The polls went up for Hillary and the open attacks on her have begun. Related? In politics it usually is.
The latest round of national polls last week - from Newsweek and NBC/Wall Street Journal - have shown Hillary making significant gains on two fronts - consolidating her lead among the Democratic primary electorate nationwide and advancing in the general election against likely Republican nominees.
This two-pronged movement is the result of the first six months of campaigning and the voters taking a good hard look at all the candidates and concluding that Hillary has what it takes to be President and what it takes to take on the Republicans. They know that Hillary Clinton has the experience and strength to bring about real change.
She is the candidate of experience and change, a combination no other candidate can match.
As a result we will likely see more attacks from her Democratic opponents, despite their claims to be practicing a new kind of politics or eschewing intra-party attacks.
Hillary Clinton's lead in the NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll - which had been as close as 5 points in the national primary vote a few months ago - has opened up to 21 points (July 27-30). Hillary also leads Rudy Giuliani by 6 points, more than any other Democrat tested. This is a reversal from March when she trailed Giuliani by 5 points.
And in the latest Newsweek poll (August 1-2), Hillary's lead in the Democratic primary is up from 16 points in June to 23 points now.
In the latest Diageo Hotline poll (July 19-22), Hillary's national favorability went up from 48 percent to 57 percent, and is now higher than any other candidate, Democrat or Republican.
Similar national polls by Pew and Fox substantiated the same trend: an increased lead in the Democratic primary and advancement against the Republicans.
And there are two bits of conventional wisdom that are challenged by these polls. One is that Hillary can't win. She said on day one she was in to win and she is already winning in the match-ups against likely Republican candidates. Voters understand that this is going to be a tough, hard-fought election and they are looking for someone who can really take on the Republicans. They know she knows how to win and that is reflected in poll after poll that says Hillary is the candidate most likely to win in November.
We saw that in the recent NH poll (CNN/WMUR July 9-17: 47 percent say HRC has the best chance of beating the GOP candidate in November 2008, 30 points ahead of her next closest competitor), in the Iowa poll (ABC/Washington Post July 26-31: 35 percent say HRC has the best chance of getting elected president in November 2008, 12 points ahead of her next closest competitor) and in national polls (ABC/Washington Post July 18-21: 43 percent say HRC has the best chance of beating the GOP candidate in November 2008, 16 points ahead of her next closest competitor).
Another bit of conventional wisdom is the argument the voters don't want another Clinton. In the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll, 71 percent of voters are either positive or neutral about the fact that Hillary Clinton's husband is Bill Clinton, compared with only 28 percent who are negative.
Voters have simply come to see this race differently as the serious issues of the day have been raised. When it comes to negotiating with our enemies and knowing how to create new alliances with our friends, Hillary has been steady and sure-footed, building confidence that she can be a great president during complex and troubled times.
And most importantly as people look at her position on the Iraq War, they realize that this election is not about the past, but the future and who can be the president who can end this war responsibly and yet continue to defend America's security. She is expanding her vote among anti-war voters, women, Democrats, the middle class and voters who believe that she has the strength and experience to make change happen.