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.)
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.
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.