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Meet the Hillary Meter

Friday, July 17, 2015

Just over 10 years ago when Hillary Clinton first took aim at the presidency, Rasmussen Reports introduced the Hillary Meter to regularly update public perceptions of the former first lady on her long march to the White House.

Although she was the clear front-runner for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination when the Hillary Meter was inaugurated, Clinton ran into a little problem named Barack Obama. But now having served as secretary of State in the Obama administration, she’s running again for the presidency, and the Hillary Meter is back. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Why a Hillary Meter and not one for, say, Jeb Bush or Donald Trump? Because for one thing, Clinton is far and away the leader in the race for next year’s Democratic nomination while the winner of the Republican race is anyone’s guess.  Secondly, the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of State is an internationally known and highly polarizing figure – greatly admired by many on the left, extremely disliked on the right – who may end up being the nation’s first woman president.

The Hillary Meter is very simple, based on only two questions that we will ask each month of 1,000 Likely U.S. Voters in our standard national telephone survey:

  1. How likely is it that Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee for president in 2016?
  2. In political terms, is Hillary Clinton conservative, moderate or liberal?

For as long as Clinton is a viable candidate for the White House, we will continue to monitor public perceptions of her chances for the Democratic nomination and of her political ideology.

Right now, 78% of Likely U.S. Voters believe that Clinton is likely to be the next Democratic presidential candidate, with 43% who say it is Very Likely. Just 19% consider that outcome unlikely, with 10% who feel it is Not At All Likely.

Among likely Democratic voters, 87% think Clinton will be their party’s nominee, with over half (53%) who say it is Very Likely. This is down slightly from 93% and 60% respectively earlier this month

By comparison, Jeb Bush runs strongest among likely Republican voters, with 56% who say he is likely to be the 2016 GOP nominee. But this includes only 16% who say it is Very Likely.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on July 14 and 15, 2015 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Fifty-six percent (56%) of all voters now view Clinton as politically liberal. Only eight percent (8%) say she is conservative, while 26% consider her a moderate. Ten percent (10%) are not sure.

In the first Hillary Meter – in April 2005 – 43% said Clinton was liberal, eight percent (8%) conservative and 34% moderate.

Eighty percent (80%) of Republicans and 59% of voters not affiliated with either major political party believe Clinton is a liberal, but just 33% of Democrats agree. A plurality (45%) of voters in her party view Clinton as a moderate.

Belief that President Obama is liberal has generally run from the mid-60s to low 70s in surveys for his entire presidency.

Few voters say they are fiscal liberals, but they’re closely divided ideologically on social issues such as abortion, public prayer and church-state topics.

Here’s a look at how all the announced presidential candidates stack up so far.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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