Clinton rides high poll numbers into private life (for now?)
December 10th, 2012
01:19 PM ET
2 years ago

Clinton rides high poll numbers into private life (for now?)

Washington (CNN) - These are the kind of poll numbers any politician would love to have.

According to a new Politico/George Washington University Battleground poll, 60% of registered voters have a favorable impression of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, with 35% seeing her in an unfavorable light.

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The survey, released Monday, comes less than one week after an ABC News/Washington Post poll indicated that 66% of Americans had a favorable view of Clinton. And according to a CNN/ORC International survey conducted last month, following the November election, 67% of the public saw the soon-to-be outgoing secretary of state in a favorable light.

Last week's ABC News/Washington Post poll also indicated that 68% of Americans approved of the job Clinton's doing as the nation's top diplomat. But all these surveys also indicate a partisan divide over Clinton. And while the overall numbers are very nice, it's best to take them with a grain of salt.

"One reason why Hillary Clinton's ratings are high may be that she is not running for office and holds a position that many Americans view as non-partisan. If she becomes an active candidate again, it would not be surprising to see her numbers decline," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "We saw this before with her. When she was first lady, her favorable ratings were often in the high 60's, but they dropped below 50% as soon as serious talk started of her running for the U.S. Senate from New York."

These polls come as the chattering class increasingly speculates about Clinton and whether she'll make a second bid for the White House in 2016.

Clinton has repeatedly said that she intends to retire to private life once her successor as secretary of state is confirmed by the Senate, and she's added that another run for the White House is not in the cards for her.

"Look, I'm flattered. I am honored," she told CNN's Wolf Blitzer this year about calls by other Democrats for her to consider another run in 2016. "That is not in the future for me, but obviously I'm hoping that I'll get to cast my vote for a woman running for president of our country."

If she were to change her mind and make a bid for president in 2016, 57% of those questioned in the ABC/Washington Post poll said they'd back such a run, if Clinton changes her mind and decides to become a presidential candidate again, with 37% saying they'd oppose such a bid.

Meanwhile, a majority of New Yorkers say they would like to see Hillary Clinton run for president again.

According to a Siena College Research Institute survey also released last week, 75% of Empire State voters said they have a favorable impression of Clinton, who represented her adopted home state of New York for eight years in the U.S. Senate. That was Clinton's highest favorable rating ever in a Siena survey.

By a 54%-39% margin, New Yorkers say she should run for president in four years. In 2008, then Sen. Clinton lost an epic Democratic presidential nomination battle to then Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois. Obama nominated Clinton as his secretary of state after winning the 2008 general election.

If she does decide to run, the conventional wisdom is that she'd be the instant front-runner in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. And even potential 2016 rivals are praising her.

"She's great," said Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley Sunday on a Baltimore TV station.

"I think she's an outstanding leader, and I think she could be a great president, if she chooses to do it," added O'Malley, the popular two-term governor who may have his own designs on making a run for the 2016 Democratic nomination.

And Clinton's getting praised by Newt Gingrich, who made an unsuccessful bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, and who as House speaker in the 1990's worked with, and fought against, then President Bill Clinton.

In a warning to his party, Gingrich said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" that if the GOP's "competitor in '16 is going to be Hillary Clinton, supported by Bill Clinton and presumably a still relatively popular president Barack Obama, trying to win that will be truly the Super Bowl. And the Republican Party today is incapable of competing at that level."

Clinton's favorable rating in the Politico/George Washington University poll stands out compared to some possible 2016 Republican presidential hopefuls. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Mitt Romney's running mate in the just concluded election, had a 47%-33% favorable rating. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush had a 39%-33% favorable rating, and first term Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida had a 33%-15% favorable rating, with just over one in three not knowing enough about him to form an opinion.

If she really does want to run or changes her mind once she's in private life, Clinton's most likely at least a year away from making any kind of decision, and we're about two years away from the real start of 2016 campaign, allowing plenty of time for Clinton's poll number to possibly fade. But for now, it's a nice place to be.

The Politico/George Washington University Battleground poll was conducted Dec. 2-6, with 1,000 registered voters questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.


Filed under: 2016 • Hillary Clinton • Polls
soundoff (254 Responses)
  1. just askin

    when is she going to testify under oath about why four of her employees died in Benghazi after they begged for additional security, but was denied. she has blood on her hands. I don't know how she sleeps at night.

    December 10, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  2. Logic N LA

    A successful lawyer- a strong First Lady-respected Senator by both parties and now a great Seceretary of State. There is no single person better qualified to be President, but she may not have the drive left after years in public service. and there is somethig to be said going out on top.
    And Just Askin- they died becuase Congress voted against extra funds for embassey security and a terrorist attack. How does Bush sleep at night for 9/11 and killing 100,000's of people in a made up war that Hilary has had to defend around the world?

