June 29th, 2014
06:22 PM ET
6 years ago

Poll: Majority think Hillary Clinton can relate to average Americans

(CNN) - Despite recent fumbles on the state of her personal wealth, a new national survey shows more than half of respondents believe Hillary Clinton can relate to average Americans as well as other possible White House hopefuls can.

The NBC/Wall Street Journal/Annenberg poll released Sunday indicates 55% surveyed think Clinton can relate to the problems of everyday citizens. But 37% said Clinton, a likely 2016 presidential candidate, isn't as relatable as other potential White House hopefuls.

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The survey was conducted from Thursday through Saturday, after a series of wealth-related comments that critics say prove the longtime Washington political fixture has lost touch with the struggles of ordinary people.


In a recent interview with ABC News at the start of her book tour peddling her new memoir, the former first lady described the financial situation of her and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, as "dead broke" upon leaving the White House. Those comments, while correct - the Clintons did leave the White House with considerable debt - created the sense among some people that the former first family is out of step with the average American.

Asked later to explain the misstep, Clinton stumbled again on the topic of wealth, contrasting what she pays in income tax to that of other "truly" wealthy individuals, in an interview with The Guardian newspaper in Great Britain.

Clinton later said her comments were "unartful" and that her record defending the middle class "speaks for itself." Bill Clinton quickly came to his wife's defense. And President Barack Obama brushed off the commotion over the comments, underscoring the former secretary of state's commitment to public service in an interview that aired Sunday.

Still, Republicans continue to pounce on the comments, highlighting that Clinton and her husband now collect hefty sums for speaking engagements, left office with a sizable government pension as well as the promise of massive book advances. All this comes to the Clintons as income inequality and an ailing economy continue to dog the nation.

First on CNN: National Republicans say Hillary Clinton is next Obama, not husband

The NBC/WSJ/Annenberg poll was conducted from June 26-28 among 592 adults, contacted by telephone. The sampling error is plus or minus 5.1 percentage points.

CNN's Dan Merica and Cassie Spodak contributed to this report.

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Filed under: 2016 • Hillary Clinton
soundoff (318 Responses)
  1. Rosslaw

    Wait a second, I thought the test for a presidential candidate was whether I wanted to have a beer with them. Now they have to relate too!

    June 30, 2014 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  2. doodobrown

    No, she can't really relate to the average American, but no career politician can. Whoever is chosen to run against her is just as rich and clueless to average Americans as she is. What she has going for her is some decent experience of dealing with the pressures that come with the presidency. Anyone who wants a president that they can 'drink a beer with' or something stupid like that, has his/her priorities seriously backwards.

    June 30, 2014 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  3. DaveinIL

    Relate? She doens't need to relate! She's a Clinton!

    June 30, 2014 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  4. Clarence Alexander

    I don't care if a presidential candidate can relate to ME. I want a president that I can respect, one that knows the short and long term ramifications of financial instability and knows how to get the U.S. financially sound and strong, a president who leads by example - one that will cross the aisle and understand the wisdom of finding common ground on subjects needing resolution, a president who doesn't whine to the camera making excuses, a president who doesn't bully half the country's representation because of being incapable of enough humility to get things done. I want a president who doesn't give away my money to people who are not legal in this country or who hate our country from across the world. I want a president that sticks to a promise, grows in wisdom, and makes me proud!
    Hillary Clinton does not have the strength of character to be a leader of ALL the people. She lies when it is expedient; she is ruthless behind the scenes; she is the next big mistake in the WH if she is elected.

    June 30, 2014 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  5. michaelChatt

    Relating to average Americans is not that simple. She has lived a very elite life. I'm still amazed that being the First Lady counts as governing experience. Sure she was a senator but that was a stepping stone to run for President, how much experience did she get? It didn't do much to help Obama. I do still believe she would have been a better option than Obama but I think almost anyone other than Nancy P would have been. Public organizer is all about fighting the powers that be to get things done. The office of president requires cooperation and that's a different job role. Hillary could do that I think. She might be a good president but she certainly doesn't know what it's like to be us, maybe she did once upon a time but I don't think so. We don't need another politician trying to take care of us by spending more and more money. We need someone who knows we don't have endless pockets and don't need or want the government to take care of us. We don't want a Governor who quit when it got hard and we don't need a Secretary of State who quit when her department was utterly shocked that an American Ambasador in a Islamic Nation that just had a revolution might need extra security? OMG,!!!! That's out of touch enough for me.

