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60% Have Favorable Opinion of Hillary Clinton

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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