It's no big surprise that Hillary Clinton has come back down to earth polling-wise in the last few months. Her stumbles aside, it was basically bound to happen eventually -- for a whole host of reasons.
A new poll from McClatchy and Marist College documents that decline pretty well. In hypothetical matchups with potential 2016 Republican candidates, Clinton has seen her lead decline from 20-plus points in February to the mid-single digits today. She leads Chris Christie by six points after leading him by 21 points six months ago. She leads Jeb Bush 48-41 after leading him by 20 in February. She leads Rand Paul 48-42 after leading him by the same margin early this year.More than two years away from the election, however, those data are close to meaningless. On February 9, 2006, Dana Blanton reported at Fox News:
A new FOX News poll finds that strong support from within their party as well as from majorities of independents helps Republican candidates outperform Democratic candidates in head-to-head presidential matchups.
It might be early, but it is still fun to look at hypothetical matchups between possible 2008 candidates. The poll asked about Republican candidates Arizona Sen. John McCain and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Democratic candidates Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry and New York Sen. Hillary Clinton.
Overall, the Republican candidates top their Democratic opponents, and while the two Republican candidates get about the same level of support in each trial heat, Clinton performs significantly better than 2004 Democratic presidential nominee Kerry.
Among registered voters, Giuliani bests Clinton by 11 percentage points and Kerry by 19 points. McCain tops Clinton by 13 percentage points and Kerry by 20 points. These results are in line with past FOX News results on these vote questions, with the only real change being a lessening of support for Kerry.