Hillary Rodham Clinton President 2012Fri Apr 13, 2012 06:0072.201.40.216
Hillary Rodham Clinton President 2012
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There is solid statistical evidence that a centrist, bipartisan approach to governing and leading is far more popular than narrower, class-based politics.
A recent national survey I conducted with 800 registered voters tested the appeals of the Clintons and Obama in trial heats against Mitt Romney, the strongest potential Republican nominee. The purpose of this analysis was not simply to pit the Clintons—both of whom have said they support the president—against Obama. Rather it is a serious effort to understand the appeals of the three leading Democrats in America, and how voters respond to them.
The American people, despite divisions and polarizations, are looking for leaders who can bring the country together and govern in a fiscally prudent way.
The results of the survey—which show that both Bill and Hillary Clinton have wider appeal than Obama—make it very clear that the American people favor a broader, more inclusive approach in politics.
In a two-way race for president between Bill Clinton and Mitt Romney, an overwhelming majority prefers Clinton, 60 percent to 24 percent. Although Hillary Clinton did not fare quite as well as her husband, a clear majority (52 percent) says it would vote for her over Romney, with only one third saying they would vote for the former governor. The Clintons, both individually and collectively, are able to garner at least a majority, if not three fifths, of the vote in the wake of a crippling economic downturn and stagnant economic growth.
Meanwhile, given a choice between the incumbent president and Romney, voters are split evenly, with each candidate getting 43 percent.
A detailed examination of the poll results shows the breadth and depth of the appeal of both Clintons:
While not surprisingly, Democrats and liberals say they would vote for Bill Clinton by 83 to 5 percent and 95 to 2 percent respectively, independents prefer him by 58 to 25 percent, and almost one third of Republicans (31 percent) support him. About two thirds of moderates (66 percent) and almost one third of conservatives (32 percent) say they would vote for the former president as well. And more than three quarters of both blacks and Hispanics prefer the former president, while 57 percent of whites do.
Hillary Clinton’s support is not as broad as her husband’s, but it is still quite strong. Moderates support her over Romney by 57 to 26 percent, and independents by 48 to 34 percent. Solid majorities of Hispanics and blacks say they would vote for Hillary, and a near majority of whites (49 percent) agree.
An examination of the demographic breakdown of the Obama-Romney horse race indicates that the president’s support is much weaker overall and quite limited. He wins only a narrow plurality with moderates, 46 to 41 percent, but loses with independents by 34 to 49 percent, and loses the white vote by 35 to 50 percent.
The significance of these findings should not be underestimated.
The enormous amount of support for Bill Clinton—six in 10 Americans are for him—is not just retrospective admiration; it is prospective respect for, and anticipation of, what his approach for politics would be in America.
The former president, while supporting the current president, has been much more outspoken in the past about the limits of government, the need for partnerships between government and the private sector, and passage by Congress of the Bowles-Simpson plan to reduce the debt and deficit. He has made it clear that this is not the time to raise taxes, and he has been a longtime advocate of fiscal restraint and the need to reduce the size and scope of government. He has consistently eschewed populism and excessive partisanship, and has been an advocate for cooperation and bipartisanship.
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