By Anne Gearan and Dan Balz May 15 at 7:41 PM
Hillary Clinton’s declining personal image, ongoing battle to break free of the challenge from Sen. Bernie Sanders and struggle to adapt to an anti-establishment mood among voters this year have become caution signs for her campaign and the focus of new efforts to fortify her position as she prepares for a bruising general election.
More than a dozen Clinton allies identified weaknesses in her candidacy that may erode her prospects of defeating Donald Trump, including poor showings with young women, untrustworthiness, unlikability and a lackluster style on the stump. Supporters also worry that she is a conventional candidate in an unconventional election in which voters clearly favor renegades.
“I bring it down to one thing and one thing only, and that is likability,” said Peter Hart, a Democratic pollster who has conducted a series of focus groups for the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.