HILLARY'S POPULARITY RATINGS GO NEGATIVE
By IAN BISHOP Post Correspondent
April 19, 2007 -- WASHINGTON - A new national poll shows Hillary Rodham Clinton's favorable ratings sinking like a stone, and her negatives soaring - a terrifying trend for a campaign desperately trying to convince voters she's not too polarizing to be president.
The new USA Today/Gallup survey shows Clinton's favorability rating shrunken to 45 percent - down 9 points from a similar poll taken last month, and a 13-point drop from a survey taken shortly after she announced her White House bid.
More troubling for her White House hopes, her unfavorable ratings have climbed 12 points since she entered the race, and now stand at 52 percent - meaning more Americans now dislike her than like her.
"You don't see this type of straightforward pattern very often," Gallup's polling guru Frank Newport said.
The steady decline in favorability is exclusive to Clinton. Her rivals Barack Obama and John Edwards have bounced up and down in surveys over the past three months and have identical 52 percent approval - about where they started three months ago.
Clinton's skyrocketing negatives have wiped out her 19-point Democratic primary lead in a similar survey from earlier this month. Obama is now tight on her tail, 31 percent to 26 percent - within the poll's 5-point error margin.
The poll of 1,007 American adults shows Clinton's favorability even among Democrats dropping. It's down 8 points from January to 68 percent.
Her team is spinning it as normal primary poll tightening, saying that the favorability dip is typical for front-runners.
But some pros say her increased public profile is reminding voters of her negative image during her husband's presidency.
"It's like watching a rerun and remembering what you didn't like about the show in the first place," one Democratic campaign veteran said.