Hillary Clinton's love-hate relationship with 2008 voters is replaying in the kickoff caucus state of Iowa, with "eye-popping" support among Democrats and deep opposition from Republicans, a new poll
The Des Moines Register Iowa Poll
showed 89 percent of Democrats had a positive opinion of the former first lady and secretary of state; only 7 percent had a negative impression.
"Clinton's score is eye-popping and shows she is viewed more favorably than any Democrat or Republican by a big margin," Democrat Jeff Link told the Register.
But the flip side is equally notable.
Fifty-nine percent of Republicans hold a "very unfavorable" view of Clinton, the poll showed -- "a monster number," pollster J. Ann Selzer told the newspaper.
"Were she to be nominated, there would be a resurgence of this 'we hate Hillary' faction that has been dormant," she predicted.
Teacher Mark Twedt, 52, a Republican from Rockwell, told the newspaper that Clinton veered too far left.
"I think she's probably pretty smart," he said. "She scares me: I think she could get things done, but it's not the things I want to see get done. She's got some power."
Clinton is popular with 50 percent of all Iowa adults, the poll showed.
The poll was conducted Dec. 8-11 by Selzer & Co. of Des Moines, and had a margin of error of plus or minus 7.3 percentage points for Republicans and plus or minus 8 percentage points for Democrats.
Clinton, who has the backing of super-PAC Ready for Hillary
if she decides to run for president in 2016, is popular with 50 percent of all Iowa adults, the poll showed.
In the Republican column, Paul Ryan polled as the favorite, with 73 percent favorability, the poll showed.
Mike Huckabee, with 66 percent, and Rick Santorum, with 58 percent, came in second and third.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry ranked fourth, with 55 percent, and tied for fifth were Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, all polling with 51 percent favorability.
Christie, however, polled worse among the GOP when it came to negative feelings, the poll showed: 30 percent don't like him.
Meanwhile, the anti-Clinton sentiment is already evident in America Rising PAC, a Republican-funded opposition research group critical of Clinton on the Tumblr microblogging site it runs.
"There's still a sheen that comes from spending four years out of the day-to-day political food fight, but the more political she gets, the more it will come back to earth," the group's executive director, Tim Miller, said in October.
"When Hillary's been a candidate, she's been a really polarizing figure. Her numbers always get the lowest when she's most politically active."
But Democratic strategist Jill Alper said Clinton is a target no matter what she does.
"Whether she runs or not, Hillary Clinton's always going to be somewhere, talking to someone about something. That's just leadership, it's who she is," Alper told Bloomberg news, adding that opponents are "always going to be taking swipes."
Former President Bill Clinton said in 2008 that the anti-Hillary fervor comes from people who don't know her.
"The only people that she's a polarizing figure around are people who don't know her," he said during a January stump in South Carolina.
"She can't help the fact that they beat up on her for 15 years, and when they didn't have me to kick around anymore, they turned all their fire on her," Bill Clinton said in 2008.
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