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. roy

    Hillary will be too old in 4 more years to run for president.

    December 11, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  2. Peel Layer

    I am certainly behind her...
    She is one we all can believe in...
    Good Individual with High personal Standards...

    December 11, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  3. BigMowma

    Good grief! Can't we have someone besides a Bush and a Clinton in the federal government??? Enough already!

    December 11, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  4. Leah

    She'll win easily with 400 electoral votes and by 5-10 million popular votes. Republicans are a disgrace.

    December 11, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  5. TheVoice2

    Its funny how they say Hilary is too old. But Reagan wasn't???? Either way the usual 35% say they disapprove, or the Bushie Loyals..AKA the Teaparty .

    The rich have bought themselves a party called the GOP/Rethuglicans, and Grover Norquist is their "hit man"

    December 11, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  6. Lady Bird

    Can we please stop recycling these remanents from the 90's era? It's not like there's a shortage of fresh and energetic go getters so why do we keep going back to the same people? I don't care what side you're on but reality check, she blew the whole Bengazi deal and she's ready to move on to the presidency? On what qualification, the wife of an ex-president?

    December 11, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  7. ruetienne

    There's not a Republican that can match her skills and intellect, and the women of the country as well as progressives in general will see the election as historic. Besides, the Tea Party's extreme ignorance won't change, guaranteeing the the GOP will implode. And having Bill back in the White House will drive conservatives nuts. I love it. Hillary, 2016

    December 11, 2012 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  8. george busch

    It will be a walk in the park. After Obama fixes the economy (and it is well on it's way contrary to what Faux and con talk radio says) and repugs keep grandstanding and stalling for 4 years Hillary will be a shoe-in. I don't know which I will enjoy more, 4 years of Hillary or 4 years of listening to repugs continued predictions of doom and gloom. We all know how much the right-wing nuts like her.

    December 11, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  9. Clinton 2016

    Many will vote for her after 8 years of Democrats fixing the things that the conservatives screwed up so badly. She'll make an excellent President if she decides to run. Bill would become the First Gentleman.

    December 11, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  10. Betty Phillips

    That would be great for Hilliary. I have heard that she needs another couch, so she would get another chance to steal it our of the white House, she stole one when Billy her womanizer left the white House. So I am sure Hilliary is right now busy making her theft list. Hilliary has done crap for the 4 dead Americans in Bengaza, so who in their right mind would think this ugly Bimbo would not repeat her past. This time she will have the Obama liar on her side. What a sick mess..

    December 11, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  11. Marshall

    The way she is handling Benhagazi she should never stand for 2016, she has not done any good for the country,Bill will have a good time at the Whitehouse.

    December 11, 2012 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    @SCBAMA

    No one will vote for her after 4 more years of libs screwing things up. She is ready for the rocking chair anyway.
    ================================================================================================You mean Democrats won't do well like "W's" 8 years of starting two unfunded wars, trashing our economy, and getting over 4,500 Service-members killed and over 100,000 wounded? The modern "conservatives" are simply Fox News drones doing the political bidding of a wealthy class – who wouldn't want their kind in the neighborhood.

    December 11, 2012 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  13. don in albuquerque

    So sick of hearing the Bengazi rant from the right. The middle east is the most dangerous place in the world, and for a great part because W destabalized it by his party in Iraq. The right voted to cut spending on security for our diplomats–they own what happened. Disgusting. We got your back Hillary. Four more years of Obama, and then Hillary for eight! We may get single payer health care, less spending on a losing war machine, and civil rights restored yet.

    December 11, 2012 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  14. Steve G

    She was my pick back in '08.....at the time, I was not a fan of Obama. I thought she ran a very courageous (but flawed) campaign and, despite the tone of the race, at the end she endorsed and fully backed Obama. She unified the party (instead of pulling a Ted Kennedy) and, along withher husband, were very helpful in getting Obama elected. She has done a terrific job as secy of state. Prior to that, she was highly regarded as the Senator from NY. She also was a terrific first lady......the complete and polar opposite of Laura Bush. I believe THOSE are her qualifications. And if we attack her for one incident (Bengazi) and condemn her in totality for it, then Bush junior should have been tied to his limo and dragged thru the streets of DC for his LONG list of abject failures. At least she takes responsibility for her supposed mistakes.

    December 11, 2012 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  15. TPF

    She has not done one thing as Sec. of State but a huge Dog & Pony show. He handling of the Libya deb-ogle will continue to haunt her and be re-hashed if she were to even consider a higher office. Come on now, we don't need the Clinton's any where near the White House. Don't you think Bill tarnished that office enough. If she hadn't have been a carpetbagger she never would have been elected Senator.

    December 11, 2012 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  16. Anne

    I would vote for her in a heartbeat. At age 69, she will certainly not be too old to run. I'm hoping that she gets some rest and enjoys being out of the limelight for awhile, and then makes the decision to run again. There has never been anybody more qualified than Hillary Clinton to be President of the United States. Lawyer, Senator, Secretary of State, and of course wife of a very successful President. She knows how government works and has plenty of foreign policy experience as well.

    December 11, 2012 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  17. Eddie

    Hillary won't be too old at all, I find that funny!! You Republicans forget that the 2 oldest Presidents ever were Reagan at age 69 when he took office and Eisenhower who was also 69 when he took office. Guess what???? Hillary will turn 69 right before the election of 2016 and would still be months younger than Eisenhower and Reagan at the same time during their run to the White House. I think she has the experience especially in Foreign Affairs and her husband is the wizard of economics.....sounds like a great team to me!!!!

    December 11, 2012 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  18. ccw

    the nomination was stolen from her in 2008 thanks to Oprah....she would have been elected, paving the way for Obama in 2016......

    December 11, 2012 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  19. dino

    hillary will be able to beat any republican-people are tired of these rich people and religious extremists telling them what to do

    December 11, 2012 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  20. Hillcrester

    For her sake, I hope she doesn't run. Without knowing who else was seeking the Dem nomination, my wife and I would glady support her candidacy, however.

    December 11, 2012 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  21. Namemichael eggert

    I do hope she runs it will be nice to have our country back and to have financil streneth back i do belive that the dollar will be much stronger against all other foreign currency and that she will bring congresial law makers togeather on both sides and will have a better chance to balance the budget and to rid us of this ever so mounting trillion dollar deficit

    December 11, 2012 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  22. SwingState

    Stop recycling remnants from the 90s? Isn't that what Newt was? Look how far he went. Oh the wonderful new crop from the GOP wasn't very appealing anyway. It was like the circus came to town.

    December 11, 2012 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  23. Politics watcher

    There are many issues. She'll be too old by then. She already looks senile, that I doubt she'd have enough appeal. Look at Mrs. Thatcher & Angela Merkel. They weren't young, but they don't have that kind of poor appearance. Nor is her voice attractive. She was so husky that she was unbearable in the debate against Obama.

    December 11, 2012 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  24. Bea

    Madam president, that's music to my ears and about time too that we had a woman president. Hillary has a unique resume: 8 years in the WH, 8 years in the Senate and 4 years as SOS. That level of experience will be hard to beat.

    December 11, 2012 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  25. seter16

    I hope she runs, she has my vote, again!

    December 11, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
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