June 9th, 2014
12:26 PM ET
7 months ago

Hillary Clinton by the numbers

Program note: Hillary Clinton will discuss her memoir "Hard Choices" in a town hall meeting at the Newseum in Washington at 5 p.m. ET on June 17. The former secretary of state, senator and first lady will take questions from moderator Christiane Amanpour, CNN's Chief International Correspondent, and members of the audience. The town hall will be simulcast on CNN International and CNN en Espanol.

Washington (CNN) - With her much anticipated memoir hitting bookstores on Tuesday, coverage of Hillary Clinton is exploding this week, from the broadcast networks to cable news to social media.

Polling indicates that the former secretary of state, who says she'll probably decide next year whether she'll make another run for the White House, would instantly become the overwhelming frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

While those numbers are very clear cut, here's what other polling on the former senator from New York and first lady tells us:

Clinton as secretary of state: "Hard Choices" is Clinton's look back at her four-year tenure as America's top diplomat. When she stepped down in early 2013, her approval ratings were sky high - she stood at 66% in a CNN/ORC International poll and 68% in an ABC News/Washington Post survey.

While those numbers have deteriorated a bit, they remain high: 59% of people questioned in an ABC New/Washington Post poll conducted a week ago gave a thumbs-up to the job Clinton did at the State Department.

The poll also asked about Clinton's personal attributes.

Two thirds said Clinton is a strong leader; six in 10 said she was honest and trustworthy; and majorities said Clinton understood people like them and had new ideas for the country. The numbers on Clinton's personal qualities matched a CNN/ORC poll conducted earlier this year.

Of course, there was a partisan divide on all of these questions.

Take her approval rating as secretary of state: Nine out of 10 Democrats said they approved of the job Clinton did. Her approval rating dropped to 54% among independents, with only 27% of Republicans questioned giving a thumbs up to Clinton. Another example: 94% of Democrats, but only four in 10 Republicans, said Clinton was a strong leader.

Clinton vs. Obama: What's also striking is that while Clinton's numbers remain high, Americans don't remain enamored of how her former boss is currently handling foreign policy. President Barack Obama's approval rating on foreign policy in the ABC News/Washington Post poll stood at 41% and the President's approval on foreign affairs stood at 40% in a CNN/ORC International survey conducted at the beginning of the month.

The President's numbers on foreign policy dropped during his second term, as the bloody civil war in Syria continued to rage, and with the return to Cold War-like attitudes with Russia, thanks to Moscow's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and tacit support for Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine fighting for separation from Kiev.

Since leaving the State Department, Clinton has mostly avoided saying anything critical of the President. But while she praises him in her new memoir, she does put a bit of daylight between herself and Obama when it comes to international flashpoints that remain ongoing. Most striking is her disagreement with the President over whether to arm the rebels battling Syrian government forces.

"The President's inclination was to stay the present course and not take the significant further step of arming rebels," Clinton writes. "No one likes to lose a debate, including me. But this was the President's call and I respected his deliberations and decision. From the beginning of our partnership, he had promised me that I would always get a fair hearing. And I always did. In this case, my position didn't prevail."

New polls asking about a former secretary of state's tenure remain rare.

"This is really uncharted waters for pollsters, because we rarely - if ever - have had any reason to ask a retrospective approval rating for a former secretary of state," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. "The last former Secretary of State to run for president was Al Haig in 1988, and before Haig, you probably have to go all the way back to 1916 when Philander C. Knox and Elihu Root were both running for the GOP nomination years after they had headed the State Department."

Benghazi still hurts: Much of the Republican political firepower directed at Clinton focuses on the September 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans.

"It's clear Hillary Clinton is testing the waters for a 2016 run for the White House but questions continue to surface about her failed record at the State Department from Benghazi to the Russian Reset and Boko Haram," RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement Monday.

Clinton testified last year about the attack in front of House and Senate hearings. But Republicans say there are still questions left unanswered. And the GOP-controlled House is launching another investigation.

Around half the public says it supports another congressional investigation into the Benghazi attack, which was the first time in more than 30 years that a U.S. ambassador had been killed while on duty.

According to the ABC News/Washington Post poll, 51% said they supported another congressional investigation, with 42% saying the incident has been investigated enough already. As you can imagine, there was a wide partisan divide: 72% of Republicans questioned said they back the new investigation, but that number dropped to 52% among independents and just 31% among Democrats.

