Polling News

Hillary Clinton's Dismal Favorability Mirrors Low 2008 Ratings

April 21, 2016

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s victory in Tuesday’s New York Democratic Primary increased her lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders.  Yet while she improved her chances for being her party’s standard-bearer in November, her favorability ratings are not much better than they were right before she dropped out of the Democratic race in 2008.

In the ABC News/Washington Post survey conducted before Mrs. Clinton announced her 2016 candidacy, 49% of adults viewed her favorably and 46% saw her unfavorably.  The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, however, reveals a three-point drop in her favorable rating (46%) and a six-point increase in her unfavorable rating (52%) over the last year.  Since she launched her bid in April 2015, ABC News/Washington Post asked the question, “Do you have a favorable or unfavorable impression of Hillary Clinton” seven times.  In all but one poll, her favorability was underwater.

​Mrs. Clinton began her first White House bid with relatively solid ratings.  Her average favorable rating was 59% between 2007 and early 2008, while her unfavorable numbers averaged 36%.  By April 2008, however, her advantage was gone.  The ABC News/Washington Post survey conducted right before she suspended her campaign found Mrs. Clinton’s ratings 44% favorable/54% unfavorable, similar to today’s 46%/52%.  It is worth noting that Mrs. Clinton’s numbers recovered in the very first poll following her departure from the race and the subsequent polls over the seven years that followed.  If Mrs. Clinton wants to win the White House, she may want to do something about that fact that Americans only have a positive impression of her when she is not running for office.

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