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Will Bill Help or Hurt Hillary in 2016?

Friday, April 17, 2015

Voters are less convinced that Bill Clinton will be a plus for his wife’s bid for the White House.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 46% of Likely U.S. Voters think the former president will help Hillary Clinton’s run next year. That’s down from 54% a year ago. Twenty-one percent (21%) now think he will hurt her candidacy, up eight points from last year, while just has many (22%) say he’ll have no impact. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

In August 2009, 45% described Bill Clinton as a plus in terms of his wife’s chances for the presidency, while 17% viewed him as a minus. 

During Hillary Clinton’s first run for the Democratic nomination in 2008, 43% of Americans felt her husband’s behavior during the campaign would hurt his reputation in history.

Among Democrats, 65% think Bill will help Hillary’s candidacy, but just 35% of Republicans and 37% of voters not affiliated with either major party agree. Only 10% of voters in their party believe the former president will be a drag on his wife's campaign, a view shared by 30% of GOP voters and 23% of unaffiliateds.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on April 13-14, 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.

Most voters think Hillary Clinton will be the next president of the United States even though they have very mixed feelings about her.

Women are slightly more likely than men to think Bill Clinton will help his wife’s candidacy.

Black voters feel much more strongly than white and other minority voters that Bill will be a boost to Hillary’s campaign. Author Toni Morrison once described Bill Clinton who served from 1993 to 2001 as the first black president.

Voters who view the former first lady favorably feel more strongly than those who view her unfavorably that her husband will help her bid for the presidency.

When asked which president has been the most influential in the past 60 years, 13% of voters say Bill Clinton. Ronald Reagan leads the list with 32% support, while nine percent (9%) feel that way about President Obama.

Looking back on the sex scandal that led to Bill Clinton’s impeachment, 69% of voters believe 22-year-old White House intern Monica Lewinsky’s relationship with the then-49-year-old president was a consensual one between two adults. Just 22% believe Lewinsky was the victim of an older, more powerful man.

Most voters think the Democratic Party should look for a presidential newcomer in 2016, and over half of Democrats don't disagree. With Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush in the presidential race, 41% of all voters are worried that the United States is developing an unofficial group of royal families with too much influence over government and politics.

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

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