According to a July 22, 2015 Quinippiac University Poll, Hillary Clinton's once overwhelming lead in public opinion has been cut substantially, and it's still a long way to the February 1, 2016 Iowa Caucus. In states that will decide the 2016 presidential election, Quinippiac reports that "Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, runs as well as, or better than Clinton against Rubio, Bush and Walker." According to its latest poll, Quinippiac explains how Clinton's lead has eroded in swing states, while Sanders's surge has spread from Iowa and New Hampshire to other key regions:
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is behind or on the wrong side of a too-close-to-call result in matchups with three leading Republican contenders, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in Colorado, Iowa and Virginia, according to a Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll released today...
In several matchups in Iowa and Colorado, another Democratic contender, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, runs as well as, or better than Clinton against Rubio, Bush and Walker...
Colorado voters say 62 - 34 percent that Hillary Clinton is not honest and trustworthy; 52 - 46 percent that she has strong leadership qualities and 57 - 39 percent that she does not care about their needs and problems...
Hillary Clinton is not honest and trustworthy, Iowa voters say 59 - 33 percent...
Hillary Clinton is not honest and trustworthy, Virginia voters say 55 - 39 percent...
"Hillary Clinton's numbers have dropped among voters in the key swing states of Colorado, Iowa and Virginia. She has lost ground in the horserace and on key questions about her honesty and leadership," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. "On being a strong leader, a key metric in presidential campaigns, she has dropped four to 10 points depending on the state and she is barely above 50 percent in each of the three states."
In addition, it's important to remember that Clinton already finished third in the 2008 Iowa Caucus to Obama and John Edwards. Therefore, a precedent exists of Clinton's name recognition and political prowess giving way to a relative unknown who electrifies the masses; Sanders is filling arenas for a reason, and it's a similar reason to what made Obama so unique in 2008. Also, it's important to note that the phrase "Hillary Clinton is not honest and trustworthy" is not merely a meme or Twitter message from a Bernie Sanders supporter. Quinnipiac used those words in its poll (around 1,200 voters in each state were polled) and voters in Colorado, Iowa, and Virginia expressed that Clinton's trust issues will be a key factor in 2016.
It's believed by some people that Clinton is the only way for Democrats to win the White House. However, this mentality ignores the key issue of trust and how this sentiment will decide the presidential election. For example, Quinnipiac states that, "For 38 percent of Ohio voters, honesty is the top quality in a candidate." The belief system stating only Clinton can beat a GOP challenger also ignores the recent finding from Quinippiac that reads, "In several matchups in Iowa and Colorado, another Democratic contender, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, runs as well as, or better than Clinton against Rubio, Bush and Walker."
Furthermore, the number one reason for Democrats to vote for Bernie Sanders in 2016 is that swing states are already moving away from Clinton (in search of more honest candidates like Sanders) and Election Day is just over 470 days away. If Bernie Sanders has gone from an impossibility, to drawing crowds of thousands, and now running "as well as, or better than Clinton against Rubio, Bush, and Walker," then imagine the political world 470 days from now.
The political paradigm within the Democratic Party is changing, and grass roots campaigning from organizations like Bernie 2016 TV, Feel The Bern TV ,Black Women 4 Bernie, Blacks for Bernie, Latinos for Bernie, Veterans for Bernie 2016 and American veterans across the country, has made such a shift become reality. Billions in campaign donations simply can't buy a person's trust. Name recognition can at times be beneficial, but not when The New York Times and Washington Post are focused on emails and foreign donor controversies.
Also, even before the recent Quinnipiac Poll, CNN published an article on June 17th titled Poll: Clinton's honesty and trustworthy problem extends to swing states, explaining the issue of trustworthiness in key states like Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania:
(CNN)A majority of voters in three key presidential swing states view Hillary Clinton as not honest and trustworthy, according to a new poll out Wednesday...
In Florida, 51% of voters hold the negative view of Clinton, compared to 43% who feel she is trustworthy. In Ohio, 53% of voters find Clinton not trustworthy, compared to 40% who do. And in Pennsylvania, 54% of voters don't find her honest, while 40% do.
Clinton's early state honest and trustworthy numbers follow what a CNN/ORC poll released earlier this month found: 42% of Americans consider her honest and trustworthy, while 57% don't.
Again, these findings aren't politically motivated diatribes from Democrats longing for change within the Democratic Party or GOP pundits on Fox. In terms of impact on the next election, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Colorado, Virginia, and Iowa combined have 95 Electoral Votes. The 2016 Democratic nominee needs to win these 95 Electoral Votes, not be defending against a criminal inquiry regarding emails.
Interestingly, while CNN writes "The Clinton campaign has said that they don't view public polling as reliable," the primary justification for Hillary Clinton supporters has always been an enormous lead within earlier polls. With this lead dwindling, and Bernie Sanders surging in some states and polling "as well as, or better than Clinton against Rubio, Bush and Walker," it will be interesting to see how the Clinton campaign responds to a rapidly changing political environment. Pretty soon, it's likely that the new talking point about Sanders running as a Democrat (after being an Interdependent for years) will be greatly overshadowed by the fact swing states are looking for honesty, not necessarily the letter "D" associated with a person's name.
As far as party affiliation, the Democratic nominee for president will have to earn the African-American vote in 2016, within swing states and through the nation. This is an important and welcomed paradigm shift, and one that will be tough for Clinton, especially after a controversial 3 AM television advertisement (targeting Obama in 2008) and a curious three week delay in addressing Ferguson. While Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley showed up at the recent Netroots Nation event and spoke to Black Lives Matter advocates, Chris Weigant is correct to ask, Where Was Hillary?
The issues presented at Netroots by Black Lives Matter must be addressed by the next Democratic nominee, and I firmly believe Bernie Sanders will rise to the occasion. In addition to winning swing states, the next Democratic nominee will have to win the trust of African-American voters. This will be crucial, especially when the Sandra Bland tragedy has brought racism to the forefront of American politics in 2015.
Ultimately, in terms of trust, nobody has ever accused Bernie Sanders of being untrustworthy; in fact his honesty at times has been seen as a political liability. If polls had once convinced some voters that Sanders couldn't win, these same polls should now illuminate a rapidly changing political evolution in key swing states. Quinnipiac recently stated "Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is behind or on the wrong side of a too-close-to-call result in matchups with three leading Republican contenders." Those words, as well as the finding that "U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, runs as well as, or better than Clinton against Rubio, Bush and Walker," should be the number one reason to vote for the Vermont Senator in 2016.