There is one simple reason why Hillary Clinton cannot defeat Scott Walker in next year’s general election for president: too many people have an opinion of Hillary.
If one were to look at page 50 of the latest polling data from Public Policy Polling (PPP) in North Carolina, a swing state that narrowly went for Republican Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election, one will find that Scott Walker leads Hillary Clinton 47%-43% in a hypothetical general election matchup, with 10% of those unsure of who to vote for if the general election is between Hillary and Walker. However, of those who self-identify as Democrats, only 6% are unsure, whereas 9% of self-identified Republicans and 19% of independents (independents are a Republican-leaning group of voters in North Carolina) are unsure of who to support. To put that another way, most of the undecided voters in a Hillary vs. Walker matchup in North Carolina lean towards Walker, so it’s virtually impossible for Hillary to win North Carolina against Walker.
If one were to scroll down a page to page 51 of the polling data, one will find that Scott Walker leads Bernie Sanders 43%-35% in a hypothetical general election matchup in North Carolina, with 22% of those unsure of who to vote for if the general election is between Bernie and Walker. However, of those who are Democrats, 27% are unsure, compared to 12% of Republicans and 26% of independents. This means that Bernie is in a far better position to gain support in North Carolina than Hillary is, because there’s still a lot more people considering supporting Bernie in the general election should he win the Democratic nomination than those who are considering supporting Hillary should she win the Democratic nomination.
North Carolina isn’t necessarily a must-win state for Democrats in next year’s presidential election, but Democrats winning North Carolina would leave Republicans with very little chance of winning the presidential election. Should Scott Walker win the Republican presidential nomination, the only Democratic candidate who can defeat Walker in North Carolina is Bernie Sanders.