    June 30, 2014 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  6. Brainy Smurf

    Who on earth was polled? I know many people, includig Democrats who can't stand her. CNN stop trying to make up our minds for ourselves. She is one of the 1%, which many Americans cannot stand. When was the last time she had to live paycheck to paycheck? When was the last time she was completely stressed out due to an unforeseen bill? When was the last time she had creditors calling her? When was the last time she was sickened by what is going on in Washington? None of the time... and these things are what common Americans DO relate to.

    June 30, 2014 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  7. susan

    What does it matter? – do we relate to everyone? name one politician than could....let's hope for someone that can run the country and have good relations with the world, and start fixing problems caused by the last two presidents.

    June 30, 2014 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  8. USA4USA

    What difference does it make??

    June 30, 2014 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  9. cp125

    Why would she have to? I make my own decisions in life not Hillary. But I do believe that her decisions that could affect me will be more in line with my life than George Bush's/Cheney's any day; or for that matter any repub any hour, any day and any time.

    June 30, 2014 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  10. jnpa

    If that question is going to be asked, then the next question should be "Can any presidential candidate relate to the average American?"

    June 30, 2014 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  11. Thatguy371

    Obviously she's qualified, and with the interviews and news footage through the years, any reasonable person would not only assume the same, but also assume she's someone who they could relate to. But of course the repubs have a laundry list a mile long of reasons they hate her, none of which has much substance at all. That's their loss. Have a rigid view of things with no basis, no meaning, desperately cling to that mantra all their lives. That's the repub way.

    June 30, 2014 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  12. noone

    Looks like the propaganda masters have chosen Hillary to be next president of the United States.

    June 30, 2014 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  13. insulting

    Its extremely insulting she would even think of saying this never mind actually being documented as such, this poll was clearly asked in upper class suburbs let's go to where the actual average american lives in the city in row homes and see how they relate. And with this BS report she will get another book deal or political seat

    June 30, 2014 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  14. Bill

    She can relate to me just like LeBron, MJ, Romney, John Kerry and all the other 1%ers, not at all.

    June 30, 2014 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  15. Zeke

    The problem for Hillary is she resents having to walk the walk and talk the talk. She believes she should be appointed President by acclamation and she should not have to run the gauntlet of interviews and questions. This attitude from her comes through during any interview where she gets more than softball questions. This is her Achilles Heel and will be throughout the nomination and election progress. She also has a disturbing habit of changing the narrative on past failures or actions.

    June 30, 2014 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  16. jpgr1964

    Enough of the Bushes and Clintons, and yes, Obama, too. Clinton can relate to the average person? Really? When was the last time Hillary had to wait in any line, whether the airport, walk-in restaurant, or to buy a movie ticket? When was the last time she called a credit card company and had to punch a myriad of numbers to try to speak to a real person? When was the last time she rode a bus or subway? Or was stuck in rush hour commute (Oh, wait, she doesn't drive)? When was the last time she pushed a cart through a super market or price shopped? The Clintons sent Chelsea to Stanford? How many families can afford to send their kids to Stanford? Spin this any way you want, but Hillary is an opportunist to the nth degree. Always was. Always will be. And the media, like with Obama, will be certain to do what they can to get her elected.

    June 30, 2014 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  17. KLC

    She can relate to me. She wiill get 6 votes out of Southwest Virginia from my family. First female President.

    June 30, 2014 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  18. Petoulet

    Hillary will mess things up worse than obama has.

    She will go down in history as worst ever.

    June 30, 2014 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  19. Gery

    Dumb question really, not conservative nor liberal. Most if not all high ranking Politicians do not relate to the average citizen.

    June 30, 2014 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  20. Justin

    The only thind that Hillary can related to is a double whopper with cheese.

    June 30, 2014 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  21. Tom1940

    It is suggested that poll questions can be written/framed to elicit any response the pollster desires to hear. I believe this is one of those instances!

    June 30, 2014 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  22. superglide96

    It must have been horrible for Chelsea to hear her mother say, sorry dear we have no food to put on the table tonight, you're going to have to go to bed hungry.

    June 30, 2014 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  23. RandyIA


    Clinton is the most relatable and best candidate to be the next US president!


    Compared to who?

    June 30, 2014 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  24. I told you so

    This poll was a scam.

    June 30, 2014 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  25. Nick

    Relating to you is one thing – actually helping you vs. pushing the liberal ideology is another. Hillary thinks of only two things – power and revenge. We've seen it before and we'll see it again.

    As to whether I care about her relating to me? I don't. I want someone who will end the waste and fraud in this government, shrink the size of government, stop trying to manage an economy they don't understand, get rid of huge bureaucracies like HHS and the IRS, and stop trying to control every facet of our lives – in sort, leave us alone and restore some semblance of freedom.

    June 30, 2014 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
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