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

    Logic n L.A. it's scary that there are people out there as ignorant as you....

    December 11, 2012 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  2. RONALD777

    Hillary would make a good dog catcher.

    December 11, 2012 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  3. Carl

    Can she take over in 2013?

    December 11, 2012 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  4. donna

    The internet will keep right-wing nationaists and religious fruitcakes at bay. Globailzation is finally here. I personally cannot wait to give up our profits and share our resources to help those less-fortunate – whose only crime is that they were not born in the U.S.A.!!! We are a united peoples of the earth. Let's face the fact and help each other achieve peace and prosperity for a change.

    December 11, 2012 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  5. Chris, Austin

    This is the woman who almost beat Barack Obama. Unless the GOP has a once-in-a-lifetime candidate like him, they have no one who can compete with her.

    Marco Rubio is no Barack Obama. The closest thing to a rockstar candidate they have is Christie. But Christie can't get through a Republican primary, he is not nominate-able. The first time some Tea Party whacko tries to tell him he has to do this, and has to do that, he's going to tell them to get bent. Republicans are too used to controlling their nominees, and Christie isn't going to eat that. This is the definition of dysfunction. Republicans will destroy anyone man enough to actually lead. (Yes, I said MAN enough. We're talking about the GOP, here.)

    December 11, 2012 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  6. Chris, Austin

    This is the woman who almost beat Barack Obama. Unless the GOP has a once-in-a-lifetime candidate like him, they have no one who can compete with her.

    Marco Rubio is no Barack Obama. The closest thing to a rockstar candidate they have is Christie. But Christie can't get through a Republican primary, he is not nominate-able. The first time some Tea Party loon tries to tell him he has to do this, and has to do that, he's going to tell them to get bent. Republicans are too used to controlling their nominees, and Christie isn't going to eat that. This is the definition of dysfunction. Republicans will destroy anyone man enough to actually lead. (Yes, I said MAN enough. We're talking about the GOP, here.)

    December 11, 2012 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  7. Victor b

    Guys. As much as I would love to see her run (heaven on earth for the middle class), let's look at the facts. If she ran in 2016, she would be 69 making her the oldest president ever to be elected first term. I have a feeling that the oldest president record will not be broken by a woman.

    December 11, 2012 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  8. massoud

    Hey why not have her be president after all failure is a prerequisite for being president lately just look at our two last presidents to take office.

    December 11, 2012 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  9. Bill Williams

    The 2016 election is hers to clinch,if she wants it?The Republicans are the party of the dead,and are fading fast.Any
    Republicans that hope to continue their careers,are starting to change teams,in order to survive.The Republican Party
    will cease to exist in the next 25-35 years,because they have no leaders,and no message that voters will listen to.

    December 11, 2012 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  10. poltimum

    Benghazigate is much ado about nothing. Mrs. Clinton will be testifying. There is no cause for an Obama lynching. No lies. No cover up. Maybe a bit of a balls up. Nothing even close to impeachable. Where was this zealous outrage over the 10 plus embassy attacks under Bush 2, during which over 50 Americans died? Calling over half the voting populace "mindless masses" may make you feel superior but is baseless. The more educated voters voted for President Obama. Mrs. Clinton stayed with her amazing husband after he accepted a blow job from an intern – that doesn't mean she lacked integrity at all neither does her accepting the Sec of State position after loosing to Obama. She can see the bigger picture. Apart from being the most bad ass woman in international politics, Secretary Clinton is also the cooles, enjoying her 10th year as Gallup poll’s most admired woman – a distinction she’s earned through hard work, perseverance, focus and dedication in her many, many years of service to America. She has my vote!

    December 11, 2012 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  11. Neurotoxin

    Get real. Hillary straddles the center arguably harder than any other modern US politician. While this may make her relatively popular among Americans at-large – it provides no viable path to the Presidency. Why? Because first you have to win a major party's nomination, and the 2016 primaries are going to be so skewed toward the extremes of each party that they will make the Democrats' of the 2008 and the Republicans' of 2012 look tame. In that scenario, Hillary will be denied the Democratic nomination by a far broader margin than she was in 2008. If anything, she would have a better chance running as a moderate Republican IF that party splits and the anti-tax conservatives run a separate candidate.

    December 11, 2012 02:15 am at 2:15 am |
  12. Jonathan

    I would support Hillary and Bill in the white house again. They both have spent their entire lives looking out for all of us as our political representatives and i can't imagine that has been an easy road. We as Americans are all over the place in our opinions and feelings about everything but I'n the end we have to settle on someone to go up there and do the job. That someone needs to  have the drive and determination to sort out our vast opinions and then fight for what they belive the majority of us would agree with. In my opinion both Hillary and Bill have proven over and over that they fight for what they believe in.  I  have found that i agree with their decisions more often then i don't. So it seems to me that their decisions are very representative of my own opinion as well as a lot if others making them and us a powerful political force to be reconed with and that makes me very happy.  It makes me even more happy to see those that may not share in my beliefs mostly republicans, getting nervous at the thought of those two getting back into the white house. If a balanced budget is what we need as a country and entitlement reform is the sticking point with the republicans then the Clintons are the ones to get our government working again. They have accomplished both before and could do it again.  Welfare reform and higher taxes on the wealthy was a nice compromise when Bill was president.  I bet Hillary would do the same kind of balanced political representation if she was president. 

