Former President Bill Clinton, now leading the family’s effort to distance former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from President Obama in advance of a likely 2016 run, is considered a far better president than Obama, according to a new poll.

Rasmussen Reports reveals that 62 percent see Clinton, whose own health care proposal died in planning, as better than Obama. Just 20 percent of likely voters said Obama is doing a better job than Clinton.

But not everybody agrees. Clinton, once dubbed the “first black president” for his support among African-Americans, has been left on the side of Popularity Road by blacks. In the poll, 69 percent of African-Americans believe Obama is the better president, and 24 percent said Clinton.

The timing of the respect for Clinton is good for his wife as she pivots from an Obama insider to a potential presidential candidate trying to determine what Obama policies she should back and which she should reject. Her husband and his former aides have recently criticized Obama’s health care strategy, giving Hillary Clinton an opening to distance herself from her former boss.

The poll suggested that Bill Clinton is a political benefit for his wife, something that has not always been the case. A plurality — 41 percent — of all voters said he is a plus and only 20 percent consider him a minus as his wife’s presidential plans are concerned.

Other details from the poll:

– 69 percent of Republicans pick Clinton over Obama.

– 49 percent of Democrats pick Clinton over Obama.

– 27 percent said their opinion of Clinton has improved since he left office, 11 percent said it’s worsened and 60 percent said it hasn’t changed.

– 28 percent called Clinton one of the best presidents ever, 11 percent called him one of the worse, and 58 percent said he is stuck somewhere in between.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at