When it comes to potential 2016 presidential candidates, former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton continues to receive higher favorable ratings than anyone else. Yet New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s popularity has risen considerably since last summer, while Clinton’s ratings show signs of weakening.
That’s according to a new Fox News national poll of registered voters.
The poll, released Thursday, finds 46 percent of voters have a favorable opinion of Christie, up 16 percentage points from August 2012. Meantime, his unfavorable rating is down 4 points to 20 percent.
Overall, 56 percent of voters view Clinton positively. That’s down 7 points from August 2012. Her unfavorable rating stands at 38 percent, up 7 points since then.
Almost all of the improvement in Christie’s favorable number comes from an increase in positive views among Democrats (+31 points) and independents (+13 points). Views among Republicans held steady (+1 point).
The poll finds 47 percent of Democrats have a favorable view of Christie. That’s almost as high as his 49 percent favorable among Republicans. By comparison, Clinton receives much better marks from her party faithful than Christie does from his (86 percent favorable among Democrats), but she doesn’t do nearly as well among the other party (25 percent favorable among Republicans).
Christie received major national news coverage before the 2012 presidential election when he warmly welcomed President Obama to his state for a post-hurricane tour. The governor was again in the national news earlier this month when he selected an interim New Jersey senator after the death of long-serving Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg.
The media attention reduced the number of voters saying they have “never heard of” Christie -- dropping it 11 points to 21 percent in the new poll.
Clinton’s numbers, while weakening, still make her not only the most popular of the 2016 potential candidates included in the poll, but also more popular than the president.
Barack Obama’s favorable rating is 47 percent. That matches a previous record low he received in October 2010 -- right before the Republicans swept the midterm elections. And for the first time in a Fox News poll, more than half of voters -- 51 percent -- have a negative opinion of Obama.
Vice President Joe Biden’s personal rating is also in negative territory: 42 percent favorable, 48 percent unfavorable.
Over half of voters are unable to rate the other potential Democratic candidate tested, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Twenty percent have a positive impression of him, 24 percent unfavorable, and 57 percent have no opinion or have never heard of him.
Positive views of Clinton among self-identified Democrats (86 percent favorable) easily top those of Biden (74 percent) and Cuomo (27 percent).
On the Republican side, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul trails Christie, but has a higher favorable rating (37 percent) than the other Republicans tested, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (34 percent favorable) and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (29 percent favorable).
Among self-identified Republicans, Paul (58 percent favorable) and Bush (57 percent) have higher positive ratings than Christie (49 percent) and Rubio (46 percent).
The highest rating among independents goes to Clinton (54 percent favorable). She’s followed by Paul (41 percent) and Christie (41 percent).
The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 1,012 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from June 22 to June 24. The full poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.