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Polling In Low Forties, Clinton Barely Leads GOP Front runners

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With just about one year to go before the 2016 general election, only one thing is inevitable: the winner, Democrat or Republican, is going to have to fight to the end to win this one. While the Democrats are abetted by both a favorable Electoral College history and a demographic advantage, the eventual party nominee is going to have to scramble to prove that she (or he) can bring out the same level of enthusiasm among voters that elected and re-elected Barack Obama.

A new poll of 1,002 likely general election voters, conducted October 30-31, pitted former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton against major Republican challengers. While she leads a few by double digits, her leads are paltry against others. These poll results call into question any sense that Mrs. Clinton can follow an easy path to the White House.

In a match up against front running developer Donald Trump, Mrs. Clinton leads by 4 points - 41% to 37%, with 16% preferring another candidate and 6% not sure. Her 9 point lead among women (42% to 33%) offsets her slight deficit with men (Trump 42% to Clinton's 40%). She also is ahead among voters under 50 - 45%-21% among 18-29 year olds, 46$ to 35% among 30-49 years - but is behind Trump among both 50-64 year olds (44%-36%) and voters over 65 (50%-33%).

Mr. Trump leads among white voters (44%-34%), with 17% choosing another candidate. At this point in time, both candidates are under-performing from where they will eventually need to be. Mrs. Clinton - for such a household name after many years of involvement in national politics - is also under-performing among Hispanics (leading 49% to 30%) and African Americans (79% to 9%). Mr. Trump is ahead among Catholics (46% to 38%) and Born Again/evangelicals (50% to 30%).

Mrs. Clinton's lead against neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson is only 3 points - 41%-35%, with 15% choosing other, and 7% not sure. The sub-groups are almost identical to those in the case of Clinton/Trump except that Dr. Carson does better among both Born Again/evangelicals (53%-29%) and African Americans (Mrs. Clinton with only 54% to Dr. Carson's 14%). Since the GOP has made no gains among African Americans in national elections that figure of 14% is something to watch - particularly if the surgeon is perceived as a victim of an aggressive media.

Mrs. Clinton has a 9 point lead against Florida Senator Marco Rubio - 42% to 33%, with 18% selecting the "other" option and 7% not sure. While generally following the same pattern as the other match ups, the most notable exception in this horse race is that Mrs. Clinton's lead among Hispanics drops down to 47% to 32% against Mr. Rubio In the other tests, Mrs. Clinton is ahead of former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina 42% to 30% and against Ohio Governor John Kasich 43% to 25%.

Some observations:

First, is that Mrs. Clinton is still locked in the low forties against all the GOP candidates tested. This alone raises questions about her ability to go the distance.

Second is that she is still polling so low after two solid weeks of good-to-great publicity.

Third, despite the significant demographic advantage that a Democrat has - based on the party's successful Obama Coalition - she is clearly not showing signs of matching President Obama's two performances among young, Hispanic, African American, and Creative Class voters.

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