Political News

People like Oprah but aren't sure about her running for president

Posted January 8, 2018 12:01 p.m. EST

— American voters are big fans of Oprah Winfrey -- but asked 10 months ago, most didn't want her to run for President.

Voters had a favorable view of Winfrey by a two-to-one split last March, according to a Quinnipiac University poll.

A majority of voters, 52%, said they viewed her favorably, including a whopping 72% favorable vs. 7% unfavorable rating among Democratic voters, an optimistic sign for a potential Democratic primary.

She also earned favorable marks from 51% of independents and 30% of Republicans.

There's just one problem: they're not sure about her as President of the United States.

Nearly seven in 10 voters overall, including a majority of Democratic voters, said in the survey they didn't want Winfrey to run. Only 21% --- or less than half of those who have a favorable view of her --- wanted her to launch a bid for the White House.

Opinions can change a lot in ten months. That was before most of the Trump administration to date and also before a national reckoning about the way women are treated in this country.

Opinions can also change once candidates declare for office or have a defining moment as big as Oprah's Golden Globes speech, when she tapped into the #metoo movement.

Still, Winfrey might be in good company in terms of her polling. In a Quinnipiac poll conducted in March 2015, a few months before Trump announced his candidacy, six in 10 Republicans said they would probably or definitely not vote for him. And in a November 2006 WNBC/Marist poll, a slim majority of voters, 30%, said they wanted Barack Obama to run for president in 2008.

Winfrey made headlines on Sunday night for her Golden Globes speech, and sources told CNN's Brian Stelter that she is "actively thinking" about launching a presidential bid in the 2020 election.

There's a gender gap for Winfrey's favorable ratings: 58% over women have a favorable view of her vs. 46% of men who feel the same way. The gap broadens to 15 points among white men and women.

This Quinnipiac University poll was conducted from March 2-6, 2017 among 1,283 voters. The margin of error is ±2.7 percentage points among all voters; it is larger for subgroups.