The Clintons. So hot right now.

May 28

Hillary and Bill Clinton are two of the most popular political figures in the country, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, a finding that comes as speculation about the former Secretary of State's political future reaches a fever pitch.


Hillary Clinton is more popular than any potential 2016 rival. (Linda Davidson/Washington Post)

Fifty five percent of respondents say they would support Hillary Clinton as a candidate for president in 2016. More than six in ten approve of Bill Clinton, near the highest ratings he has ever received in Post-ABC polling.

Hillary Clinton's potential support rides well above President Obama's latest job ratings. In an April Post-ABC national poll, Obama marked his lowest approval rating at 41 percent, 14 percentage points below Clinton's potential support in the new poll. Even more notable than that overall gap between Hillary and Obama are the big differences among some key demographic groups.

At 61 percent, women are far more supportive of Hillary Clinton than the 44 percent of women who approved of Obama in April. Crucially, 50 percent of whites and 51 percent of senior citizens say they would support her as a candidate; Obama's job approval stood at just 32 percent among whites and 42 percent among seniors last month.

Clinton is unlikely to garner such wide support if she runs in 2016 given the nation's close partisan division in elections; she has seen her personal popularity diminish after leaving her position as Secretary of State.

Having Bill Clinton at her side is a positive factor as well.  At 63 percent favorable to 32 percent unfavorable, his 2-1 positive ratings are the best they have been since early in his presidency over two decades ago, and mark a clear turnaround since the 2008 election battle.  Amid the Democratic primary pitting Barack Obama against his wife, Bill Clinton's ratings dipped to 47 percent favorable to 51 percent unfavorable, sagging among Democrats and Republicans alike from their heights.

Clinton's political recovery began with a full-throated endorsement of Obama during the 2008 Democratic National Convention. He now enjoys wide popularity among Democrats (87 percent favorable) and independents (60 percent), with substantial positive reviews among Republicans too (37 percent). Since April 2008, Clinton has seen a big rebound in positive ratings among non-whites and independents, with a rise of 19 and 18 percentage points in favorable ratings for each group, respectively.

The Post-ABC poll was conducted May 21 to 25 among a random national sample of 1,017 adults, including users of conventional and cellular phones. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

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Scott Clement · May 28