Support strong for Clinton's time at State

Public support for Hillary Clinton’s performance as secretary of State has dropped since last year, according to a new poll, but remains strong.

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Fifty-nine percent of respondents in a Washington Post-ABC News poll released Sunday said they approve of Clinton’s job at the State Department, compared with 34 percent who disapprove.

Sixty-eight percent approved of Clinton’s performance in late 2012.

More than two-thirds of respondents, 67 percent, described Clinton, considered the 2016 Democratic presidential frontrunner if she decides to run, as a strong leader, compared with 31 percent who said she is not.

Sixty percent said she is honest and trustworthy, compared with 36 who said she is not.

And 55 percent said they thought Clinton understands “the problems of people like you,” while 42 percent said she did not.

The poll also found that 66 of respondents who identify themselves as leaning Democratic would vote for Clinton, 12 percent for Vice President Joe Biden and 7 percent for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Clinton tops Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) among registered voters in a hypothetical matchup, 53 to 43 percent.

The findings suggest the public is willing to view Clinton’s term separately from President Obama's struggles abroad, the Post said, adding that the results are a sign that Republican attacks over Benghazi have not been a drag.

Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said on Sunday that he's convinced that Clinton will run for the Democratic 2016 presidential nomination, adding that a long campaign would hurt Clinton.

“When there’s no place to grow there’s no place to go,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.” “She’s at her maximum right now, I think almost anything she does is going to start to alienate people that are within her coalition now.”

Clinton is embarking on a national tour promoting her new book about her experience in the Obama administration. Hard Choices will be published on Tuesday.

She is slated to sit down for a number of media interviews this week including with ABC News, Fox News and a televised town hall on CNN.

Ferdous Al-Faruque contributed to this report, which was updated at 11:42 a.m.