WASHINGTON -- Reviews of Hillary Clinton's vice presidential pick Tim Kaine tilt narrowly positive, with majorities of Democrats of all ideological stripes calling him an excellent or good choice.
Overall, 46% of registered voters say Kaine is an excellent or good choice, narrowly above the 43% who said so about Donald Trump's selection of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence in a CNN/ORC poll conducted July 14-16. Among Democrats, 63% call Kaine a good choice, including 66% of liberal Democrats and 58% of moderate or conservative Democrats.
Some had speculated that liberals in the Democratic Party would be disappointed in the choice of Kaine, who has taken more moderate positions on some key issues.
On several other questions, the initial reaction to Clinton's choice of Kaine is very similar to that for Trump's selection of Pence. Nearly 8 in 10 say the choice won't have much effect on their vote (78% said so about Kaine, 79% on Pence), a slim majority say Kaine is qualified (52% vs. 53% who said so of Pence) and most say it reflects favorably on Clinton's ability to make presidential decisions (56% say so, 57% said so about Trump's choice of Pence).
Kaine himself begins his candidacy with 48% of voters saying they haven't heard of him or don't know enough to have an opinion. Among those who can rate him, there are more positive feelings than negative ones: 31% have a favorable impression, 21% unfavorable. Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, 46% have a positive impression of Kaine, just 9% view him unfavorably, also very similar to Pence's initial impression on Republican voters.
Although majorities within the Democratic Party on both ends of the ideological spectrum had positive reactions to Kaine's selection, earlier polling suggested that Democrats had not completely united. In a CNN/ORC survey conducted before the GOP convention, 35% of Democrats said they believed the party was united, 40% that it would unite by November and 24% that it would remain divided through the election. That represents more unity than the Democrats had heading into their 2008 convention following the hotly contested primary that year between Clinton and Barack Obama.
But Bernie Sanders holds onto more support among Democrats than Clinton held at this stage in 2008. Overall, 44% of Democratic voters say they'd like to see the party nominate Sanders, compared with 37% who felt that way about Clinton heading in to the 2008 Democratic convention.
And Sanders remains one of the most well-liked Democrats according to recent polling. In a June CNN/ORC poll, 59% of voters rated Sanders positively, 54% said they had a positive take on Obama, and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren's ratings narrowly tilted positive, 31% to 29%. Back in October, Vice President Joe Biden held a 52% favorable to 37% unfavorable rating in a CNN/ORC poll.
Positive reviews of Obama extend to his approval rating as well. The new poll finds 50% approve of the way he is handling his job as president, 47% disapprove. That's down slightly since June, when 52% approved and 45% disapproved, a shift within the poll's margin of sampling error, but Obama's ratings have remained net-positive since February.
The voting public also tilts positive on Clinton's family, including her husband, former president Bill Clinton, and daughter, Chelsea Clinton. Half say they have a favorable view of Bill Clinton, while 40% have an unfavorable view. But the former president's ratings have dipped as his wife's campaign has gone on. In March 2015, 65% had a positive view of him. Chelsea also holds a net-positive favorability rating: 42% view her positively compared with 26% who have a negative impression. Another 32% don't know enough to say or haven't heard of her. Both Clintons are rated more positively by Democrats and Democratic-leaning registered voters (79% favorable for Bill Clinton, 69% favorable for Chelsea Clinton).
The CNN/ORC poll was conducted by telephone July 22-24 among a random national sample of 1,001 adults. Results for the sample of 882 registered voters have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.