Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
June 17th, 2014
11:21 AM ET
6 months ago

10 things our poll tells us about Hillary Clinton

Editor's note: What do you want to hear from Hillary Clinton? CNN Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour moderates a CNN town hall meeting with Clinton and takes questions from the audience and CNN's event Tumblr at 5 p.m. ET Tuesday.

Washington (CNN) - Do you have a positive impression of Hillary Clinton?

Do you think the former secretary of state will win the White House if she runs for president? And how excited would you be if she does run, and wins?

CNN Town Hall: Hillary Clinton's "Hard Choices"

A CNN/ORC International poll gives us some answers to those questions, and whether a President Hillary Clinton would do a good job in the White House.

Here are 10 things our survey tells us about the most polled person in politics today:

1. We liked her as secretary of state, but as a candidate..?: Clinton's favorable ratings have steadily dropped since she left the State Department, from 67% in March 2013 to 59% last fall to 57% in March and now 55%.

The drop was expected as Clinton transitioned from America's top diplomat to potential Democratic presidential candidate.

"Secretary of state is often seen as a non-political, non-partisan kind of job, and that showed in Clinton's favorable ratings while she ran the State Department," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. "In 2011, her favorable rating was as high as 47% among Republicans. Now that she seems to be running for office again, her favorables among Republicans have plummeted to 18%."

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2. She gets trumped by her own family: Two-thirds of those questioned in our poll said they have a favorable impression of former President Bill Clinton. And he’s not the only Clinton who has a higher favorable rating than his wife. Daughter Chelsea Clinton's favorable rating stands at 59%, four points higher than her mother.

Of course neither Bill or Chelsea Clinton are running for office, and Hillary Clinton is seen by the public as a very likely presidential candidate. That means she's now seen through a partisan lens, something that inevitably drags down a public figure's popularity.

3. She would do a good job as president: Our poll indicates that if Clinton is elected, most Americans say they think she will do a good job handling crucial domestic and international issues.

What Clinton says, Clinton memes

Clinton served as America's top diplomat during Obama's first four years in office, so it may not be surprising that some of her best marks in the poll come on issues beyond the U.S.: 63% say she would do a good job on foreign policy and 61% say the same on terrorism.

But it is notable that 63% say she'd do a good job handling the economy, and 57% believe she'd handle health care well.

4. Clinton tops Obama on every issue: According to our survey, the former secretary of state scores much higher than President Barack Obama on every issue the were asked about.

Just 38% questioned in the CNN poll say that they approve of how the President is handling the economy. That's 25 percentage points lower than the number who think Clinton would do a good job on the economy. Only 40% approve of Obama's foreign policy, 23 points lower than Clinton.

CNN/ORC Poll: Clinton tops Obama on every issue

The same is true on other issues that have made headlines recently, including gun policy, the environment, and immigration.

"A majority think Clinton would do a good job on all nine issues tested in the poll. Obama's current job approval rating never breaks 50% on any of those same nine issues. These numbers are helpful to her chances of actually getting elected if they hold up through 2016," Holland added. "It suggests that the President's low marks on most issues might not drag Clinton down if she runs for the White House again."

5. Benghazi still hurts: Much of the Republican political firepower directed at Clinton over the past year and a half has focused 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. Clinton oversaw the State Department at the time and ultimately took responsibility for the safety of diplomatic personnel.

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.

CNN/ORC Poll: Majority dissatisfied with handling of Benghazi

Fifty-five percent of those questioned in the CNN/ORC poll said they have a negative view of Clinton's role in the incident, with 43% saying they are satisfied about she handled the attack.

While those numbers are nothing to brag about, Clinton fares slightly better than the administration. Only 37% said they are satisfied with the administration's response to the attack, with six in 10 saying they are dissatisfied.

6. She’s still the overwhelming frontrunner: Our poll indicates what just about every other national and state poll conducted over the past year and a half has indicated: Most Democrats say they would support Hillary Clinton if she runs for their party's nomination.

