Clinton rides high poll numbers into private life (for now?)
December 10th, 2012
01:19 PM ET
5 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. IttakesCommensense

    Hilary has what it takes to be a great President, I supported her in 08, she knows how to deal with Washington, she has worked hard bringing countries together and has been successful, Hilary is who WE THE PEOPLE need to the job done!

    December 10, 2012 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  2. One L

    She has my vote – I voted for her in the '08 primary, and would gladly do it again in a heartbeat.

    December 10, 2012 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  3. RedInTexas

    I'm a dyed in the wool Southern Republican. But if Hillary Clinton runs in 2016, she would get my vote. I'm ashamed of my own party right now. I'm in a place where name calling, false rumors, and outlandish lies (even in our CHURCHES! – where they receive a free tax break btw) are all it takes to persuade someone from the Democratic party. Now, I still have conservative and christian views and beliefs, but even I understand that my beliefs and views shouldn't be LAW for everyone to obey and abide by. The Democrats are winning in this country, ahead in popular votes, and are the future of this country SIMPLY BECAUSE of one thing.. the country has become educated and believes that ALL AMERICANS, and those who wish to become citizens, are created equal and should be treated with dignity and respect. With equal rights for all. My party has lost that. My party is corrupt from over zealous religious leaders, back-water dipsticks, and quite frankly, a world view from the 1950's. I believe there have been many things that Hillary Clinton has done in the past that I don't personally agree with. Maybe not as forthcoming with things that I hoped she would have. But there is noone in EITHER party in this day and age who is as knowledgeable, driven, steady and careful for our country than her. She has shown bi-partisanship, problem solving, and has served as an incredible ambassador to our county. If Hillary Clinton reads this post from this loud and proud Republican in the heart of Texas, I will say with absolute certainty, I will be placing a check by her name in 2016. There's noone better. Even we know it.
    God bless us all.

    December 10, 2012 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  4. blake

    The American people truly are morons. First Obama. Now Hillary. Guess they value leaders who are egomaniacs, compulsive liars, and big government socialists.

    December 10, 2012 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  5. Truck

    Time to get these old farts out of politics & bring up a new generation.....

    December 10, 2012 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  6. sc

    Who would she likely choose as a VP?

    December 10, 2012 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  7. jim

    god I wish we could just have a civil war and be done with dems and libs.

    December 10, 2012 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  8. Mike

    I've never been a Hillary fan. On the other hand, I see no one else as a formidable candidate for the Presidency. The Republicans have absolutely no one and their ideologies are awful. Democrats at least have the middle class in mind. Her experience in foreign policy, her knowledge of WH operations, and the fact that she is well respected around the county (and the world) makes her a very viable candidate.

    December 10, 2012 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  9. Ed1

    Just remember she said it was her fault that four Americans died period and you can vote for her.

    I guess Obama gave her the left over Kool Aid to use or gave it to the press.

    December 10, 2012 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  10. DavidE7

    To have a favorable opinion of someone is not the same as thinking that person would make a good President. This is more of the establishment hype machine at work. Hilary has tons of energy and that is good, but so do lots of entertainers who would make terrible Presidents.

    December 10, 2012 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  11. hisgoodteenr

    If she runs she wins...we all win!

    December 10, 2012 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  12. LibertyQueen

    Madam President, Hillary Clinton, 2016.!

    December 10, 2012 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  13. Jen

    I wonder if she would accept a request to be someone else's VP? When she took the job of Secretary of State, she said she was reluctant, but that she believed that when your President asked you to do something, you do it. Would that extend to a Presidential candidate asking her to be their running mate? (Hypothetical question of course, because no Presidential candidate would want to be overshadowed by their VP nominee).

