It’s Wonderful Wednesday for Senator Hillary Clinton, who’s dominating political news with a double-barreled accomplishment: third-quarter fundraising numbers that return her to the top of the money pack after trailing Barack Obama for a good while; and a new Washington Post/ABC national poll that shows her with the support of a majority of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents.
On the money front, Clinton raised $27 million in the third quarter as compared to Obama’s $19 million (though her margin shrinks to $3 million if you exclude funds usable only for the general election; and Obama continues to have a solid lead in overall primary fundraising). But the bigger news was that she topped Obama in the number of new donors. Up until now, Obama’s ability to raise money from a small-donor base has been one of the signatures of his campaign.
The new poll shows Clinton expanding her lead in the nominating contest from a 41-27 margin over Obama in the last Post-ABC survey a few weeks ago to a 53-20 margin today (Edwards remained stable at 13, with no other candidate exceeding 3%). But the poll’s internal numbers are what makes it potentially significant. Here’s how the Post‘s Chris Cillizza summarizes them:
Women continue to be the bedrock of Clinton’s campaign strength; she takes 57 percent among women compared to 15 percent for Obama and 13 percent for Edwards. But, among men, too, her numbers have ticked up considerably and she now leads Obama 48 percent to 26 percent. In the Post poll earlies this month, Clinton received just 29 percent among men while in our July survey she drew 40 percent among men.
Her numbers have also grown among self-identifying Democrats and Democratic leaning Independents. Among the former group, Clinton is now at 56 percent — a ten point increase from the Post’s early September poll — while among the latter her number has increased 16 points to 46 percent.
Clinton is ahead among every age group (55+ voters is where she runs strongest with 60 percent support), in every region of the country (65 percent in the Northeast) and at every education level (high school or less 59 percent). White voters favor Clinton 52 percent to 17 for Obama and 16 percent for Edwards; black voters go for Clinton over Obama 51 percent to 38 percent.
On top of everything else, 57% of poll respondents now think Clinton is the most “electable” Democrat, indicating that as we get closer to actual voting and electability concerns typically rise, she’s turned that liability around, for the moment at least.
You can stare at these numbers for a while and come up with a few potential HRC weaknesses (e.g., the likelihood that her standing among African-Americans might decline in a one-on-one competition with Obama), and an Iowa loss might well change everything–but in general, she’s looking very strong.
After a week in which most of the media coverage of Clinton rev-olved, believe it or not, around Deep Analysis of her distinctive laugh, you’d have to guess she enjoying a good, uninhibited belly laugh today.