For those who thought Fox News’ stupid poll was driven by ideology, ABC News has an equally silly poll showing that President Bush, who is president, would easily defeat Hillary Clinton, who has announced that she isn’t running for president, handily (58-34) if they were pitted together in a presidential contest held today, of which there isn’t one.

The analysis that accompanies this poll, though, is worth noting because it reveals the hill Mrs. Clinton will have to climb if she is to be a viable national candidate. Wildly popular among Democrat stalwarts (she easily outpolls any of the current wannabes, getting more than three times the “support” of the number two guy, Joe Lieberman), she is even more polarizing a figure than her husband among rank-and-file voters:

While 44 percent of Americans express a favorable opinion of Mrs. Clinton, 48 percent view her unfavorably — an unusually high negative rating, and an unusually strong one. More than twice as many people view her “strongly” negatively as strongly positively. And she’s no more popular among women than among men.

Mrs. Clinton’s popularity largely is limited to Democrats, and is countered, and exceeded in intensity, by her unpopularity among Republicans. Sixty percent of all Republicans, and 71 percent of conservative Republicans, view her strongly unfavorably. By contrast, just 32 percent of all Democrats, and 42 percent of liberal Democrats, view her strongly favorably. (Moreover, conservative Republicans outnumber liberal Democrats by 2-1.)

While it’s easy to increase one’s positives, it’s much harder to erase the negatives. Still, she’s smart enough not to run in 2004 unless Bush’s poll numbers collapse very suddenly, and 2008 is a long time from now. She’ll have no trouble raising money and has a lot of time to rebuild her image. Personally, I can’t see her getting elected, but I said that of her New York Senate run and her husband’s two presidential campaigns; I’m 0-for-3 right now.

Update: As this post was generating, I received a TrackBack from PoliBlogger on my previous “silly polls” entry as he was analyzing this poll. His take is very similar to mine.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Steven says:

    Funny–I came to read this entry because of the Trackback, and thought that you were responding to my post, given the similarities in comments and quotes, until I got to your end comment 🙂

  2. James Joyner says:

    We must have been reading Google News at the same time. 🙂

  3. Paul says:

    Guess this puts the lie to the the notion that FOXNews was doing the first poll for propaganda huh?