Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is the most popular political figure in the nation, receiving a favorable rating of 64 percent in a Bloomberg National Poll
released Tuesday. Following close on her heels is the first lady, Michelle Obama, with a 62 percent positive rating.
The two women climbed far above the pack of elected officials, political parties and TV political personalities. Lagging 11 percentage points behind Hillary Clinton, President Obama was in third place with a 53 percent favorable rating in the survey of 1,000 adults conducted Oct. 7-10.
It says quite a lot about politics in the midterms that Jon Stewart, the liberal host of the satirical newscast, "The Daily Show," came in at 39 percent, ahead of Sarah Palin, a prospective presidential candidate in 2012 and a leader of the Tea Party movement, who pulled in 38 percent. Palin's counterpart in Tea Party media politics, Glenn Beck, the Fox television host, followed her with 34 percent. And despite the trashing that political parties are taking this year, they did surprisingly well: Democratic (47 percent favorability rating), Republican (45 percent) and the Tea Party (41 percent).
The high rankings for Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama are a surprise, too. Most first ladies rate highly in popularity polls, but Michelle Obama had been a target of criticism in 2008 for her forceful presence on the campaign trail and comments that inferred she was not proud of her country until her husband became a successful presidential candidate. That seems an eon ago. Now she's the engaging champion of good living and healthy eating, a fashion plate and sought-after speaker, a smart partner to the guy in the White House.
Hillary Clinton is another story. Her race to the top carries enormous irony.
Just two years ago she was seen -- even by women -- as a polarizing and divisive figure, cold and cynically ambitious, manipulative and scheming, sly and pretentious. Many progressives and the liberal mainstream media deserted her for a fresh new face, Barack Obama, and even though she came close to wresting the presidential nomination from him, she ended her candidacy with 18 million cracks in the ceiling and no place to go. No one then could have foreseen her emergence in the past year or so as a highly respected world figure, and few could have imagined her near resurrection as one of the most popular and charismatic political figures of this decade.
Her status is so elevated these days that there's serious speculation in Washington that (A) she will run as Obama's vice presidential candidate in 2012; (B) will replace Robert Gates at the Pentagon; and (C) will run for president in 2016
. Political insiders may differ on which route she will take, but almost all of them agree that she will run for president in 2016.
That notion was laughable two years ago.
Now when she delivers a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations, it is called the best speech of the Obama administration, and when she and Bill Clinton, himself now rated in some polls as the most popular politician in the land, make an appearance together, the Clintonians can only imagine them back in the White House -- but with her in the Oval Office.
Tagged: 2012 presidential election
, 2016 presidential election
, Barack Obama
, Bloomberg National Poll
, Democratic Party
, Glenn Beck
, Hillary Clinton
, Jon Stewart
, Michelle Obama
, Republican Party
, Robert Gates
, Sarah Palin
, Tea Party