Hillary Clinton’s Popularity Tops Obama’s, Poll Shows

Hillary Clinton left the U.S. State Department more popular than President Barack Obama, who defeated her in 2008 for their party’s nomination and later chose her as chief diplomat, according to a poll released today.

The Quinnipiac University survey gave Clinton, a former first lady and U.S. senator from New York, a 61 percent favorability rating among registered voters, with 34 percent viewing her unfavorably. That compared to 51 percent favorable and 46 percent unfavorable for Obama.

The poll also showed that Clinton, a potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, was viewed more favorably than others who may seek the White House, including Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, and U.S. Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the 2012 Republican vice-presidential nominee.

Clinton, 65, is “easily the most popular actor on the American political stage today,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac polling institute in Hamden, Connecticut. She attracted more support than Obama from independents and Republicans, Brown said.

The Quinnipiac poll showed Obama’s job-approval rating dropped to 46 percent, with 45 percent disapproving. The figures were 53 percent to 40 percent, respectively, in December, a month after Obama, 51, became the first presidential nominee since Dwight Eisenhower to receive at least 51 percent of the vote in each of his two White House campaigns.

“Once the election afterglow is gone, governing inevitably requires decisions that make some voters unhappy,” Brown said.

Congressional Republicans

Even as Obama’s job approval fell, so did the ratings of congressional Republicans, who matched their lowest approval in a Quinnipiac survey, at 19 percent, since winning control of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010. Their disapproval score rose to 72 percent. Even a majority of Republicans, 51 percent to 41 percent, held a disapproving view.

More than twice as many voters held an unfavorable opinion of House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, as favored him -- 42 percent to 20 percent.

Congressional Democrats fared little better, with a 59 percent disapproval rating to 33 percent who approved. In November 2011, 69 percent disapproved of the Democrats’ job in Congress and 24 percent approved.

Biden, also mentioned as a potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, was viewed favorably by 46 percent of U.S. voters and unfavorably by 41 percent.

Rubio Assessments

Among possible Republican White House hopefuls mentioned in the poll, Rubio was viewed positively by 27 percent and negatively by 15 percent, with 57 percent saying they didn’t know enough about him to have an opinion.

Ryan was viewed unfavorably by 36 percent and favorably by 34 percent, while former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, whose father and brother previously served as president, received an unfavorable rating of 29 percent to 25 percent favorable.

The telephone survey of 1,772 registered voters from Jan. 30-Feb. 4 has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.3 percentage points.

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