According to the CNN survey, 63% of Democrats and independents who lean toward the party said they'd most likely support Clinton as the nominee. That's virtually unchanged from CNN's May poll, but down from the seven in 10 Democrats who in February said that they would back the former secretary of state, senator and first lady.

7. Biggest intra-party threat comes from moderates: Conventional wisdom dictates that the biggest threat to a Clinton nomination from within the party would come from the progressive wing, and that any serious rival to Clinton would come from the left rather than the center.

But the CNN poll suggests that conventional wisdom may not be right. Twenty-percent of Democrats and independents who lean towards the party said they'd support a more conservative Democrat for the nomination, with 11% saying they'd back a more liberal candidate. Looking at the numbers another way: Nearly three-quarters of liberals picked Clinton over her hypothetical opponents. Among moderate Democrats, that figure dropped to 58%.

How enthusiastic are Democrats about Clinton as nominee?

Another indicator: Fifty percent of liberal Democrats said they would be enthusiastic about Clinton winning the nomination, but only 36% of moderate Democrats feel the same way.

8. Clinton wins 2016 showdown: Clinton has, and remains, the frontrunner in hypothetical 2016 general election matchups against possible Republican contenders.

Previous CNN polling and recent surveys from ABC News/Washington Post and Bloomberg indicate Clinton maintains large single digit to small double-digit leads over potential GOP candidates.

One caveat, of course: Take all this with a grain of salt - polls conducted more than two years before an election are dominated by name recognition. And that's something Hillary Clinton does not lack.

9. Is a Clinton 2016 victory a sure thing?: Just how inevitable is a Clinton victory in 2016?

More than three-quarters of all Americans say it's very or somewhat likely Clinton will win the Democratic nomination if she runs for the White House, and two-thirds say she is likely to be the next president if she is the party's standard-bearer in 2016, according to a our poll.

CNN/ORC Poll: Clinton 2016 victory a sure thing?

If she captures her party's nomination, just over three in 10 Americans say it's very likely she'll win the White House in 2016, with 36% saying it's somewhat likely, and 31% saying it's not likely. Eighty-two percent of Democrats, two-thirds of independents, and even 51% of Republicans say that if Clinton becomes her party's nominee, she'll win the presidency.

Sounds familiar, huh?

"We've gone down this path before. In 2008, 74% said that she would win the White House if she captured the Democratic nomination, but the then-senator from New York never made it that far," Holland said.

10. Where's the excitement?: Our poll suggests that Democrats may not be so enthusiastic about a Clinton 2016 victory. Forty-one percent of Democrats questioned said they would be enthusiastic if Clinton wins the nomination, with 42% saying they would be satisfied. One in 10 said they'd be dissatisfied and 5% said they would be upset. To look at it another way, only four out of 10 Democrats say they'd be excited to have Clinton as their party's presidential nominee.

One note though. The 41% who said they would be enthusiastic about Clinton as the nominee is slightly higher than it was in most CNN polling during her run for the 2008 nomination.

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International from May 29 to June 1, with 1,003 adults nationwide, including 481 Democrats and independents who lean towards the party, and 452 Republicans and independents who lean toward the GOP, questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. Silence DoGood

    @Rudy NYC
    You Got It

    In 2008, 74% said that she would win the White House if she captured the Democratic nomination. She did not win the Presidency – and today only 60% say she would win.
    --------––
    Uh, you didn't get it. She didn't win because she didn't capture the Democratic nomination, which you expressed as a condition for her winning the White House.

    Don't you folks even listen to what you say? I see the hypocrisies and contradictions as signs that you're just saying anything that pops into your head at the moment. You're reciting stuff without knowing what it actually means.
    -----------
    I noticed that too. But let's take more science and critical thinking out of the public schools, right religious conservatives?

    June 17, 2014 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  2. Thomas

    What is it about Paul Bremer and Ahmed Chalabi, , they both love French cooking , Art , Money .

    And they both enjoy life !

