Darren Richardson

Feb. 8, 2013

Hillary Clinton is alone at the top, at least for now.

She may have lost the 2008 Democratic nomination to then-Sen. Barack Obama, but a new Quinnipiac University National Poll finds her to be the most popular politician in the United States, with a 61 percent favorability rating a full 10 points higher than the president’s 51 percent.

Only 34 percent of the respondents viewed Clinton unfavorably, a 27-point difference, while 46 percent viewed Obama unfavorably, a difference of just 5 points.

When asked if they approved or disapproved of the job Obama was doing as president, 46 percent approved and 45 percent disapproved.

Quinnipiac University Polling Institute’s assistant director Peter A. Brown offered some commentary on the poll’s findings. “After an initial burst of re-election enthusiasm for President Barack Obama,” Brown said, “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."

Vice President Joe Biden (46-41) and new Secretary of State John Kerry (43-33) were the only other national figures with favorability ratings higher than 40 percent.

The poll was released Friday and was conducted Jan. 30-Feb. 4 among 1,772 registered voters, with 33 percent of the sample identifying as Democrats, 24 percent as Republicans, 34 percent as independents and 9 percent as “other.”

Apart from the 27-15 split for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, with 57 percent not knowing enough about him to form an opinion, the poll did not offer much in the way of good news for Republicans.

House Speaker John Boehner was viewed favorably by just 20 percent of the respondents, while 42 percent viewed him negatively.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush had a 25-29 split, with 45 percent not knowing enough about him to form an opinion.

Rep. Paul Ryan, the 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee, had a 34-36 favorability split.

Former Sen. Chuck Hagel, who served two terms in Nebraska as a Republican, had a 14-18 split with 67 percent saying they did not know enough about him to form an opinion. When voters were asked if they approved or disapproved of Obama nominating Hagel to be the next Defense Secretary, 21 percent approved, 20 percent disapproved and 57 percent did not have an opinion on the nomination.

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