The Clinton campaign and rivals are debating the significance of this Gallup analysis of Karl Rove's attack on Hillary Clinton's allegedly unprecedented unfavorability rating.
First, Gallup concludes that Rove is simply wrong:
A review of Gallup poll data suggests that Hillary Clinton's current high unfavorable ratings are not unprecedented. Other candidates have had similarly high unfavorable ratings at various points in presidential election campaigns in previous years. Two of these candidates -- George W. Bush in 2004 and Bill Clinton in 1992 -- went on to win the election.
Point in favor of Clinton: other Democratic presidential candidates have been as polarizing as she's been (and still won); the 49% unfavorable number is one data point of many; she's been more popular than she is today, which means, of course, that there is room to grow.
Point in favor of not-Clinton: Clinton's relative polarity rating hasn't necessary been tied to an exogenous event; perhaps there's a correlation between the degree to which voters perceive Washington to be polarized and Clinton's own rating. Al Gore's high negatives came at the height of his post-election recount battle; Bill Clinton's high negatives came on the heels of Gennifer Flower's disclosure. And he won the election with 43% of the vote in 1992.
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