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The Number That Explains Why Hillary Is Distancing Herself From Obama

Hillary Clinton in New York on Sept. 25, 2013
Hillary Clinton in New York on Sept. 25, 2013Photograph by Jin Lee/Bloomberg

The Wall Street Journal reports today what anyone with a pair of eyes and even a vague interest in national politics has already figured out: Hillary Clinton is distancing herself from President Obama ahead of her likely presidential campaign. She’s signaled that she’d do a better job of attracting Republicans. That she’d be more assertive abroad. That she’s better attuned to the economic pains of the middle class. “They don’t think the economy has recovered in a way that has helped them or their families,” Clinton said last week in Aspen, to an audience of plutocrats.

With Obama’s approval rating stuck in the low 40s and Americans souring on his presidency, it’s no shock that Clinton isn’t waving the banner for a third Obama term. Yet the real number driving her conscious uncoupling from the president isn’t his approval rating, but what voters say they want in their next president. A Pew poll in April captured this nicely: