- The Washington Times - Friday, February 21, 2014

A majority of Americans view Hillary Clinton favorably a year after she left her post as secretary of state, although her rating is 5 points lower than it was when she served in President Obama’s cabinet, Gallup said.

The pollsters said 59 percent of people view her favorably, and the last time she had a higher unfavorable than favorable rating was in February 2008, when she was vying for the Democratic presidential nomination against Mr. Obama.

Mrs. Clinton is the assumed frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, should she decide to run.

Gallup said she enjoys better ratings than one of her potential rivals, Vice President Joseph R. Biden, who sits at 46 percent-favorable and 42 percent-unfavorable.

“While the 2016 presidential election is more than 2½ years away, it is possible that the battle for the Democratic nomination will begin in earnest after the midterm elections this November,” Gallup said. “Clinton and Biden, two Democratic Party luminaries who have run for president before, are leading contenders, although both have yet to declare their candidacy.”

Gallup first asked people about Mrs. Clinton in March 1992, when she was first lady of Arkansas and her husband Bill Clinton was running for president. Then, 39 percent viewed her favorably, 26 unfavorably and 35 percent did not know who she was or had no opinion of her.

Her favorability rating leveled off during her time as U.S. senator from 2001 to 2009 and fluctuated between 40 percent and 50 percent, Gallup said.

During her time as secretary of state, her ratings stayed above 60 percent before dipping below that point in June — months after she left office.