If Hillary Rodham Clinton decides to run for president in three years, she'll likely find a welcome reception in California, an overwhelmingly blue state.
A Field Poll out today finds that 56 percent of California voters have a favorable impression of Clinton, a Democrat who has served as first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state. Her approval rating is higher now than it's been since Field began polling Californians about Clinton in 1996.
"California looks like a very strong area for her," said Field Poll director Mark DiCamillo.
He noted that Clinton is especially popular in Los Angeles and the Bay Area, where roughly seven in 10 voters view her favorably.
"If you're thinking in terms of fundraising, that's where the money is. So it's a pretty positive profile of somebody who's thinking of running for president," DiCamillo said
Clinton won California during the 2008 Democratic presidential primary against Barack Obama. She has not said whether she plans to run again in 2016.
Clinton stepped down from her post as Obama's secretary of state earlier this year, freeing her up for a potential campaign.
Clinton took heat last year for the way the Obama administration characterized an attack that killed four Americans at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Democrats initially described the attack as a spontaneous occurrence and later said it was an act of terrorism. Republicans talked about it as a planned terrorist attack that the government should have been able to prevent.
Thomas Seth, a 79-year-old Republican who responded to the Field Poll, said the Benghazi incident is the main reason he does not like Clinton.
"She lied," Seth said.
Like half of Californians, the Field Poll found, Seth doesn't know much about potential Republican candidates Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.
"I don't think we've got a candidate," Seth said.
Li Fan, a Democrat who lives in Stockton, praised Clinton's handling of international affairs.
"I would like her to run for president. I think she would be excellent," said Fan, 51, an immigrant from China.
"She is good for this country and good for the people, too."
Call Laurel Rosenhall, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 321-1083. Follow her on Twitter @laurelrosenhall.