THE POLITICS OF PERSONALITY. There's a fascinating new Gallup poll out today parsing the public's views of Hillary Rodham Clinton. Surprise finding: Only 3 percent of Democrats dislike Clinton on account of her views on the Iraq War. The main reasons Democrats do object to Clinton are, instead, a perception that she's wishy-washy or changes her mind on issues; is overly aggressive or overbearing; and that they "simply don't like her," for unspecified reasons. Republicans who dislike Clinton, meanwhile, do so primarily for substantive reasons (e.g., a disagreement with her "political views in general") as well as for personal reasons (e.g., seeing her as "wishy-washy" and simply not trusting her). There's a gender gap in terms of verbalizing dislike for Clinton, too, with 15 percent more men being able to point to something they don't like about her, and men of both parties holding significantly more negative views of her than women.
The good news for Clinton, though, is that 62 percent of Democrats are unable to point to anything they dislike about her, and she has an overall positive assessment that stems mainly from her personal qualities. The leading traits people admire about her, according to the poll, are: "1) her intelligence, 2) the fact that she is a strong advocate for women, 3) the fact that she is forthright, outspoken, and direct, 4) general agreement with her views, 5) her political career and leadership, and 6) her determination and tenacity."