Forget all the polls in the presidential sweepstakes and wipe the slate clean for a whole new set of numbers. And possibly another candidate.
Hillary Clinton’s support has been dropping like a rock, sinking into the mid-40 percent range, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, a fiery self-described, dyed-in-the-wool socialist from Vermont, has shot up 10 points since July, and is polling nearly 30 percent in a CNN/ORC poll.
Meantime, Vice President Joe Biden, who is seriously thinking about challenging Hillary, is already polling nearly 20 percent in a three-way race.
On the Republican side, TV celebrity and real estate tycoon Donald Trump is polling 28 percent. But he’s also the candidate who draws the highest percentage of GOP voters (26 percent) who tell pollsters there’s “no way” they would support him.
Mr. Biden says he’s “actively considering” entering the race for his party’s nomination, after being told by major donors that they were “underwhelmed” by Mrs. Clinton’s performance as a candidate.
While Hillary has piled up a $47 million campaign war chest in the first quarter, only 52 of the 770 fundraisers who collected money for President Obama have been bundlers for Mrs. Clinton or have held a money-raising events for her, according to a Washington Post analysis.
Democrats who were holding back on fundraising and keeping their own wallets zipped said they were waiting to see whether Mr. Biden decides to jump into the race.
Mr. Biden dealt with that question Wednesday in a CNN recording of what was to be an off-the-record conference call with the Democratic National Committee.
“We’re dealing at home with whether or not there is the emotional fuel at this time to run,” Mr. Biden replied to a question about his candidacy.
“If I were to announce to run, I have to be able to commit to all of you that I would be able to give it my whole heart and my whole soul, and right now, both are pretty well banged up,” he said.
“I’m not trying to skirt your question. That’s the truth of the matter, but believe me, I’ve given this a lot of thought and dealing internally with the family on how we do this.”
Mr. Biden has been following Hillary’s declining polls, which show that she has a lot of political vulnerabilities and that he comes off as the stronger candidate.
The Quinnipiac poll “shows Joe Biden performing a little better than Hillary Clinton against the leading GOP candidates in a general election matchup, and that his favorability is higher than that of any candidate — Democrat or Republicans,” CBS News reported.
Despite her position as the Democratic front-runner, Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy is loaded down with political baggage and assorted scandals.
First and foremost is her use of a secret, personal email server that was not under the government’s control and is now being investigated by the FBI after some of her emails were found to contain classified information. That’s against the law.
Then there is the House investigation into the terrorist attacks on our consulate in Benghazi and whether there was an attempted State Department coverup in the episode that left four Americans were dead, including the U.S. ambassador.
Both of these scandals continue to hurt Mrs. Clinton among Americans who doubt her story and say she’s not honest or trustworthy.
When Quinnipiac asked voters what they thought of her, “the word ‘liar’ came to mind more often than others, and ‘dishonest’ was second,” CBS said.
“The word most associated with Trump was “arrogant,” followed by “blowhard.”
While the CNN/ORC poll shows Mrs. Clinton still clinging to a lead, it isn’t much of one.
“She tops Trump and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker by 6 points each among registered voters, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush by 9 points, and businesswoman Carly Fiorina by 10 points,” according to CNN.
But it wouldn’t take very much to drive her polls down sharply. New findings among her emails could contain classified, top secret information, or damaging observations about why the U.S. consulate in Benghazi did not get the protection our ambassador pleaded for, but never came.
CNN’s polling found a “growing perception” that by using her own private email server as secretary of state, Mrs. Clinton “did something wrong.”
That’s what 56 percent now say, up from 51 percent in March.
That’s a lot of baggage to carry into a presidential race and the chief reason why 53 percent of voters have an unfavorable opinion of her.
The email minefield has taken a large toll on her reputation, and no doubt there will be larger explosions to come.
Mr. Obama’s roller coaster economy is another ticking time bomb that’s still likely to be at the top of the list of major public concerns in 2016.
And let’s not forget this administration’s steady stream of unending scandals, from the Veterans Administration to the Internal Revenue Service to the Energy Department’s solar bankruptcies. And the latest: A family of four earning nearly $500,000 a year has been living in a $1,574 a month public housing apartment in New York City subsidized by U.S. taxpayers.
Housing and Urban Development investigators say there are 25,000 “over-income” families getting bargain rentals, including a tenant with assets worth $1.6 million in a $300 a month apartment.
But the Democrats don’t do “waste, fraud and abuse.” Ask Hillary, who said she was “dead broke” after leaving the White House and now lives comfortably in a multimillion dollar Washington, D.C. mansion.
• Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist and contributor to The Washington Times.