Giuliani Most Favorably Viewed of Possible 2008 Candidates

by Jeffrey M. Jones

Seventy-seven percent of Americans have favorable view of former New York mayor

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- A review of recent Gallup Polls shows that Rudy Giuliani is the most positively viewed of a group of 11 possible 2008 presidential candidates. A majority of Americans also have positive views of Condoleezza Rice, John Edwards, John McCain, and Hillary Rodham Clinton. Barack Obama is viewed favorably by those who are familiar with him, but remains unknown to about half the public. The public has mixed views of John Kerry, Al Gore, and Newt Gingrich, and is not familiar with Mitt Romney or Sam Brownback. An update on Republicans' and Democrats' preferences for their respective party's 2008 presidential nominees shows few changes, with Giuliani and McCain tied atop the Republican list and Clinton with a significant lead over Obama and the rest of the Democratic field.

The Republican Field

The latest update on rank-and-file Republicans' preferences for the 2008 nomination, from a Dec. 11-14 Gallup Poll, finds McCain and Giuliani tied with 28% support each. Rice is next at 12%, followed by former Speaker of the House Gingrich at 8%. No other Republican hopeful reaches the 5% level, including Massachusetts Gov. Romney, whom some experts expect to emerge as a strong contender in the race.

There has been little change in the relative positioning of the candidates in the last month. The November update showed Giuliani's support at 28% and McCain's at 26%.

(Asked of Republicans and independents who lean to the Republican Party) Next, I'm going to read a list of people who may be running in the Republican primary for president in the next election. After I read all the names, please tell me which of those candidates you would be most likely to support for the Republican nomination for president in the year 2008, or if you would support someone else.

BASED ON 425 REPUBLICANS AND REPUBLICAN LEANERS

 

2006 Dec 11-14

2006 Nov 9-12

%

%

John McCain

28

26

Rudy Giuliani

28

28

Condoleezza Rice

12

13

Newt Gingrich

8

7

Mitt Romney

4

5

Mike Huckabee

2

1

Sam Brownback

2

1

George Allen

2

2

Tommy Thompson

2

--

Chuck Hagel

1

1

George Pataki

1

1

Duncan Hunter

1

*

Bill Frist

--

4

 

 

Other

2

2

None

3

3

All/Any

--

--

No opinion

7

7

The Democratic Field

New York Sen. Clinton is the leader on the Democratic side, with nearly every poll conducted in the past year showing her with a statistically significant lead over the other contenders in the party. The latest Gallup Poll shows 33% of Democrats saying they would be most likely to support her for president. Illinois Sen. Obama, should he run, would appear to be the strongest challenger to Clinton based on the early polls, with about one in five Democrats supporting him.

In addition to those two, former Vice President Gore (12%), former North Carolina Sen. Edwards (8%), and Massachusetts Sen. Kerry (6%) all register more than minimal support. Just 1% favored Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh, who announced he would not seek the nomination after the poll was completed.

(Asked of Democrats and independents who lean to the Democratic Party) Next, I'm going to read a list of people who may be running in the Democratic primary for president in the next election. After I read all the names, please tell me which of those candidates you would be most likely to support for the Democratic nomination for president in the year 2008, or if you would support someone else.

BASED ON 511 DEMOCRATS AND DEMOCRATIC LEANERS

 

2006 Dec 11-14

2006 Nov 9-12

%

%

Hillary Rodham Clinton

33

31

Barack Obama

20

19

Al Gore

12

9

John Edwards

8

10

John Kerry

6

7

Joe Biden

3

4

Wesley Clark

2

3

Bill Richardson

2

2

Evan Bayh ^

1

2

Tom Vilsack

1

1

Christopher Dodd

1

1

Dennis Kucinich

*

--

Russ Feingold

--

1

Tom Daschle

--

1

 

 

Other

2

2

None

3

1

All/Any

1

*

No opinion

5

6

* Less than 0.5%

^ Bayh announced he would not run for president on Dec. 17

Views of the Contenders

Even though Giuliani is closely matched with McCain among Republicans, he easily outdistances all Republican and Democratic contenders in terms of his overall favorability ratings, according to a review of recent Gallup Poll data.

Favorable Ratings of Possible Presidential Candidates,
Gallup Polls


 

Date of poll

Favorable

Unfavor-
able

No
opin-
ion

 

%

%

%

Rudy Giuliani

2006 Dec 8-10

77

12

11

Condoleezza Rice

2006 Aug 18-20

61

26

13

John Edwards

2006 Dec 8-10

54

21

25

John McCain

2006 Nov 9-12

54

23

23

Hillary Rodham Clinton

2006 Nov 9-12

53

42

5

Al Gore

2006 Jun 23-25

48

45

8

John Kerry

2006 Dec 8-10

43

45

11

Barack Obama

2006 Dec 8-10

42

11

47

Newt Gingrich

2003 Jul 25-27

39

42

19

Mitt Romney

2006 Dec 8-10

19

12

69

Sam Brownback

2006 Jun 23-25

10

13

76

Seventy-seven percent of Americans have a favorable view of Giuliani. The next-most-positively rated possible contender is Rice, who received a 61% favorable rating in August, when Americans were last asked about her. Edwards, McCain, and Clinton all reside north of the 50% mark, although Clinton's unfavorables are roughly twice those of Edwards and McCain.

Opinions of Obama, a relative newcomer on the political scene, are much more positive (42%) than negative (11%), though nearly half of Americans, 47%, are not familiar enough with Obama to rate him.

Romney is even less well-known than Obama: 69% of Americans cannot provide a rating of the outgoing Massachusetts governor. But those who have an opinion are more likely to give him a positive (19%) than a negative (12%) rating.

In addition to Clinton, Gore (45%), Kerry (45%), and Gingrich (42%) have high unfavorable ratings. Such ratings are not necessarily an indicator of doom when it comes to winning the nomination if not the presidency, although they do make it more of a challenge. George W. Bush had a 46% unfavorable rating in 2004 and 39% in 2000. Gore's unfavorable rating was also 39% when he edged Bush in the 2000 popular vote. Forty percent of likely voters viewed Bill Clinton unfavorably when he won an easy election in 1996.

Hillary Clinton is clearly the most polarizing candidate -- 86% of Democrats view her favorably, compared with just 13% of Republicans. Democrats do not view Edwards and Obama as positively as they view Clinton, but Republicans view the two more positively than Clinton. A majority of Republicans, Democrats, and independents have favorable opinions of both McCain and Giuliani.

Favorable Ratings of Possible Presidential Candidates,
Gallup Polls, by Party


 

Overall

Democrats

Indepen-
dents

Republicans

%

%

%

%

Rudy Giuliani

77

70

72

92

Condoleezza Rice

61

43

53

86

John Edwards

54

72

51

36

John McCain

54

51

51

63

Hillary Rodham Clinton

53

86

48

13

Al Gore

48

69

47

19

John Kerry

43

67

40

16

Barack Obama

42

58

39

28

Newt Gingrich

39

27

30

59

Mitt Romney

19

14

19

23

Sam Brownback

10

8

11

10

Survey Methods

These results are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,010 adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Dec. 11-14, 2006. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is ±3 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.

For results based on the sample of 425 Republicans or Republican leaners, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±6 percentage points.

For results based on the sample of 511 Democrats or Democratic leaners, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±5 percentage points.

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