    June 17, 2014 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  3. Donna

    Dutch/Bad Newz, VA – Take Back the House
    Ahmed Abu Khattala(Benghazi Attacker) has been captured by U.S. Special Forces in Libya.
    -–

    What Benghazi attack? Obama and Hillary Clinton said it was caused by an internet video and a demonstration that got out of control. You mean there really WAS a terrorist attack on 9/11/12 in Benghazi that killed our Ambassador?!! I'm so glad the news has gotten out 2 years later which leads me to ask, "What difference does it make now?!" Too many lies comin
    g home to roost in the White House I guess.

    June 17, 2014 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  4. salty dog

    It was just some potholes, but I'll take it

    June 17, 2014 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  5. Lynda/Minnesota

    The suspected ringleader in the September 2012 raid on a US diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya that left four Americans dead has been captured, the Pentagon has said.

    Ahmed Abu Khatallah was taken into custody in a secret US military raid in Libya on 15 June.

    At this point, what difference does it make?

    / sarcasm

    June 17, 2014 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  6. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    You and me both Salty!!!

    June 17, 2014 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  7. Sammmy

    I'd vote for Bill if he would run again but Hillary would be just more Obama.

    June 17, 2014 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  8. Silence DoGood

    @Donna
    Dutch/Bad Newz, VA – Take Back the House
    Ahmed Abu Khattala(Benghazi Attacker) has been captured by U.S. Special Forces in Libya.
    -–

    What Benghazi attack? Obama and Hillary Clinton said it was caused by an internet video and a demonstration that got out of control. You mean there really WAS a terrorist attack on 9/11/12 in Benghazi that killed our Ambassador?!! I'm so glad the news has gotten out 2 years later which leads me to ask, "What difference does it make now?!" Too many lies comin
    g home to roost in the White House I guess.
    ---------–
    You are a little behind in reading the tin foil hat memos. Last one said Clinton and Obama actual caused the attacks. This disproves that, so you will need to move on to something even more outlandish. Something with Space Aliens I think.

    June 17, 2014 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  9. Rick McDaniel

    The lies and deceptions move into high gear.

    June 17, 2014 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  10. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA - Take Back the House

    Donna
    Dutch/Bad Newz, VA – Take Back the House
    Ahmed Abu Khattala(Benghazi Attacker) has been captured by U.S. Special Forces in Libya.
    -–

    What Benghazi attack? Obama and Hillary Clinton said it was caused by an internet video and a demonstration that got out of control. You mean there really WAS a terrorist attack on 9/11/12 in Benghazi that killed our Ambassador?!!
    ----------------------------------
    It was acknowledged by the President it was a terrorists attack in the Rose Garden. You just choose to ignore that FACT!!!!

    June 17, 2014 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  11. blome Sarah blome

    Hey ! Silence DoGood? What a tool you are, brush up on your reading comprehension before opening your kochsucker next time .

    June 17, 2014 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    Donna wrote:

    What Benghazi attack? Obama and Hillary Clinton said it was caused by an internet video and a demonstration that got out of control. You mean there really WAS a terrorist attack on 9/11/12 in Benghazi that killed our Ambassador?!! I'm so glad the news has gotten out 2 years later which leads me to ask, "What difference does it make now?!" Too many lies coming home to roost in the White House I guess.
    ------------------------------
    Let me get this straight. So every time a group of militants, rebels, guerillas, or anybody with military weaponry, attacks us somewhere in the world, then it should automatically be called a terrorist attack? If I use your definition, then those U.S. flag waving, anti-government "patriots" at the Bundy ranch are also terrorists.

    June 17, 2014 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  13. Silence DoGood

    @blome Sarah blome
    Hey ! Silence DoGood? What a tool you are, brush up on your reading comprehension before opening your kochsucker next time .
    -------–
    Thank you for that detailed, point by point argument. Your researched position clearly reveals the broad knowledge and critical thinking we've come to expect from the conservative base.

    June 17, 2014 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  14. Yahoodi Mossad

    She voted for the Iraq war....and now she wants everyone to forget. She has no right to be in the White House.

    June 17, 2014 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  15. Ol' Yeller

    @Donna
    "You mean there really WAS a terrorist attack on 9/11/12 in Benghazi that killed our Ambassador?!!"

