The reemergence of Monica Lewinsky on the political stage presents an interesting dilemma for election scientists – presuming of course former U.S. First Lady/ Senator/ Secretary of State Hillary Clinton runs for president in 2016 (as she is expected to do).
Lewinsky’s recent spread in Vanity Fair prompted all sorts of discussion: Was she re-entering the limelight to hurt Clinton’s chances? Or was she trying to help her?
Clinton is the clear frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, and early polling from swing states like Ohio shows why: According to a new Quinnipaic University survey of Ohio voters conducted between May 7-12, Clinton leads every one of her likely prospective GOP challengers in a head-to-head matchup.
Currently she enjoys margins of …
- 48 – 39 percent over former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush;
- 47 – 40 percent over U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida;
- 49 – 41 percent over U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky;
- 46 – 38 percent over N.J. Gov. Christopher Christie;
- 48 – 41 percent over U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin;
- 51 – 37 percent over U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas;
- 49 – 41 percent over former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
Clinton has had her ups and downs in national polls over the previous two decades.
“On four separate occasions over the past 20 years, Clinton’s favorability ratings have fallen sharply – but each time they recovered,” a 2012 analysis conducted by the Pew Center noted. “It is rare for a political figure to accomplish that feat once in a career, much less four times.”
Of particular interest as it relates to the reemergence of Lewinsky? The tremendous uptick in popularity enjoyed by Clinton during her husband Bill Clinton’s 1998 sex scandal. At the peak of the Lewinsky drama in March 1998, Clinton’s favorable/ unfavorable margin stood at a whopping 65-31 percent. Not only that, they remained above 60 percent for the duration of the year – even as her husband was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives.
So does any mention of Lewinsky translate into a boost of support for Clinton? Not necessarily – but you can bet pollsters at all points along the political spectrum are currently endeavoring to determine how “The Monica Factor” could impact their preferred candidates or causes.