As for Clinton, half of those questioned said they disapprove of how Clinton handled the attack, with 37% saying the approve. Once again, there was a partisan divide, with 78% of Republicans, 58% of independents, but only 22% of Democrats giving the former secretary of state a thumbs-down on how she handled the incident.

2016: Just about every national and state poll has indicated the same thing: If she runs, Clinton's the overwhelming favorite for her party's presidential nomination.

Sixty-four percent of Democrats questioned in a CNN/ORC poll conducted in early May said they would likely back Clinton. That number stood at 66% in the new ABC News/Washington Post survey, with Vice President Joe Biden a very distant second, at 12% support.

But Democrats don't want a coronation. Fifty-five percent in the ABC News/Washington Post poll said they don't want Clinton to run unopposed for the nomination. Even among Clinton supporters, a majority want to see some competition.

As for the general election, Clinton maintains a large single digit to small double digit lead over possible Republican opponents in surveys of hypothetical 2016 general election matchups.

The latest example: Clinton topped Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, 53%-43%, in the new ABC News/Washington Post survey.

One caveat, of course: Take all these polls with a grain of salt.

"Of course, polls conducted more than two years before an election are kind of like looking at a scoreboard at the bottom of the first inning of a baseball game. It shows us who is ahead right now, but there are still eight more innings to play," Holland added.

Complete Coverage: 2014 Midterm Elections

 

 

 

 

 

 


Filed under: 2016 • CNN/ORC International poll • CNN/ORC poll • Hillary Clinton • Poll
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Hillary Clinton: Butcher of Benghazi

    Hillary Clinton by the numbers
    --

    FOUR dead Americans and many injured due to her incompetence and negligence. Let's start with those numbers.

    $5,000,000,000 unaccounted for at the State Dept. under her watch.

    June 9, 2014 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    "One caveat, of course: Take all these polls with a grain of salt."

    Oh, absolutely. As does President Mittens.

    June 9, 2014 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  3. Gurgyl

    Hillary 2016. Period.

    June 9, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  4. Janet Nappylotto

    Is CNN abandoning Obama?
    Is it time to start saying that Hillary is not another Obama?
    Is it time for Hillary to start planting more knives in Barry's back?

    June 9, 2014 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "Yes, because businessmen (aka-republicants) only raise the price of their goods services because the mean old Dems make them. "

    Well, that and because they need to recoup the hundreds of millions of dollars they spent trying to buy our government.

    June 9, 2014 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  6. emskadittle

    sorry Benghazi is played out, the terrorist attack was a tragedy but neither Obama or Hilary planned it nor could they have done anything to stop it

    June 9, 2014 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  7. Luc

    Can't wait to hear GOP response to book it will be a joke. Another excuse for congress to get out of doing there job. They might even repeal the book 50 times. This will be laughable what they come up with. Can't wait to hear GOP brain trust LOL

    June 9, 2014 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  8. Hillary Clinton: Deadly Choice

    She was proven deadly for her employees and others. She will prove just as deadly for our country and economy. No more "progressive" Democrats that want to progress this country into a third world bankrupt beggar nation.

    June 9, 2014 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    Hillary Clinton should be contributing every single penny she makes from her book to the families of those killed in Benghazi and to the wounded as well. If she doesn't want to answer the questions about it, then she at least needs to make up for the deaths and injuries she helped cause and for all the lies she told the families.

    June 9, 2014 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  10. Dumbas[R]ocks

    One smart, [D] woman writes a book. And it takes an entire party of dumb old white men to get together to see if they can come up with a cogent response.

    You'd have to be dumber than fly excrement to vote for anything coming out of the national [R] party......that, or you really do mean to force your countrymen into living in a country ruled by the Taliban, the Christian Taliban.

    June 9, 2014 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    " If she doesn't want to answer the questions about it, then she at least needs to make up for the deaths and injuries she helped cause and for all the lies she told the families."

    If she doesn't want to answer the questions about it, then why the frig did she testify in front of Congress and answer their questions about it?

    FIFY

    Oh that's right: for GOPers/Teatrolls, answers they don't like = no answer was given.

    June 9, 2014 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  12. Silence DoGood

    @Sniffit
    " If she doesn't want to answer the questions about it, then she at least needs to make up for the deaths and injuries she helped cause and for all the lies she told the families."

