A poll showing 2016 Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina trouncing Hillary Clinton by 14 points in a head-to-head Iowa matchup led to a full-on discussion of Fiorina's political gifts and Clinton's weaknesses on Morning Joe Monday.
Fiorina beat Clinton 52 percent to 38 percent in Iowa, and she also led her by eight points in New Hampshire, 50 percent to 42 percent. Perhaps more striking was how much better socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) did in potential matchups with GOP rivals, NBC News reported:
Hillary Clinton has always been viewed as the Democrats' best general-election candidate. But new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist polls of Iowa and New Hampshire show that Bernie Sanders outperforms Clinton in those two general-election battleground states.
In Iowa, Republican Jeb Bush leads Clinton by 10 points in a hypothetical general-election match up among registered voters, 50 percent to 40 percent, and Donald Trump is ahead of her by seven points, 48 percent to 41 percent – essentially unchanged from the poll's results a month ago.
But the big story was Fiorina, the "other" woman in a race where Clinton often dominates headlines.
"An eye-popping number," host Joe Scarborough said of the 14-point margin.
"She's terrifying to Democrats," co-host Mika Brzezinski said. "I don't know if the Republicans get her yet. I don't think men get her, honestly. She's terrifying …in a good way."
Conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt said no matter how many Saturday Night Live skits were happening, it wouldn't change that Clinton was a "terrible candidate." Hewitt also praised Fiorina for the 40 appearances she'd made on his radio show, saying she was always prepared like she used to be for earnings calls with business journalists.
At one point, he said Clinton campaigned the same someone drives after they had been in 20 accidents: Tentatively.
Fiorina presents a "direct opposite" to Clinton in the race, panelist Mike Barnicle said, agreeing with the comparison of her to former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
"Every time she appears in the debate, I think somewhere in a voter's mind, they contrast her with Hillary Clinton, and Hillary loses," Barnicle said.
Scarborough, as the former Republican congressman tends to do, complimented Clinton's personality in private but said she was "the worst" when it came to public politicking.