A majority of voters say they are deeply unimpressed with Hillary Clinton's performance as secretary of State, an unflattering finding that comes as the former first lady reportedly mulls a 2016 bid, according to a new Politico survey.
The survey, which was conducted from July 3-13 among some 834 likely U.S. voters, found that a mere 14 percent rate Clinton's performance at State as “excellent.” Only 28 percent of survey respondents rate her performance as “good,” while 21 percent rate it as “fair,” and 32 percent rate it as “poor.”
The survey's results come as Clinton tours the nation to promote her new book, Hard Choices, and her supposed achievements in public office, few of which can be named by people who say they support her.
The survey, which has a margin of error of 4.1 percentage points, was conducted in areas with “the most competitive House and Senate races,” Politico notes.
Further, as noted in the report, Clinton's approval/disapproval rating varied little depending on age or income levels. Her ratings did, however, change dramatically depending on the political leanings of respondents, self-identified Democrats giving her top marks and Republicans flunking her.
Roughly 79 percent of the survey's Democrats say they approve of the way Clinton handled herself at State, while 86 percent of Republican disagree. Unsurprisingly, a slim minority of Democrats say they think she failed as secretary, while only a sliver Republicans say she performed well.
But here's where things could get tricky for Hillary Clinton if she does indeed run in 2016: Self-identified Independents overwhelmingly disapprove of her handling of State, with 60 percent saying they think she struck out and only 33 percent rating her tenure as “good” or “excellent.”
The Politico poll comes just weeks after a separate Benghazi-but-many-of-them-still-like-her/">Washington Post-ABC News survey found that exactly half of its respondents disapprove of the way Clinton handled the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attack on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, that claimed the lives of four Americans.
However, here's one more strange trend to consider: Despite the fact that the public seems to disapprove of Clinton's handling of State and the Benghazi fiasco, voters still say she's a strong 2016 contender. That is, voters may disapprove of Clinton's performance as secretary of State, but they still think she's White House material.
“[T]wo-thirds of Americans say Clinton is a strong leader, a majority say she's honest and trustworthy, and six in 10 say she has new ideas for the country's future,” the Washington Post reported in June, citing its new survey.
“The combination of the data shows that about one in five Americans disapprove of Clinton's actions on Benghazi but still think she's a strong leader anyway,” the report added.
Now, this isn't to say that Clinton's time at State or her bungling of the Benghazi fiasco are total non-issues. Things could change between now and 2016 and these events could color the public's impression of Clinton as a serious candidate, affecting how they feel about her leadership qualities.
But until these issue start to affect public perception of Clinton as a potential 2016 candidate, and they haven't so far, the former secretary of State will likely plod along much like her husband when he was president: Enjoying popular support from U.S. voters and somehow immune to scandal.