NEW YORK Karl Rove, the former White House aide, made the rounds of weekend talk shows last weekend declaring, among other things, that Sen. Hillary Clinton was a “fatally flawed” candidate for president because she had (he repeated several times) the highest unfavorable ratings of any frontrunner in the history of polling going into the party primaries.
It seemed plausible, and none of the many hosts challenged him on it. There was just one problem: It wasn’t exactly true.
Gallup, which was cited as a source at least once by Rove, decided to take a look back and in a report today agreed that her unfavorable ratings “are high” but disputed that this was unprecedented. Others had worse ratings and George W. Bush, in fact, had a 47% unfavorable rating in January 2004 – exactly one point less than the current mark for Clinton.
Bill Clinton’s unfavorable rating was 44% in January 1996 after hitting 49% in 1992.
Gallup concluded: “A review of Gallup poll data suggests that Hillary Clinton's current high unfavorable ratings are not unprecedented. Other candidates have had similarly high unfavorable ratings at various points in presidential election campaigns in previous years. Two of these candidates -- George W. Bush in 2004 and Bill Clinton in 1992 -- went on to win the election.