continues a trend of many months.
People can and will argue whether intensity is measured here; the list suggests, however, that whether you're a one issue voter or a 'big picture' voter, the issues favor Democrats (so expect plenty of distraction on the part of Republicans).
And general impressions matter. As is mentioned by Frank Newport at Gallup via Pollster.com:
Two new survey findings -- from Gallup and Fox News -- remind us of a lesson that always bears repeating. Those of us that write and obsess about politics typically over-estimate the degree to which ordinary Americans follow the day-to-day workings of government and politics. It is what Gallup's Frank Newport calls "insider parochialism" in his latest installment of Gallup Guru:
"The tendency for those of us who are following the presidential election closely to assume that everyone else is too."
Or, if you will, it's still really early for everyone else.
A recent Pew Research report found that despite the early start of this year’s campaign and the fact that it is the first truly open seat in a half century, interest in following news of the presidential campaign is not particularly high. The Pew analysts report: "The public's overall impression of the presidential campaign is that it is too long and not very interesting."
Of course, we know based on previous experience that these things will pick up once the primary season begins. But at the moment poll data are a helpful corrective to those of us caught up in the excitement of the presidential race. To many Americans, it simply isn’t something on which they are focused at this point.
Sure, that doesn't apply to us. Now, does that apply to primary voters? Ah, as for that, check in with us after Iowa and NH and we'll see.