Chelsea Clinton’s Tuesday swing through New Hampshire to campaign for her mother, former secretary of state and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, brings to mind at least two elements of the Clinton family public persona. One is an attribute that Hillary Clinton certainly wants to share with her daughter (and husband, former President Bill Clinton): likability. The other is perhaps a little less publicly desirable when it comes to politicking: a close relationship to the nation’s wealthy elite on Wall Street.
Chelsea Clinton is scheduled to make three public stops Tuesday on the campaign trail in the Granite State, where she will host a women’s event, an early childhood event and an organizing event. It won’t be the last time she hits the trail for her mom, as she's scheduled to be in Iowa on Saturday.
— Alexandra Schuster (@schusteralex) January 12, 2016
The younger Clinton is often seen as a good surrogate for her mother for several reasons. She recently announced her second pregnancy, which fits well into her mom’s strategy to pitch herself to voters as a caring grandmother. She is also an outspoken critic of gender bias and discrimination, another boost to a candidate hoping to become the first female president of the United States.
In addition to those two issue-based assessments, she is generally well liked. In 2014, a CNN/ORC poll gave Chelsea Clinton a higher favorability rating than her mother with 59 percent. At the end of last year, candidate Clinton had dropped to a 47 percent approval rating in a separate CNN poll. Since Chelsea Clinton is not a political candidate, her favorability isn’t gauged as often as her mother’s. It’s also likely that her favorability remained stable without that constant public assessment of her leadership abilities.
However, in a race that has seen a sharp focus on economic issues, the fact that Chelsea Clinton’s husband, Marc Mezvinsky, is a hedge fund firm founder with connections to some of the candidate's wealthiest supporters may be tough to ignore for some voters. While Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who now leads a Democratic poll in New Hampshire, has challenged Hillary Clinton for her connection to Wall Street — including earning, along with her husband, millions of dollars for paid speeches and counting the financial industry as some of her campaign’s biggest donor bases — a money manager in the family reinforces that narrative.
Still, being associated with wealthy people and getting along with them is apparently hardly a liability for the candidate. The Clinton campaign seemingly sees Chelsea Clinton as more than just a good person to hit the campaign trail: She has also headlined fundraising events and is expected to do more. That includes a Jan. 27 event in New York, where guests are encouraged to donate $2,700. As Sanders narrows the fundraising gap between himself and Hillary Clinton, it’s hard to overstate the value Chelsea Clinton can add to her mother's presidential efforts.