I have tried to avoid spending too much attention on the “will she/won’t she” articles since the bottom line is that there is no reason for Hillary Clinton to announce her candidacy anytime before next year. However, there are some data points worth noting which demonstrate the “inevitability” of Hillary Clinton isn’t what it once was.
Report from FiveThirtyEight:
We’re still a long way from the 2016 election, but Clinton needs to decide soon whether to run. The political landscape right now is more Republican-leaning than at a comparable point in the 2012 cycle (when President Obama, with a 46 percent approval rating, led a generic Republican 42 percent to 39 percent). Obama’s approval has dropped to 42 percent.
In four polls conducted over the past month, YouGov asked more than 2,500 registered voters whether they would vote for the Democratic or Republican candidate for president in 2016. The Republican candidate led, on average, 39.2 percent to 36.7 percent. Again, these results are among registered, not likely, voters, so this lead has nothing to do with turnout.
The current environment suggests Clinton would need to be stronger than a generic Democratic candidate to be considered the favorite. Instead, her standing has deteriorated. YouGov has been polling Clinton’s favorable ratings among adults over the past six years (adults overall tend to be more Democratic leaning than just registered voters).
Also mentioned is the fact that Hillary Clinton handily led most every poll against potential GOP challengers in 2016. Now, however, many polls show her tied or trailing in some cases.
Clinton’s edge against Republicans in a potential 2016 matchup has also taken a hit. She once led by double-digits in matchups against most Republicans. But recent live telephone polls in the key swing states of Iowa and New Hampshire have Clinton neck and neck with 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney. Nationally, Quinnipiac found Romney leading Clinton 45 percent to 44 percent among registered voters. At a comparable point in the 2012 cycle, Romney was down 7 percentage points to Obama. Clinton led New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie by 1 percentage point, and she holds leads of 4 to 9 percentage points on the other Republican candidates.
Even with all that said, she’s still the front runner on the Democratic side whether she announces tomorrow or four months from now.