Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's approval rating saw a 9 percent jump between late March and early May, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll released Tuesday. The gain comes despite concerns over her foundation’s fundraising practices and her use of a private email account while she was secretary of state. Clinton announced her bid for president in mid-April, which likely gained her some favor with Democrats waiting for her announcement.
Nine out of 10 Democrats believe Clinton has “strong qualities of leadership,” and just over 80 percent saying she is honest and trustworthy and “shares the values most Americans try to live by.” The New York Times noted that the popularity of former President Bill Clinton, Hillary’s husband, played favorably for the former secretary of state. Seven out of 10 Democrats thought he would have either a significant or at least noticeable influence in a future Clinton White House.
Despite Clinton’s gains in the polls, Americans remain largely split over her. Overall, 52 percent believe she shares the same values of most Americans and under half believe she is honest and trustworthy. One thing voters do seem somewhat in agreement on is her leadership skills: Two out of three voters believe she’s a good leader.
The poll indicated that Republican voters aren’t quite sure about which Republican candidates they like in 2016. Just under half of Republicans said they would consider voting for Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. On the other end of the spectrum, 42 percent of Republican voters said they would not consider voting for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, possibly indicating that the dust hasn’t quite settled around the “Bridgegate” scandal Christie was embroiled in last year. A third said the same about Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky).
The poll also asked voters about their opinions on President Obama (largely split) and whether or not Congress was doing a good job, to which 80 percent said no, the lowest levels since this time last year. Nearly two of three voters who identified as liberals thought the U.S. shouldn’t take a leading role solving international conflicts, but self-identified conservatives were more divided over the issue, with 51 percent saying yes, the U.S. should play a leading role and 44 percent saying no, the U.S. shouldn’t play a leading role.