    December 10, 2012 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  14. Clinton Dickens

    This amazing woman & her husband, President Bill Clinton, are probably the two most popular political figures in the United States today and they are highly admired worldwide. President Clinton is the first President since President Esinhower–in the 1950's–to leave our nation with a budget surplus when they left office.
    Many people forget, or don't want to acknowledge, that in one huge round of tax cuts aimed primarily @ benefiting the very wealthy (the 2%, if you will) the Bush/Cheney Administration put our national budget back into deficit spending. Then, in a second round of tax cuts catering to the wealthiest of Americans, unleashed a virtual flood of budget red ink. Then, that ocean of red ink grew @ an astonishing rate as Bush/Cheney plunged our nation into–not one–but two wars that have taken the lives of many of our finest young men & women & for years added billons of dollars month after month to the budget deficit. Those in our country who are constantly placing all of the blame for our current fiscal crisis on the present Administration have very short memories or are just choosing to be intentionally dishonest in their accusations.
    However, if we genuinely have the best interests of our nation as our goal, this is the time for all to work together to get our nation out of the grave financial crisis that we face. It is certainly not the time to, like children on a playground, point fingers & shout "It's their fault".

    December 10, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  15. floridamom1

    If we are already talking about Hillary, it must be because even the Democrats think Obama is an idiot and can't wait until 2016 when they can try to get someone better in there.

    December 10, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  16. Ratified1791

    Totally biased poll that "over samples democrats" directly by 7-10 points, and indirectly by sampling "an additional" 14.7% of blacks who vote 99% for democrats.

    (1) Hillary is a complete failure as a Secretary of State and as a role model for women young and old.

    (2) Hillary personally failed to stop her husbands repeated cheating, lies, and deception that ultimately damaged our nation, set back legitimate feminism, exposed her weakness to submit to repeated spousal abuse and lack of courage to divorce him.

    (3) Hillary professionally failed to recognize the importance of the 911 anniversary on our enemies, her duty to protect personnel under her control, and was felony negligent in causing the deaths of 4 Americans in Benghazi.

    (4) Hillary guilty in Whitewater Scandal: real estate & banking scheme of crony capitalism, influence peddling, and money laundering that she 'protected' from the Rose Law Firm she worked at.

    (5) Hillary guilty in Travelgate Scandal: white house travel staff, employed there for decades, rudely and with malice fired for no reason and life long careers destroyed.

    (6) Hillary guilty in Filegate Scandal: FBI probe of abuse of power where she was illegally in possesion of classified files on Republicans. Corrupt abuse of power to hurt political foes.

    Hillary Rodham Clinton is WEAK, CORRUPT, & INCOMPETENT

    December 10, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  17. norma jean

    "Freedom'.......There were at least a dozen things that have happened in the last few years that you DIDN'T blame on Hillary Clinton....What about the East coast disaster.....the plane crashes....drownings...middle East wars...9-11,surely with your astute observation you could have found a few more!!! Just what the country needs ....another Saturday .morning quarter back!!!!

    December 10, 2012 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  18. Chooch0253

    I'm certain the 35% that have an unfavorable opinion are Republicans. Republicans that are in denial just like they believed the "polls" were wrong about Romney versus Obama. You party loyalists need to actually tune to something besides Fox once in a while.

    December 11, 2012 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  19. BK

    I'll be disappointed if she doesn't run next election.

    December 11, 2012 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  20. Mafold

    with bill's muscle and connections and boatloads of cash from democrat fatcats, hillary wins election easily in 2016-mark it down!!

    December 11, 2012 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  21. Future Generation

    Clinton – Castro 2016 – be ready to flip Arizona and Texas. Hispanic voters will change the landscape of elections in the country.

    December 11, 2012 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  22. Hello

    How many times does this woman ahve to tell you people that she's NOT running.

    December 11, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  23. Geordie

    That is what the American Voter is looking for , a likeable candidate.
    No wonder your economy is where it is and your debt is growing by the minute.
    For the last 12 years and now for another 4 years you have had leaders who are incompetent and absolutely clueless.
    Obama has no solutions , all I have heard is taxing the rich more , get with it , there are not enough rich people to make a difference.
    Also , other countries have tried that and guess where the rich people went , they moved to beautiful places in the sun.

    December 11, 2012 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  24. Joe

    Give us a break, will ya?

    December 11, 2012 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  25. Name Demilaoye

    Hillary Clinton is pragmatic politician. Roll on to 2016 with Deval Patrick...

    December 11, 2012 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
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