June 11th, 2007
06:34 PM ET
4 years ago

Poll: Clinton stronger leader, Obama more likeable

Clinton has increased her lead over Obama in New Hampshire according to a new CNN/WMUR poll.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton appears to have lengthened her lead among likely New Hampshire primary voters after last week's debate among Democratic presidential candidates, winning points for being strong, even if she's not necessarily the most likeable, a poll said Monday.

The CNN/WMUR presidential primary poll, conducted by the University of New Hampshire, placed the senator from New York at the front of the pack, supported by 36 percent of likely voters versus 22 percent for Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, her closest rival. (Read full poll results [PDF])

Since April, Clinton's support has grown by 9 points - from 27 percent, the poll said. Obama's position has grown by just 2 points - from 20 percent - in April.

Most of those increases appear to have come at the expense of Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, whose support tumbled from 21 percent in April to his current 12 percent.

Former Vice President Al Gore, who has not said he is running, tied Edwards at 12 percent, up from 11 percent in April. And New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson garnered 10 percent, up from 4 percent in April. The rest of the field included Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, with 4 percent; Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, with 1 percent; and Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut and former Sen. Mike Gravel of Alaska, each of whom garnered less than 0.5 percent.

Clinton fell behind when it came to likeability. Asked which candidate is most likeable, likely voters cited Obama (40 percent) nearly three times as often as Clinton (14 percent). Clinton also trailed Edwards (20 percent) while Gore attracted 9 percent and Richardson 6 percent.

But the former first lady fared considerably better when likely voters were asked which candidate is the strongest leader. She led the pack, with 48 percent, followed distantly by Gore and Obama - each with 12 percent - and then Edwards, with 6 percent.

Asked which candidate has the best chance of beating the Republican nominee in November's general election, Clinton again came out on top, with 37 percent, more than double the 15 percent garnered by Obama and more than triple the 12 percent who cited Gore or the 10 percent who cited Edwards.

Since the April poll, Iraq gained in importance, with 57 percent citing it as the most important issue that will affect their vote in the primary, up from 39 percent.

Health care was cited by just 8 percent, down from 21 percent in April. The economy also attracted 8 percent, down from 11 percent in April.

New Hampshire holds the nation's first primary, part of the process by which the Democratic and Republican parties select their candidate for the general elections, to be held in November 2008.

The telephone poll of 309 Granite State residents who say they will vote in the primary has a sampling error of plus-or-minus 5.5 points. It was carried out Wednesday through Sunday, after the June 3 debate among Democratic presidential candidates, which was sponsored by CNN, the New Hampshire Union-Leader and WMUR-TV.


Filed under: New Hampshire • Polls • Uncategorized
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Alex Luthor, Madison, WI

    Gee, there seems to be a correlation between how much time each candidate got to speak and what questions were asked of them, and how they came out in this poll.

    Way to go Wolf and CNN! Thanks for choosing our candidates for us!

    June 11, 2007 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  2. Tim Shore, Greensboro, NC

    John Edwards is CLEARLY the strongest leader and is CLEARLY the one who can beat a Republican in the general election. But Democrats do not enjoy winning, so they will elect Hillary and lose. John Edwards should be the nominee and should have been last time or we would not have lost. Why won't the Democrats pick a nominee who can WIN? Vote for John!

    June 11, 2007 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  3. Matt, Austin, Texas

    Any of the top Democratic candidates can beat any of the top Repubs. These early polls really don't mean much at all; the candidate that 300 people in New Hampshire thinks has the best chance of beating a Repub is a pretty useless and unrealistic statistic.

    June 11, 2007 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  4. Will, Aragon, Georgia

    I favor Clinton nor Obama. I favor John Edwards, he has a plan for health care, to end poverty, and to end the war in Iraq.

    Please Vote for Edwards in 08

    June 11, 2007 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  5. Al, KS

    There is such a long way to go. At some point...maybe just before the primary...many of those who want to vote for a so called second tier candidate (and I include Edwards in the second tier) will realize that only Clinton and Obama are really in the running. Where those voters land will be the story in the end. I suspect most that Edwards Richardson and Gore voters will eventually settle on Obama. Nobody is at 50% yet.

    June 11, 2007 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  6. Matt Houston, Texas

    I bet I am not alone in saying that I would vote for Obama or Edwards, but will never vote for Clinton.

    As someone else said, she is only a candidate because of her husband, not because of anything she has done.

    June 11, 2007 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  7. Tricia M Charlottetown, PEI Candaa

    I don't feel John Edwards would have the ratings he has if not for his wife's illness. And quite frankly I don't consider a man who put his Presidential aspirations ahead of his wife's serious illness an admirable quality. Her verbal support for him to continue with his campaign doesn't cut it with me. Any wife would have felt obligated to do the same but a man with Presidential qualities certainly would have put his wife first despite her wishes.

    I don't see Edwards having many favourable Presidential qualities either. He comes off as cocky, arrogant, and irresponsible to me which is how I also saw and still see Bush. The world doesn't need another Bush for sure. I continue to pray that Americans don't make another mistake as the world can't afford or sustain another one.

    June 11, 2007 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  8. Matt Lunger, Tallahassee FL

    What about Bill Richardson? Gaining 10% of the vote is huge for a candidate most thought was the disappointment of the debate.

    June 11, 2007 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  9. Chris, Phoenix

    Matt from Texas said "I bet I am not alone in saying that I would vote for Obama or Edwards, but will never vote for Clinton.

    As someone else said, she is only a candidate because of her husband, not because of anything she has done."

