Majorities Again Say They Hold Favorable Impressions of Both Clintons

SOURCE: Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted Aug. 19-22 among a random national sample of 916 registered voters.
By Jon Cohen and Jennifer Agiesta
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, August 26, 2008; 12:00 AM

After dips in public opinion toward the end of the primaries, narrow majorities of all voters now view both Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and former president Bill Clinton favorably, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. But both still receive lower marks than Sen. Barack Obama.

For Sen. Clinton, who speaks tonight at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, the renewal comes as she attempts to persuade her backers to cast ballots for Obama on Election Day.

The senator from New York is now viewed favorably by 52 percent of registered voters, about the same as in June but a turnaround from April, when 55 percent held unfavorable impressions. She remains highly popular among Democrats -- 78 percent have a positive view -- and Republicans have warmed to her a bit now that she is not the main threat to their hopes of a third consecutive term in the White House.

Nearly two-thirds of Republicans still view her unfavorably, but that is down from nearly nine in 10 four months ago. The number of Republicans who have "strongly unfavorable" views has slipped from 70 percent then to 42 percent now, making it the first time less than half of Republicans have had strongly negative views of her since Post-ABC polls started asking about the intensity of opinion in 2003.

For Bill Clinton, an eight-point bump from April puts him at 55 percent favorable among registered voters, exactly where he was just before Super Tuesday. Since April, he has recaptured support among African Americans and independents, two groups that had expressed more unfavorable views of him as the primaries extended into spring.

Both Clintons, though, remain less well regarded than Obama, who becomes the putative head of the Democratic Party on Thursday night. Overall, 62 percent of voters view him favorably, including 83 percent of Democrats and 74 percent of those who wanted Clinton to be the party's nominee. Sixty-one percent of Democrats hold "strongly favorable" views of Obama, significantly more than the 48 percent who express such positive views of Sen. Clinton.

Obama also outpaces Clinton by a wide margin among political independents, 59 percent of whom view him favorably. Forty-one percent of independents view her positively.

Assistant polling analyst Kyle Dropp contributed this report.

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