Hillary Clinton Polls: Her Advantage Doesn't Necessarily Give Her An Edge

Boasting a 64% favorable rating from American citizens, former Secretary of State Clinton is better regarded than the president, better regarded than the vice president, and better regarded than her successor John Kerry.

A new Gallup poll survey, released on April 23 and carried out between April 11-14, disclosing public opinion on Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden and John Kerry showcases high favourability ratings for all four of the poll subjects. Hillary Clinton’s favourability rating is particularly notable. She is not only ranked higher than the other three, but boasts 9% additional approval over Obama and 12% lower in the ‘unfavourable’ category, 19% more favourable and 11% less unfavourable in comparison with Joe Biden, and a full 20% higher favourable rating and 4% lower unfavorable rating in comparison with Kerry.

With Clinton and Biden both being viewed as strong possible contenders for the upcoming election in 2016, one could easily assume that polls showing her current elevated favourability ratings are indicative of a clear-cut advantage over Biden in the case that both decide to run.

Such musings are not unreasonable; a poll conducted parallel to the one previously mentioned illustrates that a remarkable 91% of Democrats as well as ‘leaning Democrats’ with less sturdy party identification maintain positive opinions of Clinton, with Biden at a 76% favourability rating in the same category. This survey stands out in her favor, as it highlights the possibility that she reins in support from additional weak and leaning Democrats, implying that she might have more cohesive, unified core of supporters.

Still, it would be a difficult goal for approval and disapproval ratings to actually create a sense of what to legitimately expect for 2016. The remaining three years leave a lot of information to be desired before already only semi-deductive opinion polls can be heeded as anything other than a source of interest and entertainment. Between April 2007, July 2010, and March 2011 alone, we saw Hillary Clinton’s approval rise from 45%, to 61%, to 66%. Now, at 64%, it will continue to fluctuate.

Still, despite extreme changes in Hillary Clinton’s ratings over the past six years, it is worth noting the steady increase in favourability from 2007 to present, save for the 2% difference between last March and now, and her whether she continues to outshine other rumoured contenders will be a discussion backed largely by polling.

It’s not to say that this polls is not a useful tool. Though early polling is not a strong indicator of possible candidate advantages and disadvantages to come, polling companies undoubtedly have a respectable hand in constructing a valuable register of candidate’s changing public images and the parallel timeline which includes possible contributing factors to the changes in approval. This is as much as we can safely attribute to these poll rankings at this time.