Is Hillary Rodham Clinton in trouble? You would think so from the coverage of recent polls showing that her unfavorable ratings have increased nationally and in key states.
Multiple media outlets and pundits have suggested that her personal unpopularity 20 months before the presidential election is a major problem for her. A Washington Post article described the poll numbers as “decidedly sobering for Hillary Clinton’s presidential prospects in 2016.”
The underlying theory is, as The Post piece put it, that “presidential politics tends to be dominated by personality” and that Mrs. Clinton “may be hard pressed to win a traditional presidential election in which likability matters most.” Likewise, a Los Angeles Times article approvingly cited the maxim that “it’s often said that elections can boil down to a contest of who would a voter rather have a beer with.”
None of these claims are supported by the data.