Clinton Maintains Commanding Lead

by Jeffrey M. Jones

Majority of Americans now express favorable view of Clinton

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

 

PRINCETON , NJ -- The latest Gallup Poll of nationwide Democrats’ preference for their party’s 2008 presidential nomination shows New York Sen. Hillary Clinton continuing to hold a commanding lead over Illinois Sen. Barack Obama and the remainder of the Democratic field. Clinton’s lead over Obama is 21 percentage points in the current poll and has exceeded 20 points in each of five Gallup polls conducted since the beginning of August.

 

The Oct. 4-7, 2007, poll finds 47% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents favoring Clinton for the nomination, with 26% supporting Obama. Former senator John Edwards is the only other candidate in double digits, at 11%. Those three candidates account for 84% of the vote, leaving little support for the remaining contenders, led by New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson at 4%.

 

 

Democratic Nomination Preferences
Oct. 4-7, 2007 Gallup Poll

Candidate

% Support

Hillary Clinton

47

Barack Obama

26

John Edwards

11

Bill Richardson

4

Joe Biden

2

Dennis Kucinich

1

Chris Dodd

1

Mike Gravel

*

Other

1

No opinion

5

 

 

* Less than 0.5%

 

 

These results are nearly identical to those Gallup found in mid-September -- each candidate’s support is the same or varies by only 1 percentage point compared with a Sept. 14-16, 2007, poll. For that matter, the poll results have been quite stable since August. In an Aug. 3-5, 2007, Gallup Poll, Clinton’s support increased from the roughly 40% it had been in June and July to 48%, and she has averaged 47% in the five polls since then.

 

The rise in support for Clinton has not come disproportionately at the expense of any one challenger; rather, most candidates have seen a very slight drop in their support since August.

 

The nomination contest is little different when looking just at the preferences of Democrats who say they are extremely likely to participate in their state’s presidential primary or caucus next year. Among this group (representing about 60% of Democrats), Clinton’s lead dips below 20 points, with 48% preferring her, 29% Obama, and 10% Edwards.

 

Clinton ’s advantage over Obama and Edwards is also evident in Democrats’ basic opinions of the candidates. Eighty-one percent have a favorable opinion of Clinton, compared with a 70% favorable rating for Obama and 69% for Edwards. Clinton’s higher favorable rating does not merely reflect the fact that she is better known than Obama or Edwards, since her net favorable rating (which excludes those without an opinion and is calculated by subtracting the percent unfavorable from the percent favorable) also surpasses those of her chief rivals by double digits.

 

Favorable Ratings of Leading Democratic Candidates
Among Democrats and Democratic-Leaning Independents

 

Favorable

Unfavorable

No opinion

Net Favorable Rating

 

%

%

%

 

Clinton

81

14

5

+67

Obama

70

17

13

+53

Edwards

69

14

17

+55

 

The one area where Clinton appears weak in comparison to Obama and Edwards is in her net favorable rating among all Americans. While Clinton (51%), Obama (54%), and Edwards (48%) have similar favorable ratings, Clinton’s high negatives -- a 44% unfavorable rating -- leave her with a net favorable rating of just +7. In contrast, Obama has a +27 net favorable rating and Edwards +17 among the general public.

 

Favorable Ratings of Leading Democratic Candidates
Among All Americans

 

Favorable

Unfavorable

No opinion

Net Favorable Rating

 

%

%

%

 

Clinton

51

44

5

+7

Obama

54

27

19

+27

Edwards

48

31

21

+17

 

Clinton ’s relatively low net favorable rating reflects the polarized opinions of her -- Republicans are about as negative toward her (19% favorable, 78% unfavorable) as Democrats are positive. But her weak showing on this measure compared with Obama and Edwards may not be a fatal flaw in her quest for the presidency. She still performs just as well as -- if not better than -- Obama and Edwards against the leading Republican candidates in general election trial heat match ups.

 

Additionally, as far as Clinton is concerned, the greater challenge for her presidential viability may not be outperforming Obama and Edwards on favorable ratings but rather keeping her net favorable rating in positive territory. Notably, the current poll finds Clinton with a favorable rating above 50% among all Americans for the first time since May.

Usually, presidential candidates’ favorable ratings decline and their unfavorable ratings climb over the course of the campaign as they become better known and increasingly viewed by the public in a strongly partisan light. As a result, in recent elections, the major party presidential nominees have had favorable ratings not much above 50%.

 

Even though Obama and Edwards have much more positive than negative ratings now, if either is the Democratic nominee he would likely see his ratings decline substantially by November 2008. But the usual campaign dynamic may not apply to Clinton, who is already nearly universally known and has been seen through a partisan lens for a long time. As a result, her favorable ratings may not change much over the course of the campaign. In fact, her current scores are similar to what the presidential nominees’ scores will likely be next November.

 

Clinton ’s favorable ratings have shown some movement this year at the margins, which has pushed these ratings above and below the majority level. There is no historical precedent for a candidate winning the presidency with a favorable rating below 50%, but some have been very close to that mark. For example, only 51% of Americans had a favorable view of George W. Bush in late October 2004.

 

It would seem unlikely that Americans would elect a president whom they view more negatively than positively, and indeed Bush won only a narrow victory over John Kerry in 2004 (who had a similar favorable rating to Bush). Thus, a favorable rating above 50% could be one important indicator of Clinton’s ability to win the presidential election.

 

 

Survey Methods

 

These results are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,010 adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Oct. 4-7, 2007. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of error attributable to sampling and other random effects is ±3 percentage points.

 

For results based on the sample of 488 Democrats and Democratic leaners, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±5 percentage points.

 

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

 

Next, we'd like to get your overall opinion of some people in the news. As I read each name, please say if you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of these people -- or if you have never heard of them.

 

Hillary Clinton

 

Favorable

Unfavorable

No opinion

 

 

%

%

%

 

2007 Oct 4-7

51

44

5

 

2007 Sep 14-16

49

49

2

 

2007 Sep 7-8

49

46

5

 

2007 Aug 13-16

47

48

5

 

2007 Aug 3-5

47

49

3

 

2007 Jul 12-15

47

48

5

 

2007 Jul 6-8

48

48

5

 

2007 Jun 1-3

46

50

3

 

2007 May 10-13

53

45

2

 

2007 May 4-6

50

47

3

 

2007 Apr 13-15

45

52

4

 

2007 Apr 2-5

47

49

4

 

2007 Mar 23-25

48

48

3

 

2007 Mar 2-4

54

42

3

 

2007 Feb 9-11

58

40

1

 

2006 Nov 9-12

53

42

5

 

2006 Jul 28-30

50

44

7

 

2006 Jun 23-25

51

44

5

 

2005 Oct 21-23

54

41

5

 

2005 Jul 25-28

53

43

4

 

2005 May 20-22

55

39

6

 

2005 Feb 25-27

53

41

6

 

2004 Jul 19-21 ^

56

38

6

 

2003 Oct 24-26

51

44

5

 

2003 Sep 19-21

54

40

6

 

2003 Jun 27-29 ^

52

44

4

 

2003 Jun 9-10

53

43

4

 

2003 Mar 14-15

45

46

9

 

2002 Dec 16-17

48

46

6

 

2002 Sep 23-26

47

44

9

 

2001 Aug 3-5

51

44

5

 

2001 Mar 5-7

44

53

3

 

2001 Feb 19-21

49

44

7

 

2001 Feb 1-4

52

43

5

 

2000 Nov 13-15

56

39

5

 

2000 Oct 25-28

52

43

5

 

2000 Aug 4-5

45

50

5

 

2000 Feb 4-6

55

39

6

 

1999 Dec 9-12

48

48

4

 

1999 Sep 23-26

56

40

4

 

1999 Aug 3-4

56

41

3

 

1999 Jul 22-25

62

35

3

 

1999 Jun 25-27

56

42

2

 

1999 Mar 5-7

65

31

4

 

1999 Feb 19-21

65

30

5

 

1999 Feb 4-7

66

31

3

 

1998 Dec 28-29

67

29

4

 

1998 Oct 9-12 ^

63

33

4

 

1998 Sep 14-15

61

33

6

 

1998 Aug 21-23

61

33

6

 

1998 Aug 10-12

60

36

4

 

1998 Aug 7-8

60

35

5

 

1998 Feb 13-15

60

36

4

 

1998 Jan 30-Feb 1

64

34

2

 

1998 Jan 24-25

61

33

6

 

1998 Jan 23-24

60

35

5

 

1997 Dec 18-21

56

38

6

 

