New poll: Half think Hillary is lying about her health

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Published by: Dan Calabrese on Wednesday September 14th, 2016

All together: What's wrong with the other half?

I think the impact here is not so much in the fact that half the people think Hillary is lying about her health. You could probably take a poll asking if Hillary lies about crossword puzzles and half of your respondents would say she does. (And they'd probably be right.) The impact is in the fact that the poll is being taken at all, because that means the media has lost control of this story.

More from Morning Consult:

Opinions on the former secretary of State’s health have already begun to shift since last month. Today, a little more than two in 10 (22 percent) say Clinton’s health is above average or excellent, down from 29 percent from a late August national survey. Additionally, 41 percent now say it is below average or very poor, compared to only 26 percent who said that in August. A plurality, 28 percent, rank her health as average (compared with 30 percent last month).

There are large partisan differences when it comes to opinions on the Democratic nominee’s health. For example, seven in 10 (68 percent) Republicans said Clinton’s health was below average or very poor, compared with 16 percent of Democrats.

Yet, views on Donald Trump’s health have hardly changed  – 36 percent today say it’s above average or excellent compared to 33 percent in late August, despite a questionable physician’s note boasting about his health and his documented bragging about unhealthy eating.

It is not clear how much Clinton’s health issues will impact voters when they head to the polls. Half of them said Clinton’s health will not affect their vote, while a quarter of them said it will make them less likely to vote for her.

Less than half (44 percent) of voters said Clinton’s health will negatively impact her ability to serve, including 23 percent of Democrats, 44 percent of independents, and 69 percent of Republicans.

But the recent incident has done little to change minds about Clinton’s trustworthiness. Fifty percent of respondents said Clinton has given false information about her health to the public; just 37 percent said the same for Trump.

Let me expand a bit on my comment about the media having lost control of the story. A few days ago, Rob put together screenshots of these two Washington Post headlines, both taken from columns by "The Fix" columnist Chris Cillizza, five days apart:

New poll: Half think Hillary is lying about her health

The first column, written before Hillary's collapse at the 9/11 event, represents the media's standard MO when any negative-sounding notion starts to circulate about Hillary. They declare it ridiculous and the stuff of "conspiracy theorists," and instruct us all to shut up about it. They use condescending statements like "you're better than that" to shame people into putting a lid on these very-bad-for-Hillary storylines.

That's exactly what Cillizza was trying to do with the September 6 column. The story is ridiculous, he lectured, and the oh-so-credible denizens of the press corps want to hear nothing more of it, so shut up. That is an attempt to control the story and put a lid on it.

Five days later, Hillary leaves a 9/11 event early and her campaign staff refuse to let the press corps covering her follow along. But an amateur video that by now everyone has seen shows that something was very wrong with her. Now, unable to deny Hillary's health is a real issue, Cillizza writes the second column, for which his headline might as well have ended with "dammit!"

Hillary's defenders in the press want to cover for her, but they have to be able to do it in a way that doesn't make it obvious they're acting as her shills. That means Hillary's lies have to be plausible enough that they can cover them up without looking like total fools, or liars every bit as big as she is. What happened in New York this past weekend blew that out of the water. First they say she "overheated" on a 74-degree day, then they say she has pneumonia, then hours later a supposedly pneumonia-stricken woman wanders out of a building all by herself and grabs a random little girl on the sidewalk.

Chris Cillizza and his fellow travelers want to cover for Hillary, but they can't defend this and they know it. They'll give up the game. They have to pay some attention to it or they'll make their agenda so obvious that even the most gullible voters won't believe them anymore.

That's why it's noteworthy that Morning Consult even took this poll. They don't poll the question until the mainstream media is forced to admit it's an issue. And that doesn't happen until Hillary's lies become so ham-handed that they'll look like fools if they don't.

It's unraveling, folks. Maybe just in time.

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