Kerry’s Rising Ratings Still Trailing Clinton, Rice and Powell: Gallup

Photograph by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Hillary Clinton, U.S. secretary of state, arrives to a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing chaired by Senator John Kerry, a Democrat from Massachusetts, left, in Washington, D.C., in this May 23, 2012 file photo.

Even in a dangerous world, it turns out, being secretary of state may be good for you.

John Kerry ran for president and lost.

Now 55 percent of Americans hold a favorable view of the secretary of state roving from crisis to crisis — traveling this week to Kiev and to Paris to seek a solution to the Russian incursion into Ukraine.

Gallup reports that is up seven percentage points from September, when Kerry was toiling without result in pursuit of Middle East peace and struggling for a solution to the crisis in Syria . It’s up from 44 percent in April 2013.

Still, he’s not as popular as his predecessor was — nor is the former senator from Massachusetts and Democratic nominee for president in 2004 as popular as previous chief diplomats were one year in at State.

Hllary Clinton ran for president and lost, too.

Yet one year into office serving the president who defeated her for the Democratic nomination, Clinton held a 61 percent favorability rating by Gallup’s measure. This week, the Pew Research Center reported that two-thirds of Americans surveyed say Clinton did a good job as secretary of state.

Condoleezza Rice was widely popular back in August 2006 — with 61 percent approval one year into her term — at the height of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan led by President George W. Bush, Gallup found. And Madeleine Albright held a 62 percent rating in February 1998, one year in for President Bill Clinton.

One year into office, Secretary of State Colin Powell stood above them all — with 85 percent approval. That was in late April and early may of 2002.  That was before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, which found that Saddam Hussein didn’t possess the weapons of mass destruction that Powell had assured the United Nations and the world he did.

Clinton may run again, in 2016.

Looking at these numbers, Kerry may want to think about it, too.

Gallup’s Art Swift writes: “Much of the world is focused on Kerry this week as the U.S. and Russia engage in brinkmanship over Russia’s military involvement in Ukraine. In his year in office, Kerry has been involved not only in the Ukrainian crisis but also the chemical weapons situation in Syria, developing a framework for peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, and nuclear peace talks with Iran. Although the question wording identified Kerry as secretary of state, Americans may also remember him as a longtime senator from Massachusetts or as the failed presidential candidate from 2004. Still, as this series of world conflicts persist, Kerry’s favorable ratings as secretary of state are rising.”

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