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Hillary Clinton makes her Twitter debut, fueling 2016 speculation

June 10, 2013|By Morgan Little

WASHINGTON -- It may have taken her a while, but Hillary Clinton joined Twitter on Monday, right on the heels of a new poll that finds her popularity dipping after stepping down as secretary of State.

The self-described “wife, mom, lawyer, women & kids advocate,” had been noticeably absent from the prominent social network. Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, recently took the family’s spotlight with his own Twitter debut on “The Colbert Report.”

Speculation had recently increased as to why Clinton, who, if she runs for the nomination for president in 2016, is seen as very difficult to beat, hadn't yet dipped her toe into the social media waters. While Clinton has kept a relatively low profile since leaving President Obama’s administration, other groups like “Ready for Hillary” have been keen on bringing their support to a digital audience.

But in her first tweet, Clinton displayed familiarity with her online fan base, referencing the duo behind the “Texts from Hillary” blog that went viral last year. Clinton is also notably using the now-famous photo as her profile image.

But the excitement over Clinton’s Twitter debut is tempered by a Gallup poll released Monday that suggests that months of Republican critiques of her role in the response to the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, last year is having some effect.

Clinton’s longstanding popularity has previously topped those of her peers within the Obama administration, including the president himself, but public assessment dipped in April. According to the poll, conducted June 1-4, 58% of Americans have a favorable opinion of the former secretary of State, a drop from 64% in the prior month and the first time since 2008 that her favorability rating has gone below 60%.

But at least on Twitter, there’s little indication of a drop in popularity, with Clinton racking up more than 86,000 followers in just a few hours, a total that already tops rumored 2016 Democratic presidential hopefuls Martin O’Malley, governor of Maryland, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

But those looking for any definite 2016 remarks from Clinton to accompany the rampant speculation will have to settle for her profile’s reference to future plans: “TBD.”

Gallup’s poll was conducted via telephone interviews with a random sample of 1,529 adults with a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

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