    December 11, 2012 02:32 am at 2:32 am |
  13. J.V.Hodgson

    If she decides to run in 2016 she would give any opponent a good run for thier money nd rightly so.
    I do agree that mrs clinton has more of aplace answering the current so called outstanding questions of those Republicans who see Benghazi as stillan issue beyond the deaths of 4 Americans at the hands of terrorists. Reason said outstanding questions are more for the head of the state department to answer rather than Rice.
    trying to say because of benghazi Rice would be an incompetent Sec of State is nonsense. the only sensible issue to address is why there was so little immediate security at the consulate. The rest is political posturing only.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    December 11, 2012 02:40 am at 2:40 am |
  14. joepawlak

    I wish she would run for pres. or again mitt romeny or some-one with a Lot of new ideals and clean both houses that some-one dose not pick apart just because you do not like them or something? and knows what they are doing and get us out this so called debt i sure do not want to live in a box! and show they are not such weak ling and get this country back were it supposed to like god built and stop being such crooks and take all of our peoples money that we earned like social security or saying about a second bridge

    December 11, 2012 02:49 am at 2:49 am |
  15. girlgeorge

    Sec. Clinton has given more than her fair share in service to this country. Should she decide to run, she has my full support. Should she decide to retire, she has my full understanding. I wish her well either way.

    December 11, 2012 02:53 am at 2:53 am |
  16. Ambrose Smith

    The GOP is scared of Clinton because they know she would win.

    December 11, 2012 03:17 am at 3:17 am |
  17. Mina

    Here's an idea republicans ... Maybe find a candidate that is actually worth us democrats and independents voting for! I haven't seen one in years!! Really Jeb Bush out of all republicans him and Paul Ryan are the 2 picks??

    December 11, 2012 03:35 am at 3:35 am |
  18. Matutina

    Go Hillary Go!

    December 11, 2012 03:42 am at 3:42 am |
  19. Daniel D Janson

    Proud canadian lost American lives do not matter-wow friends of the north? What socialist material do you read with its emphasis that the end justifies the means. The democratic manifesto is to a tee Karls and now we shall see the road to failure.

    You proud arrogant left have the masses and so did a lot of failed empires of history. They started with the same blame, name calling, divert emphasis, and hail the masses to hollywood style figures. So now we will see your self hailed , elevated states and how you deal with leadership. Do not think it will elevate the free thought and choice of those you proclaim to serve unless they climb on your band wagon.

    December 11, 2012 03:56 am at 3:56 am |
  20. Carl Homish

    Isn't it just a little to eary to be talking about 2016. Please, give us a break.

    December 11, 2012 04:42 am at 4:42 am |
  21. Barry

    The world has passed the GOP by and they are too ignorant to even realize it! Roll with the changes baby! Mitt Romney for President this past campaign??? Seriously??? You would have had a better chance with SpongeBob as your candidate........hahahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaa!

    December 11, 2012 04:52 am at 4:52 am |
  22. Name Mary

    I voted for Obama but I don't like Hillary

    December 11, 2012 05:27 am at 5:27 am |
  23. Mark

    Libya will be old news by the time the US election rolls around in 2016. People died in a terrorist attack. Yep. Trying to turn this into Obama or Clinton's fault doesn't work. Republicans and Fox News consumers will eat up anything anti-democrat like that, but it doesn't have legs beyond the GOP faithful.

    So, you have a pretty formidable candidate in Hillary for 2016. The GOP will likely run another religious white guy with good hair, who will have to blither on about abortion and gay marriage to get nominated by the GOP faithful. No one says they're running this early into it. She'll start touring Iowa and New Hampshire a whole lot in 2014. Then, watch the Republicans lose another election with only "communist" insults to throw that makes them even more disconnected from the majority.

    December 11, 2012 05:43 am at 5:43 am |
  24. robj

    Do people really want to repeat the drama and the embarrassment of the past Clinton's years???????

    December 11, 2012 06:00 am at 6:00 am |
  25. Rick Douglas

    I realize that she's the media's darling, but you have to ask yourself what her accomplishments have been as Secretary of State. The mid-east is in complete turmoil, the Israel-Palestinian conflict is again flaring up, North Korea is preparing a long range launch, Iran is on the verge of nuculear weapons, etc. I'm not trying to be anti-Hillary, but not looking through rose-colored glasses either. Try to list 3 major accomplishments over the past 4 years.

    December 11, 2012 06:05 am at 6:05 am |
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