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Friday, September 14, 2012

Poll: Bill Clinton Is More Popular Than Ever


Former President Bill Clinton is more popular now than at any time during the 20 years since his emergence as a presidential candidate, with two-thirds of registered voters viewing him favorably, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

In the wake of his rallying speech to Democrats at the party's convention last week and his new role as a top-surrogate for President Obama's campaign in battleground states, only 25 percent of voters have a negative view of him. His ratings are higher than they were during any year of his two-term presidency that was marred by the impeachment scandal, according to two decades of Times/CBS News polls.

Coming in at a close second for Mr. Obama is h is wife, Michelle. Sixty-one percent of all voters surveyed have a favorable opinion of Mrs. Obama, with just 19 percent holding a negative opinion.

The wife of Mr. Obama's opponent, Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee, isn't nearly as well known as Mrs. Obama. Thirty-two percent of voters like Mr. Romney's spouse, Ann, while 13 percent say they don't have a good opinion of her. More than half are undecided or don't know enough.

Some of the ratings fall along party lines. For example, a majority of Republicans dislike Mr. Clinton, but more than 90 percent of Democrats and nearly two-thirds of independents have a favorable opinion of the last Democratic resident of the White House.

Still, conservatives are divided: 43 percent have a favorable view and 45 percent an unfavorable one. Almost 80 percent of moderates and close to 90 percent of liberals have a positive opinion of Mr. Clinton.

There is no gender gap in Mr. Clinton's popularity; he's pop ular among about two-thirds of men and women. And a majority of both young and old voters have a favorable view of the former president.

For Mrs. Obama, nearly 9 in 10 Democrats, almost 6 in 10 independents and a third of Republicans have a positive opinion. Four in 10 Republicans have an unfavorable view. While liberals and moderates strongly favor Mrs. Obama, conservatives are evenly divided.

Most Republicans, 57 percent, say they like Mrs. Romney, with only 4 percent expressing an unfavorable view. Independents are largely positive also: 34 percent favorable and 9 percent unfavorable. But Democrats are the opposite, tending to be more negative on balance toward Mrs. Romney: 25 percent negative compared to 15 percent positive.

Conservatives and moderates are more positive than negative about Mrs. Romney and liberals are evenly divided in their opinion.

The nationwide telephone poll was conducted Sept. 8 to 12 with 1,170 registered voters an d has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points. Full poll results will be released at 6:30 p.m. on nytimes.com.