Hillary Rodham Clinton more popular than Obama: Poll

Rachel Rose Hartman

President Barack Obama begins his second term less popular than Hillary Rodham Clinton, the candidate he defeated in the 2008 primary.

A new poll finds that the former secretary of state, who stepped down from the post Feb. 1, received a higher favorability rating—61 percent (34 percent unfavorable)—than Obama, who garnered 51 percent (46 percent unfavorable) among registered voters surveyed by Quinnipiac University's polling institute Jan. 30 to Feb. 4.

Obama's favorability has fallen from his postelection bounce, according to Quinnipiac.

"The difference in favorability ratings for the two leaders lies in Clinton's ability to win thumbs-up from many more independent voters and Republicans than does the president," Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute said in his analysis. "The lower approval numbers for the president could be because once the election afterglow is gone, governing inevitably requires decisions that make some voters unhappy."

In December, after Obama's re-election, he received a 53 percent job approval rating and a 40 percent disapproval rating among registered voters. Now, his approval rating stands at 46 percent, and his disapproval rating at 45 percent.

In response to an open-ended question for which respondents could provide their own answer, those surveyed said the main reason they approve of Clinton is due to her "job performance, experience and competence."

Clinton's rating makes her the most popular national political figure surveyed by Quinnipiac, earning higher ratings than Vice President Joe Biden and other politicians.

The poll's margin of error was plus or minus 2.3 percentage points.