    That is not even close to true. I'm not sure yet who I'll vote for, but Hillary has a longer senate career than either Obama or Edwards. Not to mention 8 years serving as an active First Lady (not like the Bush women who drink tea and knit all day). I know it's hard for some people to accept, but she actually has a better resume than most of the democrats that are running.

    Clinton may not be your choice (or mine when it's time to vote), but you cannot say she is only a candidate because of Bill. That is demeaning and borderline sexist.

    June 11, 2007 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  10. Rex Crouch, Houghton, Michigan

    Hillary Clinton a stronger leader that Barack Obama?

    Let me present a question that is not intended to be mean but rather a reality check. Why do the people of America know who Hillary Clinton is?

    Take Dr. Condoleezza Rice for example. As a teenager she became a concert pianist (still playing for charities today). She earned her BS in Political Science at age 20 graduating as Cum Laude, one year later she earned her masters degree from Notre Dame, by age 27 she earned her doctorates, and she’s a tenured professor at Stanford University. Dr. Rice earned her own way every step of the way and demonstrates strong leadership daily.

    So lets go back to Hillary Clinton and just be honest. The only reason anybody in the world knows who Hillary Clinton is, is because she is married to Bill Clinton. Hillary rode into the national spotlight not on her own merit but on the shirttail of a man and in my world that does not make you a strong leader—just an opportunist.

    Barack Obama on the other hand earned his way through his execution of good leadership.

    June 11, 2007 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  11. Zach, East Lansing, MI

    Wow, CNN running good news about all of the top Democratic nominees and telling all about the Democratic issues that they want to steal our money for. Does CNN even try to be non-partisan anymore? How can anyone call this journalism?

    June 11, 2007 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  12. DMW, Roeland Park, KS

    Hillary is not treated fairly. She has done nothing wrong. She is a strong, intelligent, working woman and for some reason, our society still feels something is not right about that.

    Someone, please tell me what Hillary has done that was so wrong or immoral to cause such hate and dislike. Are you all afraid of a woman who can run the country (yep, that's it)

    For such a Christian society (not!) ya'll sure can be judgemental and give redemption to the likes of Guilini, Newt, and all of the other males who have reason for us to ask about their character and not to Hillary who, from what I can determine has not done anything to warrant the dislike.

    Hillary, keep going and be strong.

    June 11, 2007 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  13. Stephen, Nashville, TN

    It's interesting that Tim Shore uses such strong language to endorse Edwards's chance in the general election. He certainly wasn't able to help put Kerry over the top in an election against a sitting President widely reviled by the Democratic base (and many moderates). What makes Edwards's chances so CLEAR now?

    June 11, 2007 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  14. Karen, Sound Beach, New York

    Obama all the way!! He has everything we need in a president. Hilary scares me and I agree that she is not very likeabe!

    June 11, 2007 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  15. Will, South Carolina

    I'm voting for someone with some intellect, Bill Richardson. Ron Paul is also coming on strong in my book for being genuine.

    June 11, 2007 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  16. Kim, Mpls. MN

    I hope CNN continues to go back to the 309 people they polled and track their response throughout the campaign, otherwise this type of result is completely useless. Does anyone know what a standard sampling pool size is?

    June 11, 2007 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  17. Melissa, Dayton, Ohio

    Edwards a leader? What? WHAT? I don't think so.

    Actually, I don't particularly care for most of the lot, though I like them as human beings.

    Sure wish General Wesley Clark was in the race. Now THAT is a leader!

    June 11, 2007 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  18. DJ, Los Angeles, CA

    Please anybody but Clinton. She is all talk with little substance.

    Since she has a huge lead in the polls...her advisors are content to continue to be all talk. She will avoid talking about the issues altogether and stick with soundbyte statements.

    At this point, anybody that has a different agenda than Bush would be an improvement.

    It seems the Republican candidates seem to want to simply continue more of the same failed Bush policies.

    June 11, 2007 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  19. James Dolan, Millsboro, Delaware

    Sen. Biden, along with Sen. Edwards and unlike the others, offers actual responses to questions. By actual responses, I mean that Sen. Biden describes how he would act as president when given a certain scenario by a moderator. We do not need the platitudes and antics of the first tier candidates who are afraid that actual answers will hurt them in the polls.

    Despite inaccurate stories about Biden "plagiarizing" in his last campaign, he is the most honest! If you look at the evidence he clearly cited his source in other speeches and merely forgot during one. Those of you who are in large states should trust those of us in smaller ones vis-a-vis our candidates. We get to meet them, go to Church with them, etc. I can assure you that Sen. Biden is honest even though his tongue is perhaps bronze or copper in comparison to other Democratic candidates.

    June 11, 2007 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  20. M, Chicago, Illinois

    Boy, if any of this crop can beat the GOP, it is not inexperienced Edwards. Or inexperienced Obama. Or Senator Clinton. Actually, of the current field, Richardson is the most qualified for the job. Gore or Clark would be perfect in the General Election and it is too bad they are not in and we do not have more viable general election choices.

    June 11, 2007 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  21. Mike Fahy, Washington Pennsylvania

    It seems to me that Clinton is either a like-or-hate candidate. i personally favor obama greatly, and believe he has the strongest general election strength because of his appeal to independents. Clinton, in my opinion, will lose the general election because every american knows her, and therefore has an opinion on her. They either like her,(minority)or dislike her(majority). Just check out CNN's National general election polls! they justify everything i've just said.

    June 11, 2007 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  22. Cliff, Philadelphia, PA

    Fortunately, there is still a long way to go before people go to the polls. Between now and then, Obama's leadership skills will become more familiar to people, while it is highly unlikely that many folks will come to "like" Hillary Clinton any more than they already do now.

    One of the primary problems people have with Obama is a perceived