    If she doesn't want to answer the questions about it, then why the frig did she testify in front of Congress and answer their questions about it?

    FIFY

    Oh that's right: for GOPers/Teatrolls, answers they don't like = no answer was given.
    -----------
    After answering this over and over and over, she needs to do what Obama did with the whole Birther nonsense: Move on and ignore the tin foil hat folks. Look at how much that hurt Obama in the end. The only votes it influences were folks who would hate him for one imaginary reason or another.

    June 9, 2014 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  13. salty dog

    Hillary should be giving her money up, how do you feel about w doing the same? Listen to your answer to find your credibility issue, as in you don't have any, heres your sign!

    June 9, 2014 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  14. with a grain of salt

    How anyone can blame her for four deaths at the hands of terrorism, yet ignore the bush disaster of invading two countries, costing trillions, while simultaneously giving the richest among us more tax breaks is absolutely insane. Yet here it is, by those who claim to be the educated and informed ones, spare me. I have serious reservations about your ability to raise children, please don't, for all our sakes.

    June 9, 2014 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  15. Dumbas[R]ocks

    Hey anonymous, is your boy Shrub sending every penny he is making since leaving the presidency in disgrace to the families of the 100-or-so diplomats that were killed on his watch?

    [R] hypocrisy is pathetically disgraceful.

    June 9, 2014 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  16. Hillary Clinton: Vote for Me, I Don't have a Weiner

    I don't have any experience, accomlishments or ideas either. I just want to do it to become the first. Once I do it I'll be able to make bazillions of dollars.

    June 9, 2014 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  17. Vlad Puteen

    Yes, replace Mr. Mommy Pants with Miss Pants Suit.... sounds like good plan for me! Just when I thought America might wake up and see the folly of Mr. Mommy Pants. You make my day. Back to the map to pick my next new region.

    June 9, 2014 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  18. Gunderson

    Uh,
    Old Gunderson say Hillary's number just about up. But Bill and Hillary still haven't got the word. Geronimo! Some other's also in dark.

    June 9, 2014 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  19. Tampa Tim

    Hillary testified before congress. RWNJs and Fox took a part of one sentence out of the entire testimony, and believe that will propel the GOBaggers to the White House? Besides being vile disgusting low life's, the repubes are brain dead.

    June 9, 2014 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  20. Rick McDaniel

    The entire Democratic Party is corrupt and subversive to America.

    June 9, 2014 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  21. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Vlad Puteen says:
    June 9, 2014 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm
    Yes, replace Mr. Mommy Pants with Miss Pants Suit…. sounds like good plan for me! Just when I thought America might wake up and see the folly of Mr. Mommy Pants. You make my day. Back to the map to pick my next new region.

    Sounds like someone is jealous that they don't have 1/4 of what Mr Mommy Pants has in his..... Don't get mad because skinny jeans fit you and your ilk but there is no way on this earth the POTUS could ever get into a pair of those!!!

    June 9, 2014 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    Tampa Tim

    Hillary testified before congress. RWNJs and Fox took a part of one sentence out of the entire testimony, and believe that will propel the GOBaggers to the White House? Besides being vile disgusting low life's, the repubes are brain dead.
    ----------------------------
    What's really amazing is that many of the same people who mischaracterize "What difference does it make?", are also the some of the same people who demand that she needs to be called before Congress as if she's never done it before.

    June 9, 2014 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  23. old age voter

    by the numbers 1 , 2 , 3 she's OUT and really never had a chance, just like 2008.

    June 9, 2014 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  24. Rudy NYC

    Hillary Clinton: Butcher of Benghazi

    Hillary Clinton by the numbers
    -

    FOUR dead Americans and many injured due to her incompetence and negligence. Let's start with those numbers.

    $5,000,000,000 unaccounted for at the State Dept. under her watch.
    -----------------------------------–
    Never heard of anything about unaccounted for money at the Department of State. When did this happen?

    What about the 'Thief of Baghdad', Dick Cheney? 4000 dead. They had given Haliburton "pallets of cash" with billions to transport across Iraq, and they lost it all. They wound up sending out more "pallets of cash" with billions. What was the cash to be used for? Bribes.

    June 9, 2014 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    "by the numbers 1 , 2 , 3 she's OUT and really never had a chance, just like 2008."

    What numbers? All the polls showing her ahead of everyone in both parties? Go back to your abacus and get it right this time...

    June 9, 2014 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |