Hillary Rodham Clinton at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, last week. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

This is the story of Hillary Clinton's favorability that's usually told: a steep and accelerating drop over time.


New polling data from The Washington Post and ABC News, though, paints a different picture. Since August, Clinton's approval rating is . . . up slightly, to 47 percent from 45 percent. Her net favorability -- the percentage of people who view her positively minus those who view her negatively -- is up six points.

Clinton's net favorability didn't change among Democrats, we'll note, while both Bernie Sanders and non-candidate-and-maybe-never-candidate Joe Biden saw improvements with Democrats. Clinton gained with independents -- and Republicans, where she essentially had nowhere to go but up. Biden saw the biggest gain in net favorability with Republicans, though, gaining 12 points.


Clinton and Biden both saw improvements in their favorability and declines in their unfavorable numbers. For Sanders, the picture was different. Since August, both his favorable and unfavorable numbers increased by about the same amount, nine and eight points, respectively, among registered voters, even as he became much better known.


Part of that difference is almost certainly that Sanders's self-identification as a socialist is deeply polarizing.

We'll note that, for her recent improvement, Clinton is still the least positively viewed Democrat among the three that poll the highest. At least on net. She is also the most popular Democrat among Democrats, with 79 percent favorability to Biden's 72 and Sanders's 47. It's just that she's viewed far worse by Republicans.


In Post-ABC polling, Clinton's favorability has looked a little like the chart at the beginning of this article: big increases in the number of people who view her negatively.


But notice that the time scale on that graph is not to scale. At the end of March, after the revelations about her private e-mail account were made public, Clinton was at 49 percent favorable to 46 unfavorable. After seven months, that's changed to 47 percent favorable, 49 unfavorable.

If the sky is falling, it's falling slowly.