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Clinton tops Obama in popularity with voters, poll shows

Hillary Clinton left the State Department more popular than President Obama, who defeated her in 2008 for their party’s nomination and later chose her as chief diplomat, according to a poll released yesterday.

The Quinnipiac University survey gave Clinton, a former first lady and U.S. senator from New York, a 61 percent favorability rating among registered voters, with 34 percent viewing her unfavorably. That compared to 51 percent favorable and 46 percent unfavorable for Obama.

The poll also showed that Clinton, a potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, was viewed more favorably than others who may seek the White House, including Vice President Joe Biden, Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the 2012 Republican vice-presidential nominee.

Clinton, 65, is “easily the most popular actor on the American political stage today,” said Peter Brown of the Quinnipiac polling institute in Hamden, Conn. She attracted more support than Obama from independents and Republicans, he said.

The Quinnipiac poll showed Obama’s job-approval rating dropped to 46 percent, with 45 percent disapproving. The figures were 53 percent to 40 percent, respectively, in December, a month after Obama, 51, became the first presidential nominee since Dwight Eisenhower to receive at least 51 percent of the vote in each of his two White House campaigns.

“Once the election afterglow is gone, governing inevitably requires decisions that make some voters unhappy,” Brown said.

Congressional Republicans matched their lowest approval in a Quinnipiac survey, at 19 percent, since winning control of the House in 2010.

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