    December 10, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  3. Rick McDaniel

    That's nice.

    If she runs........her poll numbers will drop like a rock, when people find out what kind of President, she would really be. Only Dems would support her.......just like Obama. The mindless masses are the ones who support such candidates, who are TOLD how to vote.

    December 10, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  4. jane

    HELLO Madam President!!!!

    December 10, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  5. Mark Acay

    She is certainly a formidable candidate. She has my support. Hope she runs.

    December 10, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  6. proud canadian

    Just askin

    Beghazi story is a non starter.The World cares less about Beghazi other than a few GOPers and the likes of Mccain

    December 10, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  7. rs

    Don't worry. When Hillary runs the GOP will dust off their ficticious "Whitewater Files" and their conspiracy "Vince Foster" accusations and we'll all be at it again.

    December 10, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  8. Pk duster

    I think shd would make a great president a friend of of mine says mrs clinton is a killer the gop is so scared of her hillary in20i6

    December 10, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  9. Pk duster

    If hillary is prez bill can not wait to think of all the fun bill will have

    December 10, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  10. MaryM

    Madam President, that has a very nice ring to it. Please run in 2016 Sec Clinton. Like Gingrich said, NO one could beat you in 2016

    December 10, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  11. judy

    the fact that she has more to offer than any repo presented this time around and the upcoming crop like Rubio and ryan is the reason. This lady is sharp and know how to work Washington. No one the repos have put forward has the savy or intelligence. And if the repos don't figure out that they lost because of their policy's she will be a shoe in for 2016

    December 10, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  12. penguin

    I didn't support her when she ran against Obama for the '08 nomination because I thought her only reason for running was for the prestige of being President (that was also Romney's key fault- insincerity) but her actions subsequent to Obama getting the nod make me believe she is a true patriot. She likely would get my vote in '16.

    December 10, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  13. CaliforniaAc

    Democrats are poised to rule the white-house for years to come with Hillary + 8 years after Obama while the republicans struggle for an identity "we the people" can identify with. The one thing the republicans are stuck with is their allegiance to Grover Norquist first and country last.

    December 10, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  14. aliasooze

    Really? Shouldn't we discuss a few things before we start campagning again? At the present rate of decline there won't be a US, or if there is there won't be an election.

    December 10, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  15. freedom

    Hilary Clinton lied over the flag draped caskets of our murdered ambassador and servicemen from the Libya tragedy. That is her true character. She is calculated and will do anything to rise to power. How else could she have served under Obama after he raked her through the coals during their primary season? How has she stayed married to Bill Clinton after his numerous affairs? It's all to get what she wants. Not a woman of integrity. She will soon be questioned by the House and Foreign Affairs Committee over the the Libya tragedy and needs to be held accountable for the cover-up she took part in. I assume those who are voting her as popular are the same ones that voted Obama in. He, too, needs to answer tough questions on the Libya cover-up.

    December 10, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  16. freedom

    @ proud canadian
    The families of the vicitms in Benghazi care, and half of the United States cares. I don't care what the world thinks, or Canada, for that matter.

    December 10, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  17. Gonzoinhouston

    Pubbers are scared to death of Hillary. She represents everything they hate, and they know they have no one who could beat her.

    December 10, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  18. Lynda/Minnesota

    Oh, goody. We're back to Registered voter models. This will give us 4 years to hear about Benghazi before we hit the Likely Voter skewing.

    December 10, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  19. mcskadittle

    The GOP will need to come up with a more likable candidate or they will lose again

    December 10, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  20. Clouds9

    HILLARY 2016 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 10, 2012 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  21. jack

    Further proof that Americans are stupid

    December 10, 2012 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  22. Roscoe Chait

    I'd vote for Hillary. Hope she runs.

    December 10, 2012 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  23. John Stockton

    Hillary Clinton has more integrity than the entire republican party, combined! I would vote for her in a hearbeat!

    December 10, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  24. Steve - Texas

    just askin - Easy to sleep at night ... We are not freaking out about a made up cover-up... Seriously guy, go get a life and turn the right wing news you are listening to off....

    December 10, 2012 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  25. JPX

    "just askin
    when is she going to testify under oath about why four of her employees died in Benghazi after they begged for additional security, but was denied. she has blood on her hands. I don't know how she sleeps at night." Let it go, just askin, no one cares about Benghazi, enough with the conspiracy theories. I would be more outraged about everything Bush and Cheney did. It's because of them that we have Obama for a second term. The republicans lost because they are despicable when it comes to social issues.

    December 10, 2012 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
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