Madam Secretary

Clinton, once again, is highest-rated among senior U.S. leaders

Once again, Secretary Clinton has been rated the highest among top government officials. In an online Harris poll of 2,320 American adults between March 1 and 8 (that was weighted to be demographically representative of the United States and respondents’ propensity to be online), 48 percent gave Clinton a positive rating (excellent or good), 33 ...

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images
JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

Once again, Secretary Clinton has been rated the highest among top government officials. In an online Harris poll of 2,320 American adults between March 1 and 8 (that was weighted to be demographically representative of the United States and respondents’ propensity to be online), 48 percent gave Clinton a positive rating (excellent or good), 33 percent gave her a negative rating (fair or poor), and 19 percent said they weren’t familiar enough with her to have an opinion.

If you’re surprised that 19 percent aren’t familiar enough with Clinton to have an opinion about her, it gets worse for other top U.S. officials. (President Obama wasn’t included in the poll.) Clinton is actually the most well-known:

Percentage Saying Not Familiar

  • Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner: 57%
  • Defense Secretary Robert Gates: 54%
  • Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke: 51%
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: 31%
  • Vice President Joe Biden: 28%
  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: 19%

It’s disconcerting that with the worst economy since World War II and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, so many Americans are unfamiliar with the Treasury secretary, the Fed chairman, and defense secretary. It’s understandable though: Reading about macroeconomics is difficult and boring (for most people), and after a long day of working and chasing the kids, you’d rather chill out by watching, say, American Idol, than reading the Wall Street Journal

But I digress. Here’s what a lot of you want: the ratings, which include positive (excellent plus good), negative (fair plus poor), and not familiar. (Percentages might not sum to 100 due to rounding.)

Ratings of U.S. Senior Leaders (positive, negative, not familiar), %

  • Clinton: 48, 33, 19
  • Biden: 29, 44, 28
  • Gates: 27, 21, 52
  • Bernanke: 21, 28, 51
  • Pelosi: 16, 52, 31
  • Geithner: 13, 30, 57

Last thing: Clinton has been holding strong and steady.

Clinton ratings (positive, negative, not familiar), %

  • March 2010: 48, 33, 19
  • Jan. 2010: 49, 33, 18
  • Dec. 2009: 48, 34, 18
  • Sept. 2009: 48, 34, 18
  • Aug. 2009: 51, 31, 18
  • June 2009: 47, 34, 19
  • May 2009: 50, 33, 17
  • April 2009: 51, 32, 17
  • March 2009: 49, 36, 15
Preeti Aroon was copy chief at Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2016 and was an FP assistant editor from 2007 to 2009. Twitter: @pjaroonFP

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