WashPost Poll Notes Hillary's Good Numbers on 'Strong Family Values'

July 13th, 2006 7:18 AM

The Washington Post puts Hillary Clinton on the front page today, a story by Lois Romano headlined "Beyond the Poll Numbers, Voter Doubts About Clinton." This could be read as a bad-news story for Hillary. But it's mostly just a forgettable speculative bubble about 2008. Here's what sticks out to me in the Post poll:

A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll highlighted the paradox. Fifty-four percent of those responding view her favorably, and a significant majority give her high marks for leadership (68 percent), strong family values (65 percent), and being open and friendly (58 percent). At the same time, only 37 percent of Democrats in the poll say they would definitely vote for her for president.

The Posties seem worried most about how Hillary seems cold. One caption reads "Personality is likely to be a key issue if Hillary Clinton pursues the presidency." But how do 65 percent of Americans look at Hillary Clinton's unforgettable marital issues and check the "yes" box on "She has strong family values"? Obviously, some compartmentalize -- they buy the liberal-media line that she's that Scriptures-in-her-purse Methodist pondering the "politics of meaning," or they strangely compensate for Bill's serial adultery by making her comparatively Puritan. Obviously, Hillary has had some success in political posturing against cultural products like violent video games. But her strong ties to the libertine left and a libertine husband should mean lower poll ratings than this.

A graphic on the Post poll next to the story suggests she has more problems on "She understands the problems of people like you" (54 percent yes, 43 no) and "She is honest and trustworthy" (52 percent yes, 42 no). Again, Hillary's willingness to sell ridiculous lies -- starting with, most famously, that she believed her husband's Lewinsky denials until she claimed she "gasped for breath" in August, after the DNA test results -- hasn't registered enough, at least for me.