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Maybe Bill Clinton should stay home

March 13, 2008 |  8:30 am

There's a new poll out today from the Wall Street Journal/NBC News that shows support for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama has remained tight nationally, with Obama edging ahead within the margin of error. There's good news in the poll for Republicans -- voters seem to like John McCain more than they like the Republican Party in general, suggesting a tighter race than the Democrats are hoping for.

But a more interesting nugget is buried deep in the poll. It seems that the more voters see of Bill Clinton, the less they like him. The poll shows a significant shift in his approval rating from a year ago. In March 2007, some 48% of those surveyed had a positive view of the former president, and 35% had a negative view. Now his negatives outpace his positives, 45% to 42%.

Over the same time span, Hillary Clinton's positive numbers rose from 39% to 45% while her negatives remained static, sliding up from 43% to 44%.

As for Obama, the more voters saw of him -- or, at least the more they learned about him -- the more they liked him. In March 2007 his positive numbers were 37% and his negatives were 17%. But some 26% said they were "neutral" about him and 20% said they didn't know -- nearly half of those surveyed. Now, Obama's positive-negative numbers are 51% to 28% with only 18% neutral and 3% undecided.

There. Something to talk about over your morning coffee (West Coast) or lunch (East Coast).

-- Scott Martelle

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