Democratic pollsters Patrick Caddell and Douglas Schoen have urged the president to forgo re-election for the good of his party and the nation. But those don’t seem like factors that would necessarily influence this president. Instead we might see him decide to switch to a vice presidential candidate who will be stronger, better, and change the thinking of a majority of the Democrats–namely, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Last December a USA Today/Gallup poll found Mrs. Clinton to be the most admired woman in politics. A poll in March found that 66% viewed Mrs. Clinton favorably and just 31% unfavorably. Mr. Obama’s numbers, which have since declined, were 54% and 43%; Vice President Joe Biden’s, 46% to 41%. An October Time poll of last October pitted Mrs. Clinton against Republican candidates. She led Mitt Romney by 17%, Rick Perry by 26% and Herman Cain by 22%. Mr. Obama’s leads in the same poll were 3%, 12% and 12%, respectively.
Paul Starr, co-editor of The American Prospect, a liberal-left magazine, has observed that 45 percent of the people who disapprove of Mr. Obama’s performance view Mrs. Clinton favorably. It is fair to say that Mrs. Clinton’s addition to the ticket would be a substantial gain for President Obama that he badly needs next November, since she is, as Mr. Starr notes, a member of the part of his administration that has the highest approval rating, and more important she has not at all been a part of the disastrous economic policies that have caused the Obama drop in popularity. Even better for Election Day, she would gain support among older white voters, who did not support Mr. Obama very much in 2008. Mr. Starr also cites a Suffolk University Florida poll that shows that Mrs. Clinton on the Obama ticket would win Florida for the two of them, even if Sen. Marco Rubio is the Republican’s vice presidential candidate.