Opinion

Among Dems, Clinton Regains Popularity Advantage Over Sanders

Among Dems, Clinton Regains Popularity Advantage Over Sanders
by Andrew Dugan and Frank Newport

Hillary Clinton has reclaimed her position as the best-liked presidential candidate among Democrats and independents who lean Democratic, a sign that her candidacy is recovering a key advantage she recently surrendered to rival Bernie Sanders. Clinton's net favorable score stands at +55 for the week of Feb. 18-24, 2016, a 10-percentage-point increase from her low point recorded over Jan. 27-Feb.10. This latter time period overlapped with her landslide loss to Sanders in the New Hampshire primary. Sanders' net favorable over the past week, by contrast, stands at +44, well below Clinton's score and a steep fall from the +57 he boasted in late January/early February.

Net Favorable Ratings of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders Among Democrats/Leaners

These results come from Gallup Daily tracking of the images of main presidential candidates, which began in July 2015. The Feb. 18-24 results mark the first time that Gallup is reporting the data using one-week rather than two-week rolling averages.

In recent weeks, Clinton's campaign entered something of a rough patch -- though not her first of the cycle -- as she was unable to pull out a decisive win in the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 1 and was pummeled in the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 9. Sanders, initially seen as a fringe candidate by many political analysts, suddenly became more popular than Clinton, a stark reversal of his 28-point deficit in net favorable scores he held in July 2015.

However, after Sanders' image reached its high mark in late January/early February, it has fallen steadily. His current net favorable is his lowest since late December, a time when Sanders was comparatively less known to many Democrats. Clinton has now taken back her title as the most popular presidential candidate with Democrats, and with her predicted victory in the South Carolina primary Saturday, she appears to be back on a winning trajectory.

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