The historic polling heights of Hillary Clinton

at 06:30 AM ET, 04/25/2012

Hillary Clinton is at the height of her popularity — two decades into her life as a national political figure.


U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives to attend a meeting with western and Arab foreign ministers, at the ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris on April 19. (FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images)
In the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll, Clinton’s favorable rating stands at 65 percent, the highest mark that the former first lady and current Secretary of State has ever reached in the long history of that poll. Just 27 percent of respondents viewed Clinton unfavorably in the Post-ABC poll.

That Clinton, who has been out of elected office for more than three years, has these stratospheric numbers isn’t all that surprising. After all, she has spent the last several years serving as the country’s top diplomat, a role entirely removed from the hurly-burly of electoral politics.

By comparison, in August 2008 — just a few months removed from her protracted primary fight against President Obama — 52 percent of registered voters viewed her favorably, while 44 percent saw her in an unfavorable light.

While the fact that Clinton is very popular may not be shocking, it could have real implications for her political future.

We have written before that the idea of Obama swapping out Vice President Joe Biden for Clinton this fall is ridiculous. But the notion of Clinton as a presidential candidate in 2016 is, frankly, much less outlandish.

Clinton has said she plans to retire from public life after the 2012 election. And, we take her at her word. But what polling numbers like this will do is lead her supporters and allies — and there are lots of them still out there — to ramp up the pressure on her to reconsider.

It’s already happening with New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi saying that they would like Clinton to run again in 2016.

Great poll numbers and high-profile supporters don’t matter at all if Clinton has, in her heart of hearts, put away the idea of running for president again. If that door is left open even a crack, however, these are the sorts of developments that could push it open wider.

P-USA and LCV go up with $1 million buy against Romney: With Mitt Romney’s status as the presumptive GOP nominee further cemented by his five wins Tuesday night, Democratic groups are continuing their offensive against him.

In a new $1 million ad buy funded by the top Democratic super PAC, Priorities USA Action, and the League of Conservation Voters, the groups suggests Romney is selling out for Big Oil’s campaign contributions.

“He’s the $200 million man, and Big Oil’s fingerprints are all over him,” the narrator says in the ad, before accusing Romney of protecting Big Oil’s profits in exchange for $200 million in pledged money. (The ad cites a Politico story which reported that the billionaire Koch brothers plan to steer that amount to conservative candidates and causes.)

Priorities recently went up with an ad buy targeting Romney’s wealth, so the newest ad fits into an emerging populist trend.

Meanwhile, Obama’s campaign is up with a new web video hitting Romney on student loans.

Buchanan poll shows he’s safe: Democrats have made Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) one of their top targets this year, and they even reserved ad time in his media market this month.

But a new poll suggests they’ve got their work cut out for them.

The poll, conducted by GOP pollster Public Opinion Strategies for Buchanan’s campaign, shows him leading challenger Keith Fitzgerald 58 percent to 36 percent. Forty-two percent of voters say they are definitely backing Buchanan for reelection.

Buchanan’s district got slightly less friendly thanks to redistricting, but it remains a clear Republican-leaning seat. The poll shows Romney would carry the district 53 percent to 44 percent, a slightly better showing than Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) managed in 2008.

Buchanan’s supposed vulnerability seems to rest almost completely on whether another shoe drops in his ethics investigation. For now, though, he doesn’t seem to have paid much of a price.

Fixbits:

Romney will allow the press into his large fundraisers but exclude it from more intimate events.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) says George W. Bush did a fantastic job” as president.

Did you know Rubio is also a professor? He’s teaching a class right now.

Chris Christie and Cory Booker find more common ground: berating New Jersey sports teams for complaining about their stadium in Newark.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), who has been plagued by unpopularity, says he intends to run for reelection in 2014.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) lands the endorsement of Wisconsin’s largest police union in the recall of Gov. Scott Walker (R).

West Virginia GOP Senate candidate John Raese (R), on the heels of comparing smoking bans to Nazi Germany, defends Ted Nugent .

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) says Democrats have a 50 percent chance of winning back the House this year.

Must-reads:

Self-deportation proponents Kris Kobach, Michael Hethmon facing time of trial” — David A. Fahrenthold, Washington Post

Vocal Conservatives Blame Mitch McConnell” — David M. Drucker, Roll Call

Marco Rubio Is This Election’s Sarah Palin” — John Dickerson, Slate

In John Edwards trial, Andrew Young is one confused witness” — Melinda Henneberger, Washington Post

 
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