It’s not everyone who leaves office at the height of their popularity. Some leave on a downswing, others have scandals chasing them out, a select few seem to slip away with barely a ripple, and the luckier ones depart with at least their status quo intact.
Hillary Clinton, however, is in a rarefied class all to herself; leaving office as Secretary of State with such a groundswell of good-will and respect, not even the GOP Benghazi witch hunt could provide the buzz-kill they were looking for. In fact, just one week after leaving office and two since her smack-down of GOP senators looking to turn that tragedy into so much conspiracy fodder, Reuters reports that the iconic Quinnipiac University poll of today, February 8th, found Hillary Clinton to be the most popular politician the country, surpassing Vice President Joe Biden and even President Obama (whose numbers, surprisingly, lag in this particular poll).
For Hillary Clinton, this is a remarkable accomplishment, but there are no shortage of remarkable accomplishments in her resume. She’s been a two-term First Lady, she served two terms as a Senator of New York, and just concluded her term as Secretary of State. No other woman can claim that unique curriculum vitae or likely ever will again. Now a “respected retiree,” she told the Associated Press in her last official interview before leaving the State Department that she isn’t sure what’s next:
“I have made no decisions and I just can’t until I have time to think it through and see how I am going to put it all together. I will certainly write something. I will certainly speak. Those are givens, but the rest of it I don’t have in mind. And I hope through my writing and speaking to continue making a difference as well.”
But whatever scenario Ms. Clinton might not yet be considering, a good number of the rest of the country has put it front and center: a run for the presidency in 2016. The door hasn’t fully closed upon her leaving State, and there will be no official discussion about that possible run, and yet support is not only percolating, the numbers are already there: she was chosen as the “most admired woman in the world” for the 17th time in Gallup’s annual poll, a Washington Post poll in December said a majority of Americans would back her if she ran; even Newt Gingrich says Republicans have “no chance” if Clinton runs in 2016.
Regardless of public whim and whimsy, in spite of the propensity of the electorate to be fickle or easily swayed, poll after poll over a significant period of time indicates Clinton’s popularity is only growing stronger, not waning. Is she paying attention? Might be. In the last week a new website popped up: “HillaryClintonOffice.com.” It’s one page with only a contact button that clicks to a dialogue box to make scheduling requests, media inquiries or just leave comments. Tea-leaf readers say this is a sign… she’s testing the waters, setting the groundwork, maybe even staking a quiet claim. Whatever she’s thinking or doing, every poll out there, including the Quinnipiac University poll of today, says she’s in the position to get it done. Whatever “it” ends up being, she’s the frontrunner, the one to beat.
To see complete Quinnipiac polling date, click here.