Hillary Clinton is losing support among a demographic that is key to her efforts to win the White House: white women.
In July, 34 percent of white women held a favorable view of Clinton, while 53 percent held an unfavorable view. Those numbers were down from June, when 44 percent of white women held a favorable view of Clinton and 43 percent an unfavorable view.
The decline in support comes amid continued scrutiny of Clinton’s use of a private email account while at the State Department. The Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll was conducted at the end of July just after the Justice Department said it was looking into whether classified information had been sent over Clinton’s personal email and private server.
Women are a crucial target demographic for Clinton, who hopes women eager to witness the first female president will support her as enthusiastically as African-Americans supported President Obama in 2008 and 2012. Obama built momentum among women in the last two election cycles: in 2012, women overall supported Obama over Romney by 12 percentage points, while Romney won men by 8 percentage points, according to Gallup Polling. But among white women, the picture was not as rosy for Democrats in 2012, as Romney won that demographic by 14 points.
The Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll showed Clinton’s unfavorability rating also increased among independents, people ages 18 – 34, and African-Americans — all groups that Democrats are counting on in 2016. In July, 27 percent of independents held a favorable view of Clinton, while 52 percent held a negative view. According to the Wall Street Journal, independents were about evenly split in their views of Clinton earlier in the year.
Despite the decline in favorability, Clinton still polls strong among African-Americans, 66 percent of whom viewed her favorably in July compared to 81 percent in June. Her unfavorability among African-Americans increased from 3 percent to 15 percent.
Clinton has made efforts to stand out from the rest of the 2016 contenders on race, announcing “Black lives matter” in a Facebook chat last month days after activists interrupted Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley at Netroots Nation by chanting the names of black women who have died in police custody. Clinton leads Sanders, her nearest rival, by 59 to 25 percent among Democratic primary voters, a according to the poll, down from 75 to 15 in June. A CNN/ORC poll in June showed just 2 percent of black Democrats supported Sanders.