Americans Like Hillary Clinton a Lot Less Now Than When She Was Secretary of State

Happier times: Hillary Rodham Clinton shakes hands with Guatemalan Foreign Minister Harold Caballero as Secretary of State in 2012 Happier times: Hillary Rodham Clinton shakes hands with Guatemalan Foreign Minister Harold Caballero as Secretary of State in 2012 State Department file photo

Most people like Hillary Clinton.

They've named her as their "most admired woman" 18 times. And her favorability rating, which has dropped 5 points since February, remains positive, according to a new Gallup Poll.

But Americans liked Clinton a lot better when she was secretary of State, before she became a speech-giving civilian who's toying with the idea of running for president.

At 54 percent, Clinton's currently favorability rating is the lowest since August 2008. Back then, the politician was prepping for her speech at the Democratic National Convention endorsing President Obama.

During her entire time as secretary of State, Clinton's ratings were consistently over 60 percent, averaging about 64 percent. Republicans thought little of her after the 2012 Benghazi attack—among this cohort her rating dipped below 41 percent—but remained high overall. Her ratings only began to drop off when she left public office last year.

Americans also liked Clinton slightly less when she served in the Senate between 2001 and 2009, drawing ratings between 40 percent and 50 percent. The tail end of her Senate years coincided with her presidential run, so the later numbers may be a better reflection of how much Americans liked her on the campaign trail.

But none of these are as bad as the ratings Americans gave Gallup when the polling group first began asking them about Hillary Clinton. In 1992, when she was the first lady of Arkansas, 39 percent of people viewed her favorably, 26 percent unfavorably, and 35 percent said they didn't know who she was or had no opinion about her. Her highest rating ever, 67 percent, came just six years later, during the heart of impeachment proceedings against her husband during the Lewinsky scandal.

The American public definitely knows who Hillary Clinton is now—especially this week, as the media and pundits alike follow, dissect, and analyze the first week of her book tour. 

The Gallup Poll shows that as Clinton becomes more political, her sky-high popularity takes a hit. As she continues to build toward a potential 2016 run, more and more Republican campaigns against her will crop up, likely further dragging the numbers down. The question now is, how far will her ratings dip—and whether they will reach her favorability numbers at the time of her 2008 presidential race.

To gauge Clinton's current standing, Gallup surveyed by phone a random sample of 1,027 adults, ages 18 or older, across the country between June 5 and June 8. The margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec