Mrs. Clinton’s high unfavorability ratings may help explain why a discussion has begun among her advisers over whether she should skip a Senate re-election campaign in 2006 and instead focus all her energies on a race for the White House.
The most obvious challenge that Mrs. Clinton faces in running for both jobs is a compressed political calendar that leaves her very little room to maneuver: The Iowa presidential caucuses are held just 14 months after Election Day in 2006.
If Mrs. Clinton stuck to the schedule that John Kerry followed during this presidential election cycle, she would have to give a clear indication of her desire to run for the presidency a mere month after her Senate race was over.
But that seems unlikely, some political analysts say, because the timing would be awkward.
Yet some people close to Mrs. Clinton maintain that the tight calendar should not be a problem because she is such a big celebrity, and any presidential campaign she embarks upon would instantly attract a huge amount of attention.
But other Democrats and independent political strategists say that her celebrity is a double-edged sword: While Mrs. Clinton does indeed enjoy a level of name recognition other politicians crave, she has earned a reputation that, fairly or not, makes her a polarizing figure among moderate swing voters, an important bloc nationally.