Hillary rising: Benghazi hearing doesn’t slow Clinton’s roll

February 8, 2013

Two weeks after Hillary Clinton faced fierce criticism over last year's attack on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, a Fox News poll finds her image untarnished with nearly two-thirds of voters approving of her work as secretary of state.

By 64 to 29 percent more registered voters approve than disapprove of Clinton’s performance, a five-point uptick in Fox News ratings from December that are now closer to her standing in Washington Post-ABC News and CNN/ORC polls from late last year.

The polls mark a near complete rehabilitation of Clinton's public image since a heated 2008 Democratic primary, when her unfavorable ratings rose as high as 54 percent in a Washington Post-ABC News poll. By contrast, two-thirds of Americans (67 percent) offered favorable reviews of Clinton in a Post-ABC poll on the eve of Clinton's high-profile Benghazi hearing last month, eclipsing her previous high by a nose. Her interrogators in Congress, by contrast, held a 19 percent approval rating in a separate Post-ABC poll in January.

In the Fox poll, Clinton receives positive marks from independents and even from some Republicans. Six in 10 independents approve of her work as secretary of state (up seven points from December), and near unanimous approval from Democrats. Republicans disapprove by a 53 to 37 percent margin, a negative but far less decisive review than the 84 percent disapproval for President Obama in the same poll.

Despite the overall positive review, the Libya crisis has made a clear impression on Clinton's detractors. More than one in five voters (21 percent) with an unfavorable impression of Clinton cited "Benghazi" as their top reason, more than named any other issue in a Quinnipiac University poll released Friday.

The Fox News poll was conducted Feb. 4-6 via conventional and cellular phones among a random national sample of 1,010 registered voters. The overall results have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

Scott Clement is a pollster with Capital Insight, the independent polling group of Washington Post media.

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