The more obvious Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign becomes, the less people like her. As Bloomberg's Jonathan Allen notes, Clinton's approval ratings are at 52 percent, down from 56 percent in March and 70 percent in December 2012, back when her 2016 campaign was in its "what if" think piece stage.
In September of 2011, Clinton's then-Undersecretary of State Ellen Tauscher warned her that her approval ratings would drop if Americans thought she was re-entering politics. And while the former secretary of state has tried to stay out of partisan politics, Tauscher's prediction is playing out "as the former first lady’s book revives debate about her service in the Obama administration and what it means for her presidential ambitions," Allen writes.
The Hard Choices tour has opened her up to the sort of intense scrutiny that drops approval ratings, particularly concerning her time in President Obama's cabinet. During the controversy over the trade of American prisoner of war Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban members, Clinton unenthusiastically supported Obama while her supporters leaked that she was fiercely critical of the trade while she the secretary. And while Benghazi and her state department tenure will be the big issues, NPR's Terry Gross grilled her Thursday about her stance on gay marriage. "I think you’re trying to say I used to be opposed and now I’m in favor and I did it for political reasons, and that’s just flat wrong," she said at one point. Real Clear Politics said she got "testy," while Mediaite went with "snaps" and the New York Daily News went with "lashes out."
But despite the increased criticism, Clinton is still the frontrunner. According to the Bloomberg National poll, Clinton is still the frontrunner. Her popularity is especially high among women, who favor her at nearly a 2-to-1 ratio. If the election were held today she'd probably win the popular vote over likely Republican candidates like Gov. Chris Christie and Sens. Rand Paul and Marco Rubio. Meanwhile, no Democrat has risen up to challenge her claim to nomination — but then-Sen. Obama entered the race late, too.