    Uh.... yeah... Don't you remember the Presidential debate where romney took a crap and fell back in it by trying to lie to the American people(like you do in each and every post you have ever written) and say Obama had tried to deny this... then Candy Crowley had to step in and inform romney he was a tool, then there was like 3 1/2 weeks where they repeatedly showed Obama's speech the day after the attack where he refers to it as a terrorist attack (oh yeah, they probably didn't fo that on faux news). John Stewart had a heyday with it though.... Proceed Governor.
    I love it when the hypocracy is exposed, which is just about daily (if not hourly) with you clowns.

    June 17, 2014 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  16. Michael Purcell

    Hilary will be president until January 2025. The chances of her losing are 0%. How many food stamp recipients will vote Republican? 0. So that is 50 million guaranteed votes and that will not change. American people are different from American voters. Let me say this again. 0%. She could be in a wheel chair like Christopher Reeve with an oxygen tank and IV and she'll win by 10 points. 0%.

    June 17, 2014 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  17. Ol' Yeller

    "If I use your definition, then those U.S. flag waving, anti-government "patriots" at the Bundy ranch are also terrorists."

    They were and are... two of their teabagger members then left the ranch and tried to start their own little 'revolution' by killing two Peace Officers engaged in eating their lunch. They draped their murdered bodies with the teabagger flag(s), the 'Don't Tread on Me' they display at all their rallies, and the lesser displayed, but more appropriate 'Nazi' swastika flag.
    So yes, the bundy ranch teabaggers were/are terrorists just like the perpetrators of the Benghazi attack, just like McVeigh... just like all low life cowards who kill innocent people or wave guns around and point them at Peace Officers trying to enforce the laws (all the while hiding behind the women of the group in hopes they will be shot first by the Officers) of the land and then slinking away like vermin....
    I could go on, but you get the point....

    June 17, 2014 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  18. salty dog

    Ah, the inability to express compassion, isn't it a good thing he's caught? Now you just can't be happy, what a tool, yet you just can't see it, if it were a Republican, you'd be nominating him for an award, even application of guilt and responsibility, priceless, you'll never know. I honestly feel sorry for you

    June 17, 2014 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  19. emskadittle

    So this current congress has the lowest rating ever and the republicans wan't to take one of these guys and make him president?

    June 17, 2014 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  20. Lolo

    Poor Donna, she really does listen to Faux News all the time. All her blogs are nothing but lies, because she hates the black man being president. I guess it was okay to go to war in Iraq on lies and how many of our American soldiers were killed. The GOP/TP Klan is just nuts.

    June 17, 2014 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  21. Mike

    Another day of the longest running campaign ad in history; courtesy of CNN. Good that when responsible people get to know her, she is less likely to win.

    June 17, 2014 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  22. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    This site doesn't even pretend to be newsworthy anymore. Pathetic. We get the guy behind "Benghazi", yet there's barely a story about it. But plenty of stories about what Benghazi was called.

    I'm still wondering when the name will officially change to Fox-lite??

    Thank goodness for BBC.

    June 17, 2014 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  23. Hillary Izexi

    The dropping numbers are just a sign that the more we learn/know about her, the less of an attractive candidate she is ahowing to be.

    She just needs to stick more knives into Obama's back to regain favor (heck, even CNN is already abandoning the SS Obama).

    June 17, 2014 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  24. Bruce Wing

    how pathetic an article – she was a zero as Sec of State, as Senator, and as a candidate. she is vulnerable for her legacy of scandal and do nothing record on Benghazi – and you would consider her for President. Any notion she would make a good President is wishful thinking based on nothing.
    more of the same cronyism? Fine, run Hilary. But ask Bill what happened in Haiti – to the money – they have nothing to show for the donations.

    June 17, 2014 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  25. cmml

    Am I the only one who's sick of seeing three to five articles daily promoting Hillary?

    It should be called the Clinton News Network...All Hillary, All the time...

    June 17, 2014 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
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