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Ms. Popular: Clinton's Poll Numbers Hit Peak Ms. Popular: Clinton's Poll Numbers Hit Peak

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White House / White House

Ms. Popular: Clinton's Poll Numbers Hit Peak

The secretary of State leads other administration officials in popularity.

photo of Rebecca Kaplan
March 31, 2011

Move over, President Obama. You may have won the hearts of the electorate in 2008, but your former primary opponent is stealing them back.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s approval rating has reached 66 percent, her highest during Obama's term and second-highest of all time, according to Gallup. She handily beats other top members of the administration, including Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who clock in at 54 percent, 46 percent, and 52 percent, respectively.

Clinton’s highest rating ever, 67 percent, came just after her husband was impeached amidst the Monica Lewinsky scandal. After her entry into politics as a New York senator, Clinton’s approval rating dropped into the 40s. Throughout her term and the 2008 election, her approval hovered between the mid-40s and mid-50s, and then began a steady rise.

 

In January 2009, just prior to Obama’s inauguration, she reached 65 percent approval. Since then, her rating has remained in the 60s, peaking at 66 percent in the latest poll.

She is also a much less polarizing figure in the administration than she has been in the past, drawing 40 percent approval among Republicans, 62 percent among independents, and 92 percent from Democrats.

As Gallup notes, the position she occupies is a likely factor in her popularity. Recent secretaries of State have also enjoyed high approval ratings. But she still may not be able to parlay her popularity into the presidency if she decides to seek office in 2016. “While Clinton's broad appeal would seem an auspicious foundation for seeking the White House, the presidential track record of secretaries of state is not -- the last time a former secretary of state won the presidency was James Buchanan in 1856,” writes Gallup's Lydia Saad. 

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