Poll: Clinton more popular than Obama

Former President Clinton is more popular than either of his successors, according to a new Gallup poll.

The poll found 61 percent of voters have a favorable view of Clinton, compared to 52 percent who have a favorable view of President Obama and 45 percent for former President George W. Bush.

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It's the first time Clinton's favorable rating topped Obama's in Gallup's polling.

Democrats gave Clinton and Obama similar favorable ratings, but Clinton is more popular than Obama among independents and Republicans. A full 60 percent of independents have a favorable view of Clinton, and 30 percent of Republicans view him favorably.

Gallup notes that both of those ratings, and Clinton's overall favorability, have increased significantly since the 2008 presidential election, when he stirred controversy on more than one occasion while campaigning for his wife, then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.).

In the context of the midterm elections, Clinton's numbers are stronger with independents and Republicans, likely making him a better bet on the campaign trail than President Obama in swing states and districts. Just 50 percent of independents have a favorable view of Obama.

The former president is already in high demand on the trail. He's campaigned for Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) and Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.) already this cycle. He'll appear at a campaign rally Thursday in Rhode Island for gubernatorial candidate Frank Caprio (D).