A new Quinnipiac poll of three presidential swing states is crack for political junkies looking for their next data fix.
The poll examines 2016 voter preferences in Colorado, Iowa, and Virginia. All three states were won by Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, but in 2004 had appeared in the “red” column for George W. Bush. The three are now considered “swing states,” since some Republican strategists believe that Obama’s election and reelection were electoral aberrations.
Concerning the 2016 presidential election, most strategists agree that Virginia’s 13 electoral votes and/or Colorado’s 9 must be part of the 270 it would take for the GOP to win the White House.
With that math in mind, the entire poll is worth examining. However, the answers to the following important question could have the most profound impact on which party emerges victorious in 2016: “Hillary Clinton would be the first female president. Does that make you more likely to support Hillary Clinton for president, less likely, or does it make no difference?”
In Colorado, 15% of voters said that they would be more likely to vote for Clinton, and 11% said Clinton’s gender made them less likely, giving her a net positive of 4 percentage points among Colorado voters.
Those 4 points could be key for Clinton, considering that in 2012, President Obama won Colorado by a 5-point margin of 51% to 46% over GOP nominee Mitt Romney.
In a 2016 Colorado general-election match-up, the poll shows Clinton defeating Kentucky senator Rand Paul by 43% to 41%. Also within the margin of error, Clinton defeats Wisconsin governor Scott Walker by 42% to 40%.
The putative Republican front-runner, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, gets squashed by Clinton by 44% to 36%; she beats New Jersey governor Chris Christie by 43% to 34%.
In battleground Virginia, 14% of voters are more likely to support Clinton to be the first female president, while 9% are less likely. Her 5-point net positive gender-influenced vote could be a tremendous advantage in her attempt to win Virginia’s 13 hotly contested electoral votes. Republicans dreaming of winning back the White House remember that, in 2012, Obama won the state by a margin of only 3 points, with 50.8% to Romney’s 47.8%.
In Quinnipiac’s Virginia general-election match-up, Jeb Bush is tied with Clinton at 42%. Scott Walker loses to Clinton by a margin of 45% to 50%, and she defeats Rand Paul 44% to 42%.
The nascent Clinton 2016 campaign must be rejoicing over these Quinnipiac numbers, as they contemplate how to forge a path to the magic number of 270 and the keys to the kingdom. They may well be saying, “It’s the girls, stupid!” And they would be right, because, in the 2012 presidential election, 53% of all voters were women. Obama won the women’s vote by an 11-point margin of 55% to Romney’s 44%. One can imagine that these memorable numbers will hang in a large banner across Clinton’s future campaign headquarters, as a reminder of what is possible.
Recently, in an extensive interview in National Journal, Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard and currently the only woman running for the 2016 GOP nomination, said that Clinton, “will play the gender card over and over again, which is unfortunate but predictable.” Also predictable is that, during the 2016 presidential campaign, sexism will be the new racism, as Hillary harnesses her potential to earn 4% or 5% of gender-influenced voters in key swing states.
Cross-posted at National Review Online