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60% Have Favorable Opinion of Hillary Clinton

Friday, February 11, 2011

With the crisis in Egypt dominating the headlines, most voters give good marks to America’s chief diplomat, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 60% of Likely U.S. Voters hold at least a somewhat favorable opinion of Clinton, with 30% who view her Very Favorably. The ex-senator and former first lady is seen unfavorably by 35%. That’s down six points from January of last year and includes 18% with a Very Unfavorable view. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Fifty-six percent (56%) had a favorable view of Clinton just before she assumed the secretaryship in January 2009.

Clinton, who unsuccessfully sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, is by far the best-known of President Obama’s Cabinet members with just four percent (4%) who have no opinion of her. By comparison, 23% of voters don’t know enough about Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to venture any kind of opinion of him.

Forty-four percent (44%) have at least a somewhat favorable regard for Gates, while 34% think of him unfavorably. These findings include 12% with a Very Favorable opinion of the one Obama Cabinet member who’s a holdover from the George W. Bush administration and nine percent (9%) who view him Very Unfavorably.

The number of those with a favorable opinion of Gates are unchanged from late November 2008 when Obama’s plans to keep him in the Cabinet were making headlines.  But at that time just 21% regarded him unfavorably, while 35% had no opinion of the Defense secretary.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on February 6-7, 2011 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.

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