Some of the GOP's most favored attacks against Hillary Clinton don't seem to be working.
According to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released Thursday, Bill Clinton, the former secretary of State's husband and the 42nd president, doesn't have the negative effect on her favorability the GOP is hoping for. In fact, she leads her potential opponents by double digits.
Republicans, who anticipate Clinton will win the Democratic nomination, have gone on the offensive. Since she first ran for president, in 2008, invoking her husband has been one of the most dog-eared pages in their playbook, with the GOP arguing that she's been in politics too long and wouldn't be able to guide the country in a new direction. But the poll shows that, for most voters, that doesn't make a difference—and when it does, it's more often a positive.
Bill Clinton's scandalous presidency is also a favored Republican talking point. In a C-SPAN interview last year, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky questioned his character, implying that voters should recall the former president's affair with Monica Lewinsky and subsequent impeachment when deciding whether to vote for his wife. "Sometimes it's hard to separate one from the other," he said.
Of the adults surveyed, 62 percent said the fact that Clinton's husband had served as president made no difference in who they supported, while 23 percent said it made them more supportive. Only 14 percent said it had a negative impact on their opinion.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whose father and brother both served as president and who could face similar criticisms about his dynastic family, fares worse. While 55 percent said Bush's presidential ties don't make a difference, 33 percent see it as a negative, with just 11 percent viewing it positively.
In a matchup between the two, Clinton handily leads Bush by 13 percentage points. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who recently signaled his interest in launching a 2016 bid, also trails Clinton, with 40 percent support to her 55 percent.
Clinton leads all of her potential GOP rivals by double digits. Paul and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie each come in 13 points behind her, and she tops former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee by 17 points.
This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.
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