July 27, 2016

5 facts about Hillary Clinton’s candidacy

This week Democrats gathered in Philadelphia to officially nominate Hillary Clinton as their party’s presidential candidate. How do Americans view Clinton – a fixture in national politics for more than 25 years – as the race between her and Donald Trump for the White House begins in earnest?

Here’s a roundup of key Pew Research Center findings on views of Hillary Clinton, her politics and the impact she would have on Washington.

1More voters say they know a lot about where Clinton stands on important issues than say the same about Trump. About half (53%) say they know a lot about Clinton’s positions; by comparison, fewer (43%) are confident they know where Trump stands.

Republicans and Republican-leaning independents are just as likely to say they know a lot about where Clinton stands (50%) as they are about Trump (53%). Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, on the other hand, say they know much more about Clinton’s positions (57% say a lot) than Trump’s (36%).

2Few voters think gender will hurt Clinton this fall. Only about one-in-ten registered voters (12%) say the fact that Clinton is a woman will hurt her this fall. Most say it will either help her (40%) or not make a difference (45%). There is little difference in these views along partisan lines, but there are modest differences in these perceptions between men and women voters: Overall, 47% of women and 43% of men say Clinton’s gender won’t make a difference to voters this fall; men are somewhat more likely than women (45% vs. 35%) to say Clinton’s gender will help her. And though few men or women think her gender will hurt her, this view is more prevalent among women than men (15% vs. 9%).

3Supporters and opponents see Clinton’s political views differently. About six-in-ten voters (58%) in our latest American Trends Panel survey say Clinton’s views are liberal on most or almost all issues, while nearly three-in-ten (28%) say she has a mix of liberal and conservative views.

Yet there is a large gap in how Trump and Clinton supporters describe her views. About three-quarters of Trump supporters (78%) say Clinton has predominantly liberal views, including 59% who say she is liberal on almost all issues. By contrast, Clinton’s supporters are just as likely to say she has a mix of liberal and conservative views (42%) as to say her positions are predominantly liberal (42%). Just 9% say she’s liberal on almost all issues.

4Many voters – including many of her supporters – doubt Clinton will change Washington much. Overall, about half (53%) of voters in our June survey say Clinton won’t change the way things work in Washington much. Those who think she will change Washington are divided on whether it will be for the better (20%) or the worse (25%).

Even voters who say they will support Clinton in a matchup against Trump this fall say she’s unlikely to bring much change to the way things work in Washington. Well over half (58%) say this, while another 38% say she will bring positive change. Trump’s supporters are roughly evenly divided between those who say she would make things worse (52%) and those who say things wouldn’t change much under a Clinton administration (46%).

Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents who supported Bernie Sanders during the primaries – most of whom now say they will support her against Trump – are especially doubtful Clinton will bring change to Washington: 70% say this, compared with 47% of Clinton’s primary supporters.

5Democrats feel warmly toward Clinton, while Republican views of her are very cold. Hillary Clinton is a polarizing figure in U.S. politics. In a survey conducted this spring, Democrats give her an average rating of 73 on a 0-to-100 “feeling thermometer,” where 100 is the warmest, most positive rating and zero the coldest, most negative. Republicans, on the other hand, give her an average rating of 12, and 59% give her a zero on the scale.

Republicans’ deeply negative views of Clinton find a parallel in Democrats’ deeply negative views of Donald Trump, who rates an average of 11 on the scale, with about two-thirds of Democrats giving him a zero rating.

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: U.S. Political Parties, Political Attitudes and Values, U.S. Political Figures, 2016 Election

  1. Photo of Baxter Oliphant

    is a research associate focusing on U.S. politics and policy at Pew Research Center.


  1. Dale Maddison1 year ago

    Its true The media and establishment would sell their souls to stop Donald Trump ,the question is perhaps he unlike Clinton cannot be bought by Gulf oi) monies That’s how non Americans view this in my country ,wed rather take a gamble on Trump as we did on brexit contrary to what Suadi oil money and the Worlds financial institutions wanted as did our Western media .Clinton cannot be trusted

  2. Anonymous1 year ago

    Democrats will prevail even though we are very leary of Clinton. Unfortunately the alternative is untenable. Trump is so polarizing and unqualified to be President we, the voters, have no other choice. If the GOP had put forth a great candidate many democrats would gladly have voted for him/her but never Trump. Therefore,Hillary wins as there are more democrats in the entire population.

  3. Anonymous1 year ago

    US Dept. of State under Pres. Carter and the Clintons that forced Israel to withdraw from Israeli Sinai which now became a muslim terror enclave and forced Israel to sign the Oslo Accord with Arafat, second Hitler, who then started two terror campaigns in Israel on the US taxpayers’ money and arms that the neo-Nazi US State Dept. and US Army provided him with and criminally continues to do so via Himmler-Abu Mazen – all that in the genocide of Jewish Israelis in crimes against humanity based on concealed Saudi bribes and Saudi terrorist money laundering via Pres. Carter, Clinton and Hussein Obama Presidential Libraries and other criminal and corrupt channels subject to FBI’s and Congress’ investigation to prevent another enemy of the USA and Israel, namely Hillary Clinton, to become the U.S. president.

    United Trial Group

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      Love & agree with your reply.

  4. Anonymous1 year ago

    I must congratulate the “Pollsters” who formulated these questions. It takes great skill and determination to design a poll as useless and uninformative as this one. Well done folks. Your place as national got to pollsters is assured.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      How is this useless and uninformative?

  5. Anonymous1 year ago

    I feel that Hilary has been waiting for a long time but she is not a good candidate, we need to get off this Washington bus as it is headed for socialism and that will only support her and the elites she surrounds herself with, on the other hand there’s Trump, untried in the political arena but he offers CHANGE, we are all ready for change to make America better, is he our only hope? This is how it boils down, when change is needed a leader takes action, a leader is not elected but rather becomes the force that drives needed change. Hilary was slow to react in Benghazi, the government did not react when our sailors were held at gunpoint by Iranians, what does it take to get some action? This is why Trump has become popular he seems to be willing to take action!!!

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      German citizens in the 1930’s got some change and plenty of action. Be careful what you wish for!

  6. Anonymous1 year ago

    I’m cold to both-neither has the character, the knowledge, the humility, the political and mental and personal discipline to be the number 1 magistrate of the United States of America. But the public. including will be presented with what we deserve! Edward B. Hauck, Lancaster, PA

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      Yes! It’s a question of the “lesser of 2 bad choices.”

  7. Jay J Jameson1 year ago

    That is a riot that Clinton supporters think that she is conservative!!!
    HA Wait until the jobs start disappearing after she signs that DEAL
    called TPP. (These things are ‘deals’ now, not treaties, because deals
    don’t have to be approved of by the people.) And the TPP is NOT approved
    of by the people, yet the Mrs. knows best and will ram it down the screaming
    objecting USA citizens throats any day and every day she can.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago


    2. Anonymous1 year ago

      Not true. The Trans Pacific Partnership is a treaty, and like any treaty it has to be voted on by the US Senate as any other treaty (NO treaties are approved “by the people”). Paul Krugman notes that it’s not a terribly good deal, and has some bad features (mainly supporting corporate monopolies) but doesn’t make a huge bit of difference .

      This doesn’t have much to do with Clinton anyway. It’s been negotiated on for over a decade, and the Senate’s scheduled vote is before the inauguration.