Bill Clinton emerges as leading U.S. political favorite — poll

September 29, 2010


CLINTON/Nearly a decade after his presidency ended in scandal and disgrace, Bill Clinton has emerged as the most popular figure in the U.S. political firmament, according to a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.   Except he’s not running for office.

Fifty-five percent of the 1,000 adults who responded to the survey reported having positive feelings about the Arkansas Democrat, vs. only 23 percent who harbored negative feelings. (When he left office in early 2001, his ratings were 34 percent positive and 52 percent negative.)RACING/

The poll, which has a 3.1 percentage point margin of error, comes at a time when many voters are angry about the country’s economic straits, including high unemployement and an exploding fiscal deficit. Clinton’s two-term presidency was marked not only by impeachment and the Monica Lewinsky scandal but also by buoyant growth and a balanced budget.

How did other political figures rate?

Only President Barack Obama had a favorable rating clearly ahead of the negative number, at 47 percent to 41 percent.USA/

Former Republican vice presidential nominee and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin rated 30 percent to 48 percent. The most visible of potential GOP presidential candidates also elicited the strongest feelings, both positive and negative. 

Otherwise the results showed former Republican Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee at 26 percent to 25 percent; former Republican Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at 21 percent to 30 percent and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 24 percent to 35 percent.

And in Congress?

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi scored the highest negative rating at 50 percent, vs. a 22 percent positive rating. Her Senate counterpart, Majority Leader Harry Reid, clocked in at 15 percent positive, 32 percent negative.IRAQ-USA/

But Republicans in Congress have nothing to crow about.

In fact, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell enjoyed only a 12 percent favorability rating and a negative rating of 18 percent, while House Minority Leader John Boehner’s numbers were 14 percent to 17 percent.

Photo credits: Reuters/Lucas Jackson (Clinton); Reuters/Larry Downing (Obama); Reuters/Jessica Rinaldi (Palin); Reuters/Jim Young (Boehner and McConnell) and (Pelosi and Reid)


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

You say “…his presidency ended in scandal and disgrace…” And this here illustrates why distrust of the media is at all time record high: 57% per Gallup poll out today. FYI, with scandal and all, Bill Clinton left office with the highest end-of-office approval rating of any U.S. president since World War II at 65%. If you, your editors and the other MSM are the reasons why Americans say they have little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly.

Posted by alinosof | Report as abusive

Bottom Line: Would you let him babysit your teenage daughter? If your answer is yes then maybe your daughter needs to find a parent that cares about her…Assuming you have a teenage daughter. This guy (bubba) was accused of brutaly raping a woman. Now I know it was just an accusation but he (bubba) didn’t stand up to good the last time he was questioned under oath.

Posted by McCallean | Report as abusive