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Unique position of Hillary Clinton: No post-election image gain

Staff Writer | June 22, 2017
Americans are no more likely to view Hillary Clinton favorably than they were before last year's presidential election.
Hillary Clinton
America   Americans are no more likely to view Hillary Clinton favorably
Forty-one percent have a favorable view of the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, within the 41% to 43% range Gallup has recorded since November.

The latest poll, conducted June 7-11, finds that a majority of Americans continue to view Clinton unfavorably (57%), as they have in all Gallup polls on the former first lady and U.S. senator since January 2016.

After retreating from public view following her loss in November, Clinton has re-emerged - tweeting, speaking at a college graduation, and attending a Broadway musical where she and her husband received a standing ovation.

Some appearances by the two-time presidential candidate have not been as well-received, however.

In an interview last month, Clinton blamed her election loss on various factors, including weak Democratic Party infrastructure, mishandlings of an investigation by former FBI Director James Comey and biased media coverage of her campaign.

Though she claimed to "take responsibility for every decision" her campaign made, many viewed her comments as shirking blame for her loss.

Meanwhile, Clinton remains a target of President Donald Trump, who continues to tweet about her months after he defeated her in the election - including last week, when he rehashed many of the criticisms lobbed at Clinton during the campaign.

Clinton's current favorable rating is just a few percentage points higher than her all-time low - 38%, last recorded in late August/early September 2016.

Gallup has measured Americans' opinions of Clinton since 1992, finding substantial variation over time.

She received her highest favorable rating of 67% in December 1998 while serving as first lady, just after the House of Representatives voted to impeach her husband, President Bill Clinton.

She also received two 66% ratings in 2011 and 2012 during her tenure as secretary of state.

Over the past quarter century, the favorable ratings of losing presidential candidates generally have increased after the election - some in the immediate aftermath and others in the months that followed.

With the exception of John Kerry, for whom there are no comparable data, losing presidential candidates since 1992 have experienced a boost of at least four percentage points in favorability when averaging their ratings from the day after the election through the following June.

While some increases have been modest, such as Mitt Romney's and Bob Dole's four-point improvements, others have been much larger, such as George H.W. Bush's 16-point and John McCain's 14-point gains in favorability.

But for Clinton, this has not been the case. Seven months after her failed bid for the presidency, she remains as unpopular now as she was then.