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New polls fuel speculation about Hillary Clinton in 2016

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is more popular than she's ever been – and might well clear the Democratic field, were she to officially enter the 2016 presidential race.

By Correspondent / December 5, 2012

Actress Meryl Streep uses her iPhone to get a photo of her and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton following the State Department Dinner for the Kennedy Center Honors gala Saturday, at the State Department in Washington.

Kevin Wolf/AP


Hillary Rodham Clinton hasn’t decided whether to run for president in 2016. Even if she does, she may not make it official for some time. But Mrs. Clinton is already becoming something of a campaign juggernaut.

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Liz Marlantes covers politics for the Monitor and is a regular contributor to the Monitor's political blog, DC Decoder.

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Two new polls out this week highlight just how formidable a candidate Clinton might be. According to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, 57 percent of all Americans would support Hillary Clinton for president – including 66 percent of all women. She even wins support among 23 percent of Republicans.

Likewise, a Siena College poll of New Yorkers released Wednesday found a 75 percent approval rating for Clinton – her highest ever in that poll – with 54 percent saying they wanted her to run for president. (Thirty-nine percent said they want the state’s governor, Andrew Cuomo – another rumored 2016 hopeful – to take the plunge).

Obviously, it’s very, very early, and presidential polls this far out are admittedly pretty meaningless, largely reflecting name recognition. And there’s no question that much of the warmth surrounding Clinton these days stems from her nonpartisan role as secretary of State, for which she wins plaudits from Democrats and Republicans alike (The ABC/Post poll found 40 percent of Republicans approved of the job she’s done at State). Were she to become an actual candidate again, that bipartisan goodwill could quickly fade.

Still, the combination of Clinton’s strong personal appeal and starpower, along with her still-active network of fundraisers and supporters, could easily clear the Democratic field.

As Washington remains mired in the slow-moving, eat-your-broccoli "fiscal cliff" negotiations, it's clear that speculation about Clinton’s future has become the capital’s most entertaining subplot.

She got a brief round of attention over the weekend for an instantly viral photo of her and actress Meryl Streep taking pictures of themselves together on Streep’s iPhone at the Kennedy Center Honors gala (ABC News called it the “picture of the night”). It was yet another item from the Hillary-Clinton-is-a-real-person file – for which the media seem to have an insatiable appetite – highlighting Clinton's fun side.


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