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. wowlfie

    Not if she thinks she is broke!

    June 30, 2014 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  2. Jim

    "I want to say one thing to the American people. I want you to listen to me. I'm going to say this again: I do not relate to that woman".

    June 30, 2014 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  3. B yep

    How many polls do we need... These mean nothing ... Quit trying so hard to make her look favorable.

    June 30, 2014 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  4. BD70

    No way can Hillary relate to the middle class right now. I would like to see her start talking about what she would do to help bring jobs back and get the eonomy rolling again. I have heard nothing from her on these issues or any other issues plaguing the middle class. Or how she will deal with the House if its still republican controlled. Or what she will do if the republicans control all of congress.

    June 30, 2014 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  5. HenryMiller

    Hillary Clinton has no interest in relating to "average Americans." As far as she's concerned, we're all barely-competent near-children who are incapable of managing our own lives without the "help" of government.

    June 30, 2014 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  6. Ernest

    Sure she can but cnn is doing everything it can to sway people that she can't

    June 30, 2014 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  7. McRCN

    Why would anyone think Hillary Clinton car relate to Americans? She and Bill are now 1%'ers.

    June 30, 2014 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  8. Joshua

    The fact is that Hillary plays ball with the democrats even if that means lying or making claims that are unsubstantiated. Not that the republicans are any better, but I for one will NOT be voting for her. And BTW...I grew up very poor.

    June 30, 2014 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  9. Ernest

    the cONSERVATIVE nEWS nETWORK... doing what it can to help the gop...

    June 30, 2014 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  10. Keli

    I'm so tired of hearing about Hillary Clinton. She hasn't formally announced she's running and the election is more than two years away. Yet CNN and other media outlets are almost running 24/7 Hillary coverage. What they're covering is mundane too. If she were a candidate and the election were run today I wouldn't vote for her due to the media saturation. She also isn't that impressive as a leader. She's just riding her husbands coat tails. Neither party has an interesting or ground breaking candidate. Be it the mid term elections or the 2016 presidential elections we're just getting more of the same incompetent choices making the same hollow speeches pandering to the interests of the day. This country is in big trouble and no one worthy has stepped up to lead. Obama has done a lot of damage in the past 8 years and we need a true leader to correct it and put us back on track to greatness.

    June 30, 2014 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  11. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    Probably because she doesn't run around wearing $990 teeshirts and telling people it's "our turn" to be President.

    June 30, 2014 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  12. Lynda/Minnesota

    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.

    Guess she's gonna lose then, eh?

    June 30, 2014 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  13. don in albuquerque

    Hows it feel to be a minority?

    June 30, 2014 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  14. Rudy NYC

    They should take a poll asking if Americans can relate to the Tea Party Republicans. Oh, that's right. They have done that already, many times. It's called approval ratings, and the Tea Party is in the low 20s and still dropping.

    When are conservatives going to figure out that in their eagerness to tear down Clinton's character that they are tearing themselves to absolute shreds? What I mean is this, conservatives want you to look at liberals from a certain perspective with a certain critical eye. Conservatives haven't seem to have figured out that when they are viewed in the same way, they look far, far worse than anything that they want you to imagine about liberals.

    June 30, 2014 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  15. Marcel

    So people will go with the least worst person...sad....
    A rich woman, who (1) happened to be still married to a previous president, (2) lost a pre-presidential election because even feminists voted with the american born guit-ridden whitties for the smooth-talking naive and incapable current half-black president, and (3) has nothing on her resume as a Sec. of State....and people relate to her??? Sad, sad state of affairs in this country....

    June 30, 2014 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  16. Toomuch

    Poll: Majority think Hillary Clinton can relate to average Americans are morons...

    June 30, 2014 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  17. marton

    No politician, DEM or REPUB that sits in D.C. (notice I didn't say 'works' in D.C.) can relate to me/mine – at all – for a nanosecond. Every single one of them is a 1%'er defending the interests of the U.S. 1%. They cannot relate, in any way, shape, or form to my daily struggle to make ends meet. I have a ob that allows me to pay all my bills and throw just under $50 in a savings account each month. I can't afford ObamaCare (even with subsidies, it comes to two more car payments each month) and have no medical/dental insurance. If any slight 'emergency' happens (with my car, my health, my kids – anything) my savings get wiped out. No 1%'er – anywhere – especially politicians – can relate to this at all. Any statisticians out there that can tell us the annual average increase in wealth for our D.C. politicians? Those we all stupidly elect can all go pound sand for all I care – LYING SACKS OF FECES!!

    June 30, 2014 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  18. slipperySlope

    Hilary is way too moderate for the Donkey Show. They'll need a much more extreme candidate Fall 2016.
    Get ready for America's first transgender President

    June 30, 2014 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  19. are122

    She can probably better relate to my ex who thought she was 10 times smarter than she was, made up lies, was arrogant, self centered and would throw fits if she perceived someone might have said something bad about her.

    June 30, 2014 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  20. Sniffit

    "Last I knew, the imbecile did not reside in a homeless shelter or anything beneath a mansion."

    Yawn. She grew up pretty middle-class like the rest of us. Her father owned a successful small business and her mother was a homemaker. Unlike Mittens, who won the uterus lottery, she did not start out crazy wealthy.

    June 30, 2014 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  21. Buz

    Hillary relates to the working class about as much as ANY/EVERY US politician does. Left, Right, Middle. PERIOD. Move onto other subjects that really are issues... Stay off of tangents...

    June 30, 2014 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  22. Marie MD

    @furianzo, at the end of your sentence you meant that "still have a majority of same people ON THE left, right?
    You can seriously think that the right wing, whose base are too dumb to realize they are the ones taking the biggest handouts from the government, are sane while continuing to vote against their own benefit.

    June 30, 2014 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  23. Ed Zachary

    She can probably relate to me because we both grew up in the same upscale Chicago suburb, but I doubt very much if she can relate very well to people with average education and income, struggling to pay the mortgage and monthly bills. She's always led a privileged life.

    June 30, 2014 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  24. TxGran

    I think the Clintons can relate with those of us not-so-well-off, as can the Obamas. As far as them being well-off currently, I would imagine probably all former presidents are paid well for speeches. In a book about Gerald Ford, "Write It When I'm Gone," he was criticized for the amount of money he made giving speeches. I say if they can get it, have at it. I suspect some of it goes to charity. Then there are their book sales. But, like other well-off people, it has not always been this way.

    June 30, 2014 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  25. Jim

    Nope, not many politicians can, but at least most aren't stupid enough to say they are broke.

    June 30, 2014 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
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