Hillary Clinton’s negatives complicate Democratic ballot; Obama joining her in N. Carolina


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Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton will campaign alongside Barack Obama in North Carolina on Tuesday in their first joint appearance of the election season, expecting a boost from a sitting president whose popularity is strong among the sorts of voters Democrats need to turn out in the battleground state.

Less clear is whether Clinton can offer the same sort of lift for fellow Democrats in tough races of their own.

An offshoot of Clinton’s low favorability rating is that candidates who tie themselves to her risk alienating voters they need to win, polling shows.

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey last month asked whether people would be more inclined to vote for a Democratic candidate who endorsed Clinton’s presidential bid. Some 32% said they would be less likely to vote for that candidate, while only 15% said they would be more inclined. More than half said the endorsement wouldn’t matter either way.

In a dozen battleground states—including North Carolina—voters by a 13-point margin would be less inclined to vote for candidates who endorse Clinton, the Journal/NBC poll showed. Among independent voters, just 4% said they would be more apt to vote for candidates who support Mrs. Clinton, while 38% would be less inclined.

So it’s not an easy call to share a stage with the presumptive Democratic nominee in states that are up for grabs in November, analysts say. When Clinton made a campaign stop in Raleigh, N.C., on June 22, neither Democratic gubernatorial candidate Roy Cooper nor Senate hopeful Deborah Ross showed up for the rally. Both cited scheduling conflicts.

Both Ross and Cooper are planning to attend the event in Charlotte with Clinton and the president, who is especially popular among African-American voters. Blacks constituted about one-third of the electorate in the North Carolina Democratic primary in March.

Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, is an even riskier candidate for state and local GOP candidates to endorse, polling shows. Some 40% of voters said they would be less inclined to vote for a Republican candidate who endorsed Trump, the Journal poll showed, while only 16% said they would be more likely to back the candidate. An additional 43% said the endorsement would have no impact.

Such numbers are rooted in the unusually poor public images of both party’s presumptive nominees, polling experts said. Going back to 1992, no major party nominee has racked up negative ratings as high as the two 2016 candidates. As of last month, 55% had an unfavorable view of Clinton; 60%, Trump.

A version of this article appeared at wsj.com.

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