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. Angel Luna

    I truly believe she should run for President. I voted for her in 2008, she has the political background necessary to hold the office.

    December 11, 2012 06:05 am at 6:05 am |
  2. Marie MD

    @rickmcdaniel, you mean 51% of the US will vote for her. By 2016 that number will probably grow and truth be told Hillary Clinton has done a great service to the country and unlike mcnasty and the twit and west, all losers, she has stepped up for the country without sour grapes.
    You can say all you want about the Clinton's but when it comes to the good of US they step up to the plate and hit home runs. Your repug party has NOBODY who can spit shine their shoes.

    December 11, 2012 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  3. Derek

    Really after Libiya?

    December 11, 2012 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  4. Michael Andrew Ruzicho

    The only people that could remotely have a shot against Clinton is Bush or Rice. Maybe Boehner if he stimulates the economy, and performs miracles with Obama.

    December 11, 2012 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  5. daniel

    These centuries old rotten GOP always want to make our life complicated. They still are talking about Bengazi, what a shmack! Now they will be shooting their foot again by raising Bengazi incident in the bid for President in 2016, which will be a gift for us Democrats. We have to learn from Bengazi and move on. WE ARE HAPPY TO HAVE HILLARY R CLINTON to be our next President.

    December 11, 2012 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  6. mike Lake Orion Michigan

    I'd like to think we're done with the social experiments. Isn't Obama bad enough?

    December 11, 2012 06:45 am at 6:45 am |
  7. Donkey Party

    To you ignorant right-wingers, the GOP gutted the funding for consulate security by $300 million dollars. The blood of Benghazi is on the GOP's hands, where is your outrage now?

    December 11, 2012 06:48 am at 6:48 am |
  8. blue dog

    Well, I'm a Hillary supporter. But Benghazi is a blemish on her otherwise outstanding record. But GOP better be careful blaming her for that. They were directly involved by sponsoring bill to cut embassy security funds.

    December 11, 2012 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  9. Maryellen

    I really believe Hillary has had enough and I certainly don't blame her but if she runs she would have my full support and vote.

    December 11, 2012 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  10. kwdragon

    Madam Secretary: I realize that you are probably ready to retire now, but I would ask that you consider one more round of public service for your country. The minute you so much as consider a run in 2016, you will have my vote and my full support.

    December 11, 2012 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  11. tony

    The gop has no one to run and if they do he or she is not capable of beating Hillary in the general.

    December 11, 2012 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  12. tony

    My mistake women are not welcomed to run in that party.

    December 11, 2012 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  13. Just a thought

    @Free-dumb, what did you say about the attacks that occurred on Dubya's watch? What did you say when he said "Bin Laden...uh?.....I don't know where he is, and I don't think about him that much" What did you say to that? Did you care about that???? What? Silence? Crickets? That's what I thought

    December 11, 2012 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  14. Jt_flyer

    The democrats are set for- at least- the next 12 long years. Please GOP serve up another Bush!

    December 11, 2012 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  15. Mark L.

    I would support Hillary Clinton ALL THE WAY, should she decide to make another run for President in 2016 !! There is absolutely NO DOUBT in my mind, whatsoever, Hillary Clinton would come out VICTORIOUS over any Republican and/or Independent candidate.

    December 11, 2012 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  16. Lynda/Minnesota


    I see the Foxheads are still desperate to try and make something out of Benghazi. Everyone on here desperately trying to make something out of Benghazi are the same people that have made the GOP a complete embarassment, resulting in the GOP losing ground in the last election.

    And some people say FOX News isn't a Republican propaganda machine of the first order. What else we should expect from the political party that heralds Rush Limbaugh as it's leader and a news organization (well, pseudo news organization) that mimics Limbaugh in both content and personal greed? But not integrity. Never integrity.

    December 11, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  17. ShawnDH

    I'd vote for Hillary!

    And I think it's pretty clear Republicans don't have anybody on the radar who can beat her. Come on.

    December 11, 2012 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  18. MRHD

    I would love for her to run. I supported her in 2008 and still believe she was a better choice– ideally Obama should have been her VP and then he would have ran in 2016. Fifteen years Clinton's junior he would have been at a better stage in his life to run in 2016 than she will be, and after eight years as a VP maybe he wouldn't have made rookie mistakes like negotiating with himself and being too nice to the Republicans when he did get the Presidency. But even so, it's still not too late Hillary! If Reagan could run and win for the first time at 69 then so can you!

    December 11, 2012 08:51 am at 8:51 am |

    Any Democrat in 2016 is bad. Look at our present President what a Dummy. Democrats are the worst Presidents.

    December 11, 2012 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  20. Kelby in Houston, TX

    Please run for President Hillary! I promise we won't abandon you for some young Black guy from Chicago this time!
    This time, you truly are the anointed one and there is no one who can take this from you! YOU CAN'T LOSE

    December 11, 2012 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  21. ST

    I will be delighted if we could make history one more time and elect the first woman US president, BUT this woman has been there before. Who in 2007 when she entered the competition for the presidential bid, didn't think that she will emerge as a Dem candidate. It didn't happen so. It might not happen come 2016.

    December 11, 2012 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  22. Wake up People!

    And posters like Kelby from Houston are the main reason I don't want to support Hilary. You just can't get past 2008. We promise not to abandon you for another young black guy from Chicago. Pathetic.

    If the Hilary supporters from 08 weren't so spiteful and refused to back then Senator Obama, I would be all for her. But unfortunately I have a spiteful streak. So I'm up in the air on Hilary.

    December 11, 2012 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  23. jean

    The Clintons are the most amoral ,thugs on the political scene nex't to Obama. She is a useless ,doormat. What has she ever done. She has made a lethal mess out of the middle east. She has a hand in the Vince Foster suicide. Travelgate. She is the worst role model for women,and he is a nasty lech who threw how many women under the bus when they reported him. Horrible trash. Both of them. Retire the Clintos and get some real people in not these burnt out trashasses. Multi millions,gazillions spent on the daughters wedding but she pushes marxist socialism on everyone else except the liberal elitist phoney chums. Disgusting ,grotesque couple.

    December 11, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  24. alien

    Dems make the worst presidents? Look it up under any ecomonic catagory the dems blow the repubes away in the last 50 years,especially under stock market gains by percentage, and by workers salaries.

    December 11, 2012 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  25. SuperD

    Do you realize that Hillary is going to be a wrinkled old witch in 2016? She's a retread, she's over rated beyond belief. She has done nothing but ride coattails to Senator and Sec of State.

    Oh yeah, now I'm hearing Bengahzi is now the Republicans fault according to Donkey Party...good lord!

    I wish I could be a Democrat, I get into power, but when bad things happen, economy, Benghazi, it's not my fault, even though I'm in charge. Pathetic

    December 11, 2012 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
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