How popular is Hillary Clinton?
February 8th, 2013
11:17 AM ET
9 years ago

How popular is Hillary Clinton?

Washington (CNN) - She's a private citizen now, but if Hillary Clinton changes her mind and decides to run for president again in 2016, she currently has something any politician would love: impressive poll numbers.

According to a new national survey from Quinnipiac University, 61% of registered voters say they have a favorable impression of Clinton, who stepped down last week after serving four years as secretary of state. Thirty-four percent of voters questioned in the poll, which was released Friday, say they had an unfavorable opinion of Clinton.

That 61% favorable rating is slightly lower than one in a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, and also slightly lower than her approval rating in a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey.

Both of those polls were conducted last month, prior to Clinton's testimony over the deaths last September of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans in a terrorist attack in Benghazi. Clinton won generally favorable reviews for the testimony in front of both Senate and House committees. At times angry and choked with emotion, the secretary of state once again took responsibility for the deaths of the four Americans, but repeatedly distanced herself from a direct role in specific situations.

In an opened-ended question in the Quinnipiac poll, where respondents were able to provide any answer, a total of 45% with a favorable opinion of Clinton say the main reason is her job performance, experience and competence.

"Among those with an unfavorable opinion, 21% cite the Benghazi controversy," according to a release from Quinnipiac University.

While Clinton's new numbers remain high, there are two caveats. As with the prior polls, the new Quinnipiac survey indicates a partisan divide, with more than nine in ten Democrats and nearly six in ten independents but just 27% of Republicans having a favorable impression of Clinton.

And while her overall numbers are strong, 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 held 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."

Even though the next race for the White House is a long way away, there's already intense speculation over whether Clinton will make a second bid for president. When asked early last week at a global town hall if she was thinking of making another run for the White House, Clinton said "I am not thinking about anything like that right now."

And in an interview with CNN later that day, when asked if she's decided against another candidacy for president, Clinton responded that "I have absolutely no plans to run."

But she added that "I am lucky because I've been very healthy. I feel great. I've got enormous amounts of energy that have to be harnessed and focused, so I'm very fortunate. I'm looking forward to this next chapter in my life, whatever it is."

If she does decide to run, thanks to her very positive favorable rating and her extremely strong name recognition, along with her years as first lady, senator, and 2008 presidential candidate, Clinton stacks up very well against some other possible contenders for the White House in 2016.

Vice President Joe Biden, a two time presidential candidate who may also make a bid for the Democratic nomination in the 2016 campaign, has a 46%-41% favorable-unfavorable rating in the new poll.

On the Republican side, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who next week will deliver the GOP response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, has a 27%-15% favorable-unfavorable, with 57% not knowing enough about him to form an opinion. House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, who was last year's Republican vice presidential nominee, is at 34%-36% favorable-unfavorable in the Quinnipiac survey, with 29% unsure. And former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who along with Rubio and Ryan may be thinking about running in 2016, stands at 25%-29% favorable-unfavorable, with 45% unsure.

The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted January 30-February 4, with 1,772 registered voters nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 2.3 percentage points.


Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Polls
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    I wish Hillary Clinton peace and long life, live long and prosper, and may the Force be with her, but her window of best opportunity to be POTUS passed her by in 2008. Democrats and liberals should not put all of their eggs in one basket. They really should be grooming alternative candidates like the Republicans are doing.

    February 8, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  2. Gurgyl

    She is popular and dynamic lady. No doubt.

    February 8, 2013 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  3. Davis

    This is just insane! End the Bush-Clinton crime families!

    February 8, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  4. SuperD

    There's a reason she didn't win the Dem primary in 2008. She's not near as popular as you make her out to be.

    February 8, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  5. Larry L

    Hillary Clinton is a dedicated patriot. She is also a popular subject for conspiracy wackos and right-wing hate groups. Still, we've shifted away from the Fox News crazies and America seems to holding our citizens to a higher standard. She would get a lot of votes – including mine!

    February 8, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  6. Name Lila Ritchie

    I like Hillary Clinton she knows her stuff and I would definetly vote for her in 2016

    February 8, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  7. freedom

    "What difference does it make!?!"

    February 8, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  8. Sniffit

    ""What difference does it make!?!""

    Ha...as pavlovian as it was for you to post that, it was still sort of a "broken clocks are still right twice a day" moment in terms of being an opportune funny response to the headline question.

    Really wish the MSM would just leave 2016 alone for now and stay focused, but it's reallyk all they care about. Citizens United opened up the ad revenue floodgates, so every 4 years it's going to be a game of which side can buy the most favorable coverage via their ad spending....and CNN and the rest of the MSM have their ankles behind their ears just waiting to offer themselves up for it.

    February 8, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  9. clarke

    Depends on who you ask, but I like her

    February 8, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  10. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Really wish the MSM would just leave 2016 alone for now and stay focused"

    As do I, Sniffit. Unfortunately, this "super duper media" hype is going to go on in much the same manner as we saw with the non stop GOPer Clown Car coverage in 2010, 2011, and 2012. Not to mention the endless and absurd Palin coverage we were blasted with. Hillary can stop the nonsense anytime she wants by simply announcing whether she will (or won't) run.

