Most millionaires want Hillary Clinton for president. Why that's bad news for her
Hillary Clinton is the top 2016 president of choice for American millionaires, according to a new CNBC survey. The runner-ups? Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
So long, soccer moms. Millionaires for Hillary is the new voting bloc du jour.
That's right, Hillary Clinton is the top 2016 president of choice for millionaires, according to a new survey from CNBC – and that's not good news for the former Secretary of State's likely presidential campaign.
Ms. Clinton is the top pick among 31 percent of millionaires, followed by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush with 18 percent, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at 14 percent.
Among Democrats, Clinton's lead is colossal. She had 72 percent of Democratic millionaires, and a sizable 23 percent of independent millionaires. Clinton even had the support of about 5 percent of Republican millionaires.
The survey polled 500 people with investable assets of $1 million or more, which represents the top 8 percent of American households.
Respondents got to choose among nine potential candidates in the survey: Clinton; Bush; Christie; Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren; Vice President Joe Biden; Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas; Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont; Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin.
If anything, the poll is bad news for Clinton. Though they have deep pockets and outsized influence, having the support of millionaires isn't necessarily an affiliation she wants.
As CNN noted, "Since she last ran for president, the Democratic Party has become more populist and in order to win in 2016, many political experts see her needing to reconnect with middle and working class voters."
And thanks to the financial crisis, Americans have also become more mistrusting of Wall Street, and by extension, the wealthy, so "having the backing of a majority of millionaires may not be a badge of honor in 2016," as CNN put it.
Results from the poll could also bolster claims that Clinton is too establishment, too close to Wall Street, and not populist enough on economic issues. Already, opponents have tried to tar her with the nickname "High-flying Hillary," for her travel costs, which combined with Bill Clinton's, will likely top $1 million this year. And she was blasted on her recent book tour for saying she and President Clinton were "dead broke" upon leaving the White House 13 years ago, a comment for which she paid dearly. Following those comments, the Republican National Committee launched a website called poorhillaryclinton.com.
Though the Clintons are no Romneys, they will be careful not to make the same mistakes and be tarred by their opponents for being wealthy and "out of touch," as Romney was in 2012.
In other words, watch for more appearances by the Clintons at soup kitchens or urban renewal programs and more comments about Clinton's middle-class upbringing.
One more reason the poll results may not be good news for Clinton: Before the 2008 election, most millionaires supported Sen. John McCain according to CNBC. Before the 2012 election, most millionaires supported former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Apparently, millionaires don't predict elections very well.
The poll did reveal some surprises.
Both Sens. Sanders and Warren, who have built reputations as populist crusaders against income inequality, garnered a respectable share of votes, earning the support of 11 and 8 percent of millionaires, respectively.
The poll also revealed just how different millionaires are from the rest of Americans.
For starters, they are far more politically active and politically influential. As CNBC noted, some 93 percent of the millionaires voted in the 2014 midterm elections – compared to a national turnout rate of just 36 percent. A quarter of millionaires also donated to a candidate in this election cycle.
Their priorities are also very different from the rest of America. While most Americans choose jobs and the economy as their top issue, the millionaires surveyed by CNBC said corporate tax reform should be the top priority of the new Congress.
Among multimillionaires (those individuals with investable assets of $5 million or more), corporate tax reform is far and away the top priority.
If Clinton wants to remain a strong contender for 2016, she'll need to perform the tightrope act of continuing to quietly accept the support (and greenbacks) of her wealthy backers, while publicly distancing herself from wealth and Wall Street.