PRINCETON, N.J. — Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ favorable rating among Americans has doubled since Gallup’s initial reading in March, rising to 24% from 12% as he has become better known. Hillary Clinton’s rating has slipped to 43% from 48% in April. At the same time, Clinton’s unfavorable rating increased to 46%, tilting her image negative and producing her worst net favorable score since December 2007. She was 31% unfavorable in 2012, so this is a 50% increase in negatives.
Sanders’ increased favorability reflects the broader increase in the public’s familiarity with him since March. Overall, 44% of Americans are able to rate him today, up from 24% in March. Not only has the percentage viewing him favorably increased, but also the percentage viewing him unfavorably has risen, up eight percentage points to 20%.
Clinton’s Inauspicious Rivals
Clinton maintains a higher absolute favorable rating from Americans than any of her official rivals for the 2016 Democratic nomination. In contrast to the relative prominence of numerous candidates on the Republican side, she remains the only Democratic candidate known well enough by a majority of Americans for them to rate her, which helps Clinton maintain a higher overall favorable score.
Sanders is still an unknown to a majority of Americans, with just 44% able to rate him compared with Clinton’s 89%. Total familiarity drops still further among the other three announced Democratic candidates: to 23% for former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb at 23%, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley at 22% and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee at 17%. With slightly more Americans viewing each of these candidates unfavorably than favorably, their favorable scores reach no more than 11%.