President Barack Obama defeated Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary, but today the former Senator and Secretary of State is more popular, with a 61 – 34 percent favorability rating among American voters, compared to the president’s 51 – 46 percent favorability, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released today.
President Obama has a split 46 – 45 percent job approval, according to the independent Quinnipiac (KWUIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll, down from 53 – 40 percent approval among registered voters in December, a month after his re-election. Today’s figure is closer to the president’s negative 45 – 49 percent job approval in July, in the middle of his reelection campaign, and similar to his job score for much of his first term.
Ms. Clinton’s favorability is higher than those measured for other national figures:
46 – 41 percent for Vice President Joseph Biden;
25 – 29 percent for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, with 45 percent who don’t know enough about him to form an opinion;
20 – 42 percent for House Speaker John Boehner;
27 – 15 percent for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, with 57 percent who don’t know enough;
34 – 36 percent for U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan;
43 – 33 percent for new Secretary of State John Kerry;
14 – 18 percent for Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel, with 67 percent who don’t know enough about him.
“Hillary Clinton ends her term as Secretary of State and the bruising inquiry into the Benghazi murders as easily the most popular actor on the American political stage today,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
“After an initial burst of reelection enthusiasm for President Barack Obama, we may be seeing a return to the age of the polarized electorate.”
“The difference in favorability ratings for the two leaders lies in Clinton’s ability to win thumbs up from many more independent voters and Republicans than does the president,” said Brown. “The lower approval numbers for the president could be because once the election afterglow is gone, governing inevitably requires decisions that make some voters unhappy.”
A total of 68 percent of American voters are “somewhat dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied” with the way things are going today, while 31 percent are “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied.”
In an open-ended question, where respondents can provide any answer, a total of 45 percent of voters with a favorable opinion of Clinton said the main reason is her job performance, experience and competence. Among those with an unfavorable opinion, 21 percent cite the Benghazi controversy, followed by 13 percent who cite her political philosophy, 11 percent who say she is not honest or trustworthy and 7 percent who list poor job performance.
A total of 30 percent of voters with a favorable opinion of Biden cite the main reason as job performance, experience and competence, with 7 percent who say he is straightforward or direct and 5 percent each who say he is a good negotiator and, that he cares about people and that he is honest and trustworthy. A total of 24 percent who don’t like Biden cite job performance, experience and competence, with 7 percent each faulting his political philosophy and policies in general.
American voters approve 49 – 20 percent of the president’s choice of John Kerry to replace Clinton as Secretary of State. But voters are divided 21 – 20 percent, with 58 percent undecided, on the nomination of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense.
Thirty-four percent of registered voters said they view Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., favorably; 36 percent view him unfavorably.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., meanwhile, has higher favorable ratings (27 percent) than unfavorable (15 percent), but 57 percent of registered voters said they didn’t know enough about him to judge. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush was viewed more unfavorably (29 percent) than favorably (25 percent) and 45 percent of registered voters said they didn’t know enough to say.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, had the highest unfavorability rating in the batch, at 42 percent. Twenty percent of registered voters viewed him favorably.
From January 30 – February 4, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,772 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.3 percentage points. Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones.
The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio, Virginia and the nation as a public service and for research.
For more data or RSS feed- http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling.xml, call (203) 582-5201, or follow us on Twitter.