The question of whether Hillary Clinton is uniquely polarizing is actually pretty hard to answer. For instance: The metric you use matters quite a lot. If you're going by how many voters "definitely would not" vote for her, she's less polarizing than John Edwards, Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Fred Thompson, or Mitt Romney. But some say that number is a function of name recognition -- that folks are sure they won't vote for candidates they don't know. So if you're going by favorability numbers, then Clinton's 44% unfavorable is fairly high. But that may just mean she's further along in a process that any high profile Democrat will undergo. At this point in the 2004 cycle, John Kerry's unfavorables were between 13% and 20% -- by the time the election rolled around, he was in the mid-40s, posting numbers pretty comparable to Hillary's.
So that's the question: Not whether Hillary Clinton is more polarizing right this second. Given that everyone knows who she is, that simply has to be true. But whether she'll be more polarizing than John Edwards after eight months of haircut and hedge fund smears, or Barack Obama, after an election full of madrassa insinuations. Clinton's numbers probably reflect the end point of that process -- she's been smeared with maximum energy and efficiency for 15 years now. Edwards and Obama haven't, but if either captures the nomination, the GOP's attack machine will boot up, and do to them exactly what it did to John Kerry. If someone has an argument for why, at the end of that political war, they'll be less polarizing than Clinton, than that's a fair comparison. But the current numbers are not.
You need to be logged in to comment.
(If there's one thing we know about comment trolls, it's that they're lazy)