Opinion: Oh, the pain! Voters of all stripes -- even Republicans -- more receptive to Bill Clinton now than Obama


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No wonder the Real Good Talker has been rather snappish at the lectern lately.

Turns out, the husband of the competitive woman he beat in the primaries and didn’t want as his VP partner in 2008 is more influential on the stump these days -- even among some Republicans -- than the Big Guy who won the Oval Office with the new rug. Aargh!

That’s gotta grate that the fellow Democrat, president No. 42 -- from Arkansas, for Jefferson’s sake -- is better liked out there now than the Chicago machine’s No. 44, who was elected not that long ago with so much hope and money.


But that’s what Gallup announced this morning in a new poll that comes just two weeks before the crucial Nov. 2 midterm elections.

Democrats are slightly more likely to think positively about a candidate that Bill Clinton campaigns for, as opposed to one of the countless lucky ones who are getting Barack Obama to wave with them onstage these days, whether they like it or not. Obama is about to head out on a multistate stump tour; Clinton has been at it virtually nonstop all fall.

Clinton really scores among independents, while Obama scores a net minus 27, meaning 12% say they’d be more likely to vote for a candidate campaigning with the current president but 39% say his endorsement would send them voting in the other direction.

Although few Republicans indicated they’d be likely to do the ballot bidding of either Democrat, the negative ‘I’m voting in the other direction’ is much higher for Obama (71%) than for Clinton (46%). Gallup speculates that Obama campaigning for Democrats in one area would also likely boost Republican turnout in automatic antipathy.

All this on top of a recent poll that showed the vanquished Hillary Clinton with a more favorable standing among Americans today than either Mr. or Mrs. Obama.

Of course, some of the good feeling for Clinton is due to the passage of a decade since his never-ending public and personal battles dominated Washington news and were the staple of late-night jokes. The elapsed time has left Clinton a more benign political figure than the aloof incumbent president who hasn’t improved the job situation but, on the other hand, ignored the polls to cram through his healthcare plan.

There’s good news for Obama, however. By 2022, he’ll be a decade out of office and perhaps basking in that same positive past presidential position as Bill Clinton is today.


-- Andrew Malcolm

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