Hillary Clinton narrowly preferred to Barack Obama

November 10, 2014, 5:10 PM GMT+0

People tend to prefer Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama, but enthusiasm for both is limited

Americans like Hillary Clinton more than they do Barack Obama, although that may not be saying much these days (the President’s approval rating is only 38%). But for many in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, liking her better only means she is simply the lesser of two evils.

Nearly half the public, when asked directly which of the Democrats they prefer, claim they don’t prefer either Obama or Clinton. But that group is more than twice as likely to think President Obama is “worse” than Clinton.

Republicans overwhelmingly prefer Clinton to the President. But that’s only because they think he is worse. In the first question, 86% of Republicans said they preferred neither of them, but half of that group said they thought the President was worse than Clinton, compared with only 14% who thought Clinton was.

Democrats are closely divided on whether they prefer Clinton or the President.

There are gender and race differences on this question. Women prefer Clinton more than men do; African-Americans choose the country’s first black President by three to one, while whites prefer Clinton two to one.

Clinton has garnered better favorable ratings than the President for a long time. In this poll, 49% view her favorably, more than the 43% who are unfavorable. As for the President, his unfavorable ratings outnumber his favorable ones. Only 40% are favorable, 54% are not.

Democrats like both Obama and Clinton. What makes the difference in the overall numbers is the way Republicans and independents view them. Although Republicans dislike the former Secretary of State (and dislike her a lot when asked if they have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of her), even more dislike the President. 85% of Republicans have unfavorable opinion of Clinton, but nearly all Republicans, 95%, don’t like President Obama. Clinton also fares better than Obama with independents and even with Democrats.

Women are generally more favorable than men are towards both Democrats. And the favorable ratings show a great difference in the opinions of blacks and whites. African-Americans give similar favorable ratings to both Democrats. Whites dislike both, but while just 51% have unfavorable views of Clinton, two in three whites are unfavorable towards the President.

Full results can be found here.

Economist/YouGov poll archives can be found here.

Update: The fieldwork each table has been updated. The survey was conducted Nov. 1-3, not Nov. 4-5.