December 3, 2015

THE HILL: Hillary Clinton’s Likability Problem.

Allies of Hillary Clinton are confident she will win the Democratic presidential nomination, but they are worried about one big thing: her likability problem in the general election.

Clinton has rebounded from a rough spring and summer with a strong fall. And while her eyes remain on the primary, she is already testing general election themes against her possible GOP opponents as they do battle in what could be a drawn-out Republican primary.

Presidential elections are often decided on personality instead of specific policies. Along those lines, people in Clinton’s orbit are worried she doesn’t pass the would-you-like-to-have-a-beer-with-her test.
It’s a test she failed against then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in 2008. Throughout that cycle, Clinton stressed her “35 years of experience” while Obama pitched his “hope and change” message.

The likability test came up often on the campaign trail, most notably in the last New Hampshire debate that year when Clinton acknowledged Obama is “very likable.”

In a quip that may have cost him New Hampshire, Obama responded, “You’re likable enough, Hillary.”

Apparently, he was wrong.

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