    February 8, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  11. Cathy

    "With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans," Clinton responded, raising her voice at Johnson, who continued to interrupt her. "Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk last night who decided to kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator."
    ***********************************************************************************************************

    " What difference at this point does it make?"...........................What a horrible thing to say and what a horrible person Clinton is for saying it. Disgusting!!! She couldn't care less about these murdered people due to her, and Obama's, lack of leadership. Bet the death of these Americans make a big difference not only to their family, but to the American people. What a horrible administration this country has.

    February 8, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  12. Belseth

    So everyone except Republicans have a favorable reaction to her. How shocking. The biggest problem we face is not climate change. The sharp division between the parties will destroy the country long before the climate has a chance. It's mostly coming from the right and I've seen posters call liberals evil. Really? Evil? Fox News and the other pundits are warping the minds of a third of the country so badly they have no idea what the truth is anymore they just know to tune in so their pundit of choice can tell them what to think. It's far easier than thinking for yourself.

    February 8, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  13. Jack

    Irresponsible hiding the truth about Libya.

    February 8, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  14. Scott

    She is too old

    February 8, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  15. Mason

    She is a good smart lady but was not much of a Secretary of State.

    February 8, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  16. judith

    Hilary will win if she chooses to run. Why? Because she's earned it. The GOP simply has no candidate who can contest her and are not a viable national party because of their extreme policy positions. They are undergoing an intense internal struggle between the few moderate voices and the extremist tea-party faction. With the changing demographics of the country, they cannot win among the coalition of women, minorities and younger voters. The GOP appeals to the Limbaugh listening, angry old white men, and they simply do not have the numbers to win.

    February 8, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  17. Ed

    Other than logging a lot of miles and visiting a lot of countires, I can't come up with one major historical achievement as Secretary of State. No Israel and Palastine settlement, the outreach to Russia was a failure, the Arab Spring turned into disaster, Iran is as dangerous as ever, etc. I guess if you do nothing you can't be blamed for anything so it makes you popular. As to being president, we heard all this before how popular she was but she still lost last time.

    February 8, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  18. Rudy NYC

    Cathy

    "With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans," Clinton responded, raising her voice at Johnson, who continued to interrupt her. "Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk last night who decided to kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator."
    ***********************************************************************************************************

    " What difference at this point does it make?"...........................What a horrible thing to say and what a horrible person Clinton is for saying it. Disgusting!!! She couldn't care less about these murdered people due to her, and Obama's, lack of leadership. Bet the death of these Americans make a big difference not only to their family, but to the American people.
    ------------------
    How can you say she doesn't care? You quote Clinton as saying, "It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator." Sounds like she cared a plenty about the lives. Her "what difference" remark was in response to the Senator's badgering about the chain of custody of a telegram. He was demanding to know al of the names of teh people involved in the chain of custody. I agree. What difference does that really make when four people were killed.

    February 8, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  19. nothing new here

    Is this kind of early, all this speculation?

    February 8, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  20. Sly

    Hillary Clinton will make a fine President.

    There really wont be any qualified candidates running againest her. Maybe the obese one, but there is a 50-50 chance he'll croak before then.

    Other than that, I expect to see Mitt Romney nominated again – there just aren't any non-stupid Republicans.

    Anyhow, landslide, 60-40% coming up.

    February 8, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  21. Romney is Still NOT My Hero

    She's more popular than Christie Creme and Closeted Rubio. I hope she decides to run. - AND Scott she's not too old. She's the same age as the last GOP "wonder boy" Mitt. He might try to run again, who knows. The GOP would do good to groom a viable lady candidate of their own.

    February 8, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  22. CarolinaGirl

    I like her and I like Joe Biden. However, I believe Hillary has a better chance of winning the nomination.

    February 8, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  23. Michael

    She will flame-out in 2016 just like she did in 2008. We don't need any more Clinton's or Bush's.

    February 8, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  24. Janet

    There's something about an intelligent, articulate, assertive woman in a position of power that truly angers and threatens some people – these are the same folk who would have asked Elizabeth I and II to abdicate and would have expected Joan of Arc, Margaret Thatcher and Golda Meir to stay in the kitchen. Anyone who is infuriated by the "what difference" quote has not listened to her entire response and is getting their knickers in a twist from listening to Faux News! Hillary has earned my respect and my vote!

    February 8, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  25. JD

    Only reason she didn't win in 2008 wasn't because of popularity. Everyone knew that if you got her you got Bill the only President ever to balance the budget and put the economy in great shape. President Obama was the better choice at the time. History in the making for both candidates. She will win just like President Obama did in 2016. It will be a landslide victory! She'll also have a democratic congress that will finally get something done instead of what the party of no did for the last 4 years.

    February 8, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
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