Even Republicans know the Bill Clinton attacks don’t work
Trump is plotting new Bill attacks against Hillary. Years of poll and focus-group testing show he’s wasting his time.By Annie Karni, Poltico.com
10/13/16 05:49 PM EDT
Since Hillary Clinton launched her own political career in 1999, Republican operatives have been polling and focus-grouping specific attacks about Bill Clinton’s sex scandals, hunting for story lines to potentially damage her.
They have never worked.
In 2000, during Rudy Giuliani’s brief Senate bid in New York, his pollster, Frank Luntz, tested voter responses to information about the president’s history of extramarital affairs. “It was terrible,” recalled Rick Wilson, the GOP strategist on the campaign who hired Luntz. “It made Hillary Clinton more human, more relatable, more sympathetic — we found that you can’t come at the problem the right way.”
But back then, the Monica Lewinsky affair was still fresh on America’s mind. Would time paint Hillary Clinton’s actions and decisions in a harsher light?
Wilson again polled a question about Bill Clinton’s affairs during the 2008 presidential election, when he was working for a right wing PAC. His pollster put the subject out in the field among independent women in Florida, Missouri and Virginia, among other states. “It did not move the numbers at all,” Wilson recalled.
In 2014, the right wing America Rising PAC hired Republican strategist Christine Matthews, a partner at Burning Glass Consulting, to conduct focus groups testing the Bill Clinton sex scandals, including Hillary Clinton’s role in allegedly “enabling” her husband, or threatening the “other” women. The work was commissioned under the assumption that Clinton would be the Democratic nominee, and the PAC would have a ready-made opposition research file it would hand over to the Republican nominee.