Here's why one of Hillary Clinton's big ideas is a smart move for 2016

From Business Insider

By Maxwell Tani

Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton is making a big deal about an issue of rising importance within her party: voting rights.

And new poll released by Public Policy Polling on Friday shows that her focus on the issue may prove politically popular in 2016 among more than just Democrats.

Automatic voter registration, something Clinton proposed earlier this month, enjoys relatively strong support, with 48% approving and 38% disapproving, according to the PPP poll.

In one of the first major speeches of her campaign earlier this month in Texas, Clinton railed against voter suppression and laid out a broad set of initiatives that would expand access to voting.

The former Secretary of State called for allowing early voting weeks before an election, automatic voter registration for 18-year-olds, and a strengthened Voting Rights Act, which was gutted by a Supreme Court decision two years ago.

Automatic enrollment is also popular among moderate voters, 57% of whom said they back the initiative. And it's a favorable concept among voters that Clinton is hoping to court in the primary and general elections. Black (73%) and young voters (58%) overwhelming support it. And according to PPP, women opposed restrictions on voting at much lower rates than men — only 35% of women oppose, compared to 42% of men.

It's unlikely that the concept will prove to be one that drives voters to the polls like economic or foreign policy initiatives, but the PPP poll suggests it's a smart issue for Clinton to latch onto for support from her base and from certain broader portions of the electorate.

But any progress made on the issue would likely come when the next president inhabits the White House. Congressional Republicans have declined to take up voting reform issues, including the fix to the Voting Rights Act that Clinton is pushing.

Clinton's advocacy may not be helping, at least right now. Automatic voter registration is also becoming increasingly partisan. As The Huffington Post notes, since March, the percentage of Republicans who support automatic voter registration has dropped from 53% to around 38%.


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