By Jon Cohen
The Washington Post
Public impressions of Hillary Clinton are at an all-time high, with a large majority of Americans giving her positive reviews as the country’s secretary of state and most wanting her to be a presidential candidate in 2016, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Overall, 57 percent of all Americans say they would back a Clinton candidacy, with support peaking among younger women.
Among all women, 66 percent say they would support Clinton as a candidate for president in 2016; it is 75 percent among those under 50 and 54 percent among those aged 50 and up. Forty-nine percent of men back a Clinton bid, regardless of what side of 50 they are on.
Clinton gets far higher support among independent women than men (68 vs. 52 percent), and among GOP women than men (35 vs. 13 percent). But support for a Clinton candidacy is high among both Democratic men and women (80 and 84 percent, respectively).
Republicans are far less supportive of a presidential bid from the former first lady: in the poll, 23 percent of Republicans would support a run in 2016; 73 percent would oppose it. Some 82 percent of Democrats would back her candidacy, with most saying they would do so “strongly.” A majority of independents, 59 percent, also support another Clinton run.
Some of this support stems from her high overall popularity: 66 percent of all Americans express favorable views of the soon-to-be-former Secretary of State — the most doing so in more than 20 years of polling. Fully 68 percent approve of the way she is handling her current job, as top diplomat.
On both scores — personal popularity and job performance — Democrats are overwhelmingly supportive of the long-time party leader, as are around two-thirds of independents. Even sizable numbers of Republicans are on board here, particularly when it comes to rating how she is doing as secretary of state: 40 percent approve and 50 percent disapprove. (At last measure, barely 12 percent of GOP voters approved of the way President Obama is doing his job.)
At 66 percent favorable, Clinton is as high as she has ever been in terms of public perceptions. She was about as well regarded earlier this year, with the numbers topping her most popular periods of the late 1990s. The new data represent a clear turnaround from April 2008, when her just 44 percent of Americans expressed favorable opinions, a low-point from that campaign.