1997 Oct 27-29

61

34

5

 

1997 Jun 26-29

51

42

7

 

1997 Feb 24-26

51

42

6

 

1997 Jan 31-Feb 2

55

39

6

 

1997 Jan 10-13

56

37

7

 

1996 Oct 26-29 †

50

42

8

 

1996 Aug 28-29 †

51

41

8

 

1996 Aug 16-18 †

47

48

5

 

1996 Aug 5-7 †

48

45

7

 

1996 Jun 18-19

46

47

6

 

1996 Mar 15-17

47

48

5

 

1996 Jan 12-15

43

51

6

 

1995 Jul 7-9

50

44

6

 

1995 Mar 17-19

49

44

7

 

1995 Jan 16-18

50

44

6

 

1994 Nov 28-29

50

44

6

 

1994 Sep 6-7

48

47

5

 

1994 Jul 15-17

48

46

6

 

1994 Apr 22-24

56

40

4

 

1994 Mar 25-27

52

42

6

 

1994 Mar 7-8

55

40

5

 

1994 Jan 15-17

57

36

7

 

1993 Nov 2-4

58

34

8

 

1993 Sep 24-26

62

27

11

 

1993 Aug 8-10

57

33

10

 

1993 Jul 19-21

56

34

10

 

1993 Apr 22-24

61

27

12

 

1993 Mar 22-24

61

31

8

 

1993 Jan 18-19

59

26

16

 

1992 Nov 10-14

49

30

21

 

1992 Aug 31-Sep 2

56

25

19

 

1992 Jul 17-18

51

24

25

 

1992 Jul 6-8

45

30

27

 

1992 Apr 20-22

38

39

20

 

1992 Mar 20-22

39

26

35

 

 

 

 

 

 

^

Asked of a half sample.

Based on registered voters.

 

2002-March 2003 WORDING: New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.



 

John Edwards

 

Favorable

Unfavorable

Never heard of

No opinion

 

%

%

%

%

2007 Oct 4-7

48

31

11

10

2007 Sep 14-16

51

35

6

7

2007 Sep 7-8

47

32

8

14

2007 Aug 13-16

47

36

8

9

2007 Aug 3-5

47

35

9

10

2007 Jul 12-15

44

33

12

12

2007 Jul 6-8

50

32

8

9

2007 Jun 1-3

44

32

9

15

2007 May 10-13

56

24

11

9

2007 May 4-6

49

31

9

9

2007 Apr 13-15

52

31

6

11

2007 Apr 2-5

53

30

9

9

2007 Mar 23-25

55

25

8

11

2007 Mar 2-4

51

28

9

12

2007 Feb 9-11

49

31

12

8

2006 Dec 8-10

54

21

13

12

2004 Oct 9-10

48

37

6

9

2004 Sep 3-5

56

30

3

11

2004 Aug 23-25 ^

52

28

4

16

2004 Jul 30-Aug 1

59

27

3

11

2004 Jul 19-21 ^

52

26

5

17

2004 Jul 8-11

55

24

6

15

2004 Jan 29-Feb 1

54

21

10

15

2004 Jan 2-5

24

24

27

25

2003 Nov 10-12

22

18

37

23

 

 

 

 

 

^

Asked of a half sample.

WORDING: Former North Carolina Senator, John Edwards.

WORDING: North Carolina Senator, John Edwards.



 

 

Barack Obama

 

Favorable

Unfavorable

Never heard of

No opinion

 

%

%

%

%

2007 Oct 4-7

54

27

11

8

2007 Sep 14-16

56

29

8

7

2007 Sep 7-8

48

32

11

10

2007 Aug 13-16

52

29

9

10

2007 Aug 3-5

48

34

9

9

2007 Jul 12-15

49

26

11

14

2007 Jul 6-8

53

27

11

10

2007 Jun 1-3

53

25

10

13

2007 May 10-13

55

20

16

9

2007 May 4-6

50

24

13

12

2007 Apr 13-15

52

27

10

10

2007 Apr 2-5

49

24

14

12

2007 Mar 23-25

53

24

14

9

2007 Mar 2-4

58

18

15

9

2007 Feb 9-11

53

19

16

12

2006 Dec 8-10 ^

42

11

33

14

 

 

 

 

 

^

WORDING: Illinois Senator, Barack Obama.



 

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