Janet Napolitano’s Political Future

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If Hillary Clinton decides not to run for President in 2016, one candidate democrats might field would be former Arizona Governor and current Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Arizona State University Pollster Bruce Merrill will discuss the possibility.

Ted Simons: A recent article in the Washington post reported that former Arizona Governor and current Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano is quietly making it known that she would like to be considered as a democratic presidential candidate for 2016 if Hilary Clinton does not enter the race. Joining us now is Arizona State pollster Dr. Bruce Merrill. Good to see you again.

Bruce Merrill: Good to see you again.

Ted Simons: Would Janet Napolitano be a viable candidate?

Bruce Merrill: Sure she would be. You know, she was one of the most popular Governors we have ever had in Arizona. When we were polling on her, she was up, her numbers were up 65, 70%, and she's certainly been a competent secretary of Homeland Security. At a time that that's a big job. And so, I think that you said it right. I mean, I think that it all depends on what Hillary Clinton decides to do. And then she still would have some tough competition from the Vice President who wants to run, also.

Ted Simons: Interesting. And now, as far as Janet Napolitano is concerned, you mentioned being there at the Homeland Security, does that help or does that hurt.

Bruce Merrill: Well, I think the fact, you know, Janet Napolitano is, is not a person that really seeks out a lot of publicity. She's a, kind of a worker bee and has done a very good job, so, I don't really think that there is anything that I have seen that, that has been a big enough foulup that they would say ok, this is your fault, I mean, it's obviously always more complex than that, but she's had a pretty good record on her watch, frankly.

Ted Simons: As far as illegal immigration, stepped up enforcement on her watch. And that's an interesting dynamic because, because some folks. To see stepped up enforcement, and the Latino vote, which is considerable more important, in politics around the country, how does that play there?

Bruce Merrill: Well, you know, what's interesting about weeks, it's two issues. Not just one. There is the border issue, being much tougher on the border, and you know, she oversees the border patrols, she oversee the coast guard, and which is really what you would need to have much stronger enforcement of the border issue. And the other issue, about illegal immigration is what to do with these 12 to 15 million people in this country, that have been here for a long time. And I think that she has taken a pretty moderate position, so, I don't see anything that would hurt her so far, Ted.

Ted Simons: As far as the immigration issue?

Bruce Merrill: As far as the immigration goes.

Ted Simons: And back to the cabinet, and I was not aware of this. Herbert hoover, the last cabinet official to go from the cab, from the cabinet to the White House?

Bruce Merrill: It does not happen very often, what happens with the cabinet members is they are kind of paint with the performance of the President. And so, a lot would depend on how well President Barack Obama comes out of his last turn, if the country is in good shape or not.

Ted Simons: You mentioned how popular he was in Arizona at the time. Is she still that popular? It feels like the state changed a lot in the last few years.

Bruce Merrill: It has changed a lot, and not only in the media society but once you are out of the public view, you drop like a rock. It's like pouring water into the sand, so, frankly, if we did a poll, I doubt that that, 30, 40% of the people would really know that, that she was Governor of Arizona.

Ted Simons: Do you think, let's, let's jump way ahead now to the general election, and she is the candidate. Would she carry Arizona?

Bruce Merrill: Well, you know, it's hard to say, I didn't think that, that Barack Obama could beat Hillary Clinton. Frankly, and so, politics is so uncertain, the other thing that needs to be talked about, is can she raise a billion dollars. And that's about what it takes.

Ted Simons: Right.

Bruce Merrill: To run for President. And the other thing that it takes is if she is truly going to run or if Hillary Clinton is, they have to start almost immediately. It takes four years any more to build the organization. To do the, the microtargeting, build the list, the computer model, and there is not a lot of downtime if she will run. She'll have to decide quickly.

Ted Simons: Ok, let's touch on some other issues here that will, no doubt, be touched on. Is America ready for an unmarried President?

Bruce Merrill: Oh, golly. We're certainly moving in the direction of being more tolerant. The polls have changed enormously on that. And many states now are moving towards, you know, much more moderate position on people that are single. And, and it will be a factor, I think, for her, but, I don't think that it would be something that would disqualify her.

Ted Simons: I think, and I also think of Chris Christie, the Governor of New Jersey, where people, a lot of people think that he's doing a swell job there, yet, all they talk about is his weight. Is America ready for a heavy President? Again, I should say, but it has been so long.

Bruce Merrill: Well, you know, it's a legitimate thing to, to, to think about because the American people, you are supposed to not only vote, you are supposed to cast what's called an enlightened ballot. And many of us are very concerned that, that most of the electorate knows very little about these terribly important issues. We did a study and looked at health care. We figured that five to 6% of the people in Arizona really have any substantive information about Obama care, so, you know, we live in a media society. The media creates reality, and people interested in, in some of these softer issues, gossipy issues, and it's a fact of life.

Ted Simons: And yet, we asked the same question is America ready for a black President, and we asked if America was ready for an LDS President, the race was relatively close, so it seems like the questions may be more academic?

Bruce Merrill: I think so. And again, I think that, that you can create an image if you have the money to do so in the media. The only reality that there is in America is that, that the people see on television, and on the media. So, it's a long way away. I think that she is a terribly competent person. I think that you should not underestimate her. I think that, that having any realistic chance, is a long shot for her.

Ted Simons: Last question, what about statewide office in Arizona?

Bruce Merrill: Well, you know, I would think that she would be competitive at that level again. The Republicans are divided with the Tea Party element, and the moderate Republicans. And I think secretary napolitano has want to be a United States Senator. That's fairly well-known. And it's conceivable that in four years, we could have an opening, although, I think that anybody that writes Senator McCain off that early is crazy. But, if he should not run, I think that she would be a very strong candidate.

Ted Simons: All right. Interesting stuff. Bruce, good to have you here.

Bruce Merrill: Always good, Ted.

Bruce Merrill:Pollster, ASU;

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