December 20 2007

One News Now: Poll highlights Clinton likeability problem

Allison Kasic

The poll conducted by The Washington Times and Rasmussen Reports finds that 40 percent of Americans say they would vote to keep Senator Clinton (D-New York) from winning the presidency. More than half of the adult men younger than 40 surveyed said they would use their vote to keep the former first lady from returning to the White House. Pollster Scott Rasmussen tells Reuters that Mrs. Clinton is better known than any other presidential candidate -- and that she has "a lot of people who love her and a lot of people who hate her."

Alison Kasic with the Independent Women's Forum (IWF) says the survey shows that Clinton is not the invincible candidate some have portrayed her to be. Kasic notes that the junior senator from New York began as the Democrats' "inevitable candidate," but over time has lost momentum while Senator Barack Obama (D-Illinois) has gained.

"Now all of a sudden people aren't so sure that she's the inevitable candidate," Kasic observes. "And unless something changes, it looks like she's going to lose Iowa." On top of that, says the IWF spokeswoman, the former first lady is not doing as well in some of the early primaries states as she would probably prefer. "She's still a very strong candidate, and it's not like it's 'game over' for Obama," adds Kasic, "but I think that she's lost her sense of inevitability."

The poll also gives credence to the argument that Mrs. Clinton would be a drag on the Democratic ticket in the general election, says Kasic. She contends that the senator's "electability and likeability" is a major issue in the campaign -- and therefore, people should be paying attention to these polls.

"She's been running as the most qualified, experienced candidate, and [saying] that she can win," Kasic points out. "[And while] she still could win, [these numbers] do have to kind of call that into question. So I think [for] the primary voters and general election voters, this is something to take into consideration."

Senator Clinton garnered more than twice the total of the second-place finisher in the Times-Rasmussen "anti"-candidate survey. Seventeen percent of Americans said former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is the candidate they "most want to prevent from becoming president." Other "leading" candidates in the survey were Obama with 11 percent, and Mitt Romney (7 percent).

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