Recently a lot of people have been talking about Hillary Clinton in very flattering terms. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Patrick Caddell and Douglas Schoen say she is "the only leader capable of uniting the country around a bipartisan economic and foreign policy," and urge Barack Obama to "take the moral high ground" and step aside so she can be the Democratic nominee in 2012. In the New York Times, Bill Keller thinks that Obama can stay in the top spot, but should make Hillary Clinton his running mate. After all, she has "a Calvinist work ethic, the stamina of an Olympian, an E.Q. to match her I.Q., and the political instincts of a Clinton" and can bring a "missing warmth" to the campaign.
This seemed strange to me--as I remember, Hillary used to be regarded pretty much like Obama is today: unquestionably smart, but not very good at connecting with ordinary people. I don't remember anyone praising her "E.Q." when she led the attempt at health care reform. Of course, that's just my memory, so I looked for more systematic data. There have been many questions asking if people had a favorable or unfavorable view of Hillary Clinton, dating back to when Bill was seeking the 1992 Democratic nomination. In fact, there were so many that I selected only a fraction of them to limit the amount of typing I had to do. This figure shows the percent with a favorable view minus the percent with an unfavorable view. For example, in the very first survey to ask about her (February 1992), 26% were favorable and 9% unfavorable, for a +17.