Clinton rides high poll numbers into private life (for now?)
December 10th, 2012
01:19 PM ET
6 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.

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

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. Lori

    Hillary's education, intelligence, commitment, wisdom, humanitarianism, graciousness, tenacity, smile, and experience will allow her to more than fulfill the requirements of being a successful US president. Her credentials would be the envy of any candidate. And any voter who has half a brain should look objectively at the real qualities needed to lead our nation. Sign me up for her campaign volunteer team!

    December 11, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  2. Grumpster

    Oh, please....we just finished a torturous campaign season....let's wait at least a couple more before we have to go through all that again.

    December 11, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  3. Woman In California

    Okay media keep cooking up the Clinton stories and make Hillary think this is her time again. There is always someone out there waiting to challenge you and 2016 will be no different. She is not going to be president and I think even she has figured that out by now, but go ahead and keep playing this broken record and many of you will realize sooner or later that the Clinton's time in the White House is OVER.

    December 11, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  4. DDM

    I think Hilary Clinton has worked to the point of exhaustion. If she wants to care for her health she won't run.

    December 11, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  5. Woman In California

    @ jdoe

    Hillary wasn't a very good candidate the last time around, and she won't be in 2016. She may be highly qualified, but that's never how you win an election. She lacks charisma, and her speeches have a monotonous quality to them. Obama was able to come from behind and win, because he was a better speaker and more charismatic.

    I agree with you 100%. She will be even easier to beat in 2016 as she will have far less energy.

    December 11, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  6. hippie power 69

    i think hillary would make a wonderful president. she would be a great woman president. i don't know if she wants it but i think it would be hers for the taking if she so desired. i know the repubs don't have anyone that comes close to what hillary has.

    December 11, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  7. Get Real

    Did I miss something?? Have we went into the future 4 years?? I thought we just had an election where a president was re-elected? Are we going into the next 4 years with no confidence that we are already looking to the 2016 race?

    December 11, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  8. Wake up People!

    @Get real. I hear ya. However the GOP started talking 2016, I think the day after the election and the scandal ready media just jumped all over it. I too think it's too soon. The 2012 campaign and election were very rough and I am NOT looking forward to the next one.

    December 11, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  9. Donna

    The Democrats will have the country on the verge of bankruptcy by 2016 and the Obama recession will just be ending. The country will not elect another Democrat to the Whitehouse after the 8 year Obama fiasco.

    December 11, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  10. jag

    American politics, another "Reality Series if not sitcom". Let's turn the channel for now.

    December 11, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  11. Just me

    This liberal says no, no, no, no, no!! Clinton is now too old to run in 2016 – we turned the page in 2008. She has served her country honorably and would do a lot of good in the private nonprofit sector like Pres. Bill Clinton. Running would be all about her ego, not about what's best for the country – we need fresh faces and new ideas. Clinton was a good president & Hillary has been a good SOS, but the 90s are over.

    December 11, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  12. Luke Brown

    She, her husband, and Obama are also the most popular Americans in the world.

    December 11, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  13. cnnmembuh

    I'd love for a more libertarian mindset to take hold in this country, but with the growing tide of those dependent upon government, that prospect is highly unrealistic. I would not fear a Hillary presidency, insasmuch as she is a pragmatist and would hopefully be more moderate than our current spender in chief.

    December 11, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  14. christina knight

    RUN HILLARY!!!!!! PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 11, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  15. Mamasrudeboy

    ...early voting in Florida...hmmmmm...I better get my vote in early for President Hilary Clinton before the rePUGSlicans try to SUPPRESS or TAKE AWAY another election.

    December 11, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  16. Howard

    Hillary as President ? ... When things get tough, she can always run away to Peru.

    December 11, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  17. catherine johnson

    Rest up Hillary. cj

    December 11, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  18. Bolaji09

    The Obama political machinery has demonstrated a historic potential to deliver victory at the presidential level in a manner that shocked the establishment – TWICE! This weapon will be at the disposal of the Hillary Clinton campaign – minimally in appreciation of the family’s contribution to the success of the State Department in the president’s first term and to his re-election.

    The three or so years of rest (plus tucks here and there) between now and kick-off of 2016 campaign should have Mrs. Clinton in good stead to continue the return to the prosperity of Bill Clinton days. Sign me up to volunteer!

    December 11, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  19. 'The Right-stuff'

    Yes, Hillary had the 'Right Stuff' to lead...but America refused to see it in 2008...'None are so blind as the Ones with seeing eyes who refused to see" Hillary must move one....running for President is not race for the White House Game.........!

    December 11, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  20. cm

    She will get my vote!

    December 11, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  21. LIsa

    Hilary had the chance in 2008 but she will not win 2016. Why? Because Obama will have his wife Michelle run and she will win. Sorry Hil, you got screwed.

    December 11, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  22. LIsa

    "Hillary's education, intelligence, commitment, wisdom, humanitarianism, graciousness, tenacity, smile, and experience will allow her to more than fulfill the requirements of being a successful US president. Her credentials would be the envy of any candidate. And any voter who has half a brain should look objectively at the real qualities needed to lead our nation. "
    America had that chance in 2008 and they turned their back on it. They proved that most voters can't tell between a quality leader and a media-created fantasy.

    December 11, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  23. MOC


    December 11, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  24. Fred Evil

    If the GoTP runs another Santorum/Romney clone, Hillary's a shoo-in.

    December 11, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  25. gerry

    Her own superlative qualities in the political realm notwithstanding, she has something else many of her peers can manage. That being married to one of the most gifted politiicans of our time. A man whose counsel would be invaluable in shaping a better America.

    December 11, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11