Friday, 5 October 2007

Hillary's $5000 baby goof

It appears that Hillary Clinton has made a strategic error in her campaign for the Democratic nomination to be US President by proposing a $5000 "baby bond" for every child born in the United States. The idea has been overwhelmingly rejected by nearly everyone, including a majority of Democratic voters. Given that her health care plan is also in the spend, spend, spend category it seems likely that her Republican opponent will have a heap of ammunition to aim her way come November '08.
Sixty percent (60%) of America’s Likely Voters oppose giving every child born in the United States a $5,000 savings bond, or “baby bond.” A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that just 27% support the concept suggested on Friday by Senator Hillary Clinton.

“The baby bonds proposal is one of the few mistakes Hillary Clinton has made in her campaign,” according to University of Virginia Professor Larry Sabato. “Should Clinton become the Democratic nominee, she may have handed a powerful issue to the Republican candidate.”

At a Congressional Black Caucus forum, Clinton said, "I like the idea of giving every baby born in America a $5,000 account that will grow over time. So, when that young person turns 18, if they have finished high school, they will be able to access it to go to college or maybe they will be able to put that down payment on their first home, or go into business."

Clinton’s remarks were reportedly well received by the friendly audience, but Democratic voters nationwide are less enthusiastic—38% support the idea and 47% are opposed. According to Sabato, “It will be interesting to see if any of her Democratic opponents challenges her on this. They may not do so, fearing the idea will sell among the activists that vote in Democratic primaries and caucuses.”

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll continues to show Clinton as the solid frontrunner in the race for the Democratic Presidential Nomination. She also leads in the early primary states of New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida.

Republicans and unaffiliated voters are strongly opposed to the baby bonds. Republicans are opposed by a 76% to 14% margin. Only 27% of unaffiliated voters favor the concept while 58% are opposed.

Sixty-five percent (65%) of White voters oppose the Baby Bond proposal while 52% of non-White voters favor it.

Support for the Baby Bond proposal declines with age. It is favored by 50% of voters under 30 but only 12% of voters over 65.

Approximately 4 million children a year are born in the United States meaning that Clinton’s proposal would cost taxpayers $20 billion annually. . Sabato believes that “This sounds too much like the ‘spend and spend’ Democratic party of old, rather than the new, more moderate party image Clinton and her husband have tried to project. To most people, the baby ponds proposal seems like a yet another expensive entitlement—just handing out money indiscriminately at a time of massive national debt.”

The cost of the proposal was not mentioned to survey respondents.


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