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Hillary Clinton is more popular than Obama, Gallup finds

Obama has a 56 percent favorability rating, while Clinton is at 62 percent in a new survey.

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The news that Hillary Rodham Clinton is now more popular than Barack Obama shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Mr. Obama is president – and in his first nine months on the job, he has tackled a raft of tough issues, starting with the economy, healthcare, and Afghanistan. Some people were bound to cool toward him, particularly independents and Republicans.

Obama started his presidency with an especially high favorable rating – 78 percent, according to Gallup – and has come down to earth, now at 56 percent.

Mrs. Clinton, his secretary of State, started in January with a 65 percent favorable rating and has edged down to 62 percent. She is “operating in a much less bright spotlight than Obama does,” Gallup notes, as she helps “advance Obama’s foreign policy around the world.”

(These favorability ratings, by the way, are not to be confused with job approval ratings, which go more directly to performance. In the favorability poll, which Gallup has been conducting since 1992, US adults are asked whether they have a “favorable” or “unfavorable” opinion of a person.)

The fact that Obama and Clinton were fierce rivals for the Democratic nomination just last year makes the poll catnip to the media – especially after Clinton’s recent assertions in two TV interviews that she will not run for president again. Might she reconsider, not in 2012, when presumably Obama will be running for reelection, but perhaps for 2016, after what could be Obama’s second term?

She insisted every which way that she will not run again.

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