Clinton's Popularity Declines--But Still Beats her GOP Rivals' (POLL)

Hillary Clinton's personal popularity has dropped to virtually an even split

ByABC News
April 2, 2015, 7:00 AM

— -- Hillary Clintons personal popularity has dropped to virtually an even split in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, marking her potential vulnerability as a presidential candidate. Yet she still surpasses her possible Republican rivals in favorability and vote preference alike.

The number of Americans who express a favorable opinion of Clinton is down from a record 67 percent just over than two years ago to 49 percent now its lowest since her unsuccessful campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008. Nearly as many, 46 percent, see her unfavorably, up 20 percentage points from its low during her term as secretary of state.

See PDF with full results, charts and tables here.

Yet Clinton still is better off than six potential GOP candidates tested in this survey, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates: All of them have higher unfavorable than favorable scores, trouble for any public figure. And two for the first time are seen unfavorably by more than half of Americans.

Jeb Bushs favorable-unfavorable rating is 33-53 percent; Chris Christies, 26-51 percent. Compared with Clinton, more Americans have yet to form an opinion of Bush, Christie, or, especially, the others tested in this poll: Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and Scott Walker. Still, Cruzs favorability rating, like Bushs, is underwater by 20 points, Rubios by 14, Pauls by 13 and Walkers the least-known by 7. Christies worst off, 25 points in the hole.

PRIMARY PREFERENCE Bush, regardless, has advanced to 21 percent support for the nomination in a crowded potential Republican field, up 7 points from December to a significant lead over his closest competitors, Walker, with 13 percent (up 6 points), and Cruz, 12 percent. Thats among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who are registered to vote.

The 11 other possible GOP candidates tested in the poll all are in the single digits: Rubio, Paul and Mike Huckabee, with 8 percent support apiece; Christie, with 7; retired surgeon Ben Carson, with 6; and 1 or 2 percent each for Carly Fiorina, Lindsay Graham, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum. Clinton continues to cruise on the Democratic side, with 66 percent support against five others more than quintuple her nearest potential rivals, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren, with 12 percent apiece. (Warren this week said she wont run.)

Bernie Sanders has 5 percent; Jim Webb, 1 percent; and Martin OMalley less than half a percent. Clinton does even better in the expectations game: 72 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents say they expect her to win her partys nomination. On the far more closely contested GOP side, a third of leaned Republicans expect Bush to win. That, of course, is if they run. Of all these, just Cruz has announced his candidacy. ABCs Political Unit reports that Paul, Rubio and Clinton may do so this month, Bush in late spring or summer.

PRESIDENTIAL PREFERENCE Head-to-head, Clinton leads Bush by 12 points among registered voters, 53-41 percent, essentially unchanged in the past year. She has 54 to 56 percent support against Rubio, Walker and Cruz alike, vs. their 39 to 40 percent.