Secretaries of State look better as time goes by

March 15, 2014, 7:10 PM GMT+0

Americans are more likely to have fond memories of Secretaries of State the longer it has been since they were in office

While Americans are more likely to approve than disapprove the tenure of all four of the most recent Secretaries of State, the further back in time you go, the fonder the recollections. In the most recent Economist/YouGov Poll, approval percentages rise the longer ago a Secretary of State held the office.

42% approve of how the current Secretary of State, John Kerry, is handling the job, the lowest percentage approving among the four. Kerry’s immediate predecessor, Hilllary Clinton, scores higher I approval. However, Clinton always has been a polarizing figure, and her disapproval ratings are as high as Kerry’s. More Americans have an opinion of Clinton than of any of the other Secretaries of State.

Republican President George W. Bush’s appointees are both popular – and that is especially the case for Colin Powell. Powell manages to avoid the partisan breaks that divide opinion about Kerry, Clinton and Condoleezza Rice.

Just as many Democrats as Republicans approve of how Powell is handling his job. Nearly six in ten African-Americans approve (higher than the 41% of blacks who approve of Rice, who also served a Republican President). But it is not just Democratic good feelings for Powell; one reason the parties don’t differ much about him is that one in four Republicans now disapprove of Powell’s tenure as Secretary of State. Most Republicans would likely disagree with Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.

Image: Getty

Full results can be found here.

Economist/YouGov poll archives can be found here.

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