Jim Geraghty has a significant post on Hillary's floor and ceiling:
Pollster Scott Rasmussen just shared this fascinating observation in an interview: When you average the head-to-head matchups with Hillary Clinton vs. any of the Republicans, she's always getting 46 to 49 percent against any of them.The actual Rasmussen release on this point is here:
"When we polled her against Ron Paul, she got 48 percent of the vote. When we polled on Ron Paul among people who knew who Ron Paul is, she got 48 percent of the vote. When we polled among people who didn’t know who Ron Paul is, she got 48 percent percent of the vote."
Paul got 38 percent against Hillary.
"In individual head-to-heads with Giuliani it's essentially a toss up, Thompson trails a little, but they’re all close," Rasmussen continued. "Clinton and Giuliani, in 11 polls, were within two points of 45 percent - basically ranging from 43 to 47 percent. It reminded me of Election 2004, where after Kerry won the nomination, for more than 60 days," Kerry and Bush remained quite close to each other.
"She’s becoming like the incumbent... Republicans are talking about Clinton a lot, partially because they would rather talk about her than the incumbent president, but also because now part of being a conservative is challenging Hillary Clinton."
A look at the crosstabs demonstrates that it is attitudes towards Clinton that are driving the numbers in this polling match-up. Among all voters, Clinton attracts 48% support. Among the voters who have never heard of Ron Paul or don’t know enough to have an opinion, guess what. Clinton attracts the exact same total--48% of the vote. So whether or not people have heard of Ron Paul as the challenger, support for Clinton doesn’t change.Hillary has nearly universal name identification. Nearly every American has an opinion of her. And regardless of what Americans know or don't know about her potential opponents, a majority refuses to vote for her -- even against the weakest and most obscure candidate in the GOP field.
Among the 51% who have heard of Ron Paul but don’t have a Very Favorable opinion of him, Clinton attracts 49% of the vote...
So, outside of a small group of avid Ron Paul fans, support for Senator Clinton is unchanged whether or not the survey respondent has ever heard of Ron Paul.
These are [ie, look like -- the Editor] the polls of an unpopular incumbent, destined to be defeated for re-election: name ID is huge, voters' opinions are set. When these are the last few polls that you see before election day, you recall that undecideds break against the incumbent by a huge margin. You conclude that it will take a miracle to pull through on election day.
You don't quite draw such a conclusion this far out of course; election day is simply too far off and too much can change. The Republican opponent could be savaged in advertising, so much that he is unelectable. There might be a 3rd party candidate who reduces the threshold for victory. It's even conceivable that you might be able to 'reintroduce' the candidate, and move some of the voters who seem so firmly against you. But a candidate forced to resort to one of these strategies is someone already in trouble.
I've said before that Hillary is the closest thing to a 'status quo' candidate there is among either Republicans or Democrats. In a change election, any Republican trumps her as the candidate of change. Now it's gotten so bad for her that she's starting to be viewed as almost the incumbent -- a terrible place to be when the electorate is looking for something different.
Hillary is starting to seem like the least electable Democrat.
Update: Donna Brazile thinks that the electability argument is the way to go after Hillary as well:
"I want to see if John Edwards will say to Hillary Clinton in front of everyone: 'You're not electable, and you know it, and you're going to hurt people down the ballot,' " said Brazile, who hasn't endorsed anyone. "It's time to stop whispering. It's getting to be midnight."