As Hillary Clinton prepares to launch a 2016 campaign, her approval ratings have dropped to a seven-year low, returning to the same spot they were right after she dropped out of the presidential race last time.
Clinton had enjoyed favorability ratings at 60 percent or above in CNN surveys from the moment she was tapped as secretary of State in late 2008 until a few months after she left the post in May 2013.
But the latest survey shows the goodwill she earned from the American electorate for serving as a global ambassador has completely vanished. In this week’s CNN poll, Clinton’s approval rating stood at 53 percent—still a solid figure but lower than any score she has seen since June 2008, the month she ended her 2008 presidential campaign.
The new numbers underscore one of the central conundrums of a Clinton candidacy: She is most-liked when she’s furthest from being a candidate. Her tendency to be politicized and polarizing is one of the challenges that has faced the Clinton camp as they decide how long to delay before formally entering the presidential arena.
Already, Clinton has been reluctantly dragged into the political fray. She has been forced to respond to questions about: her use of an unauthorized, private email server for all of her official State Department business; her decision to delete more than 30,000 emails so that they could not be seen by others; and her family foundation’s fundraising. When she took questions at the United Nations last week, she began by addressing the nuclear talks in Iran before chiding reporters, “Now, I would be pleased to talk more about this important matter, but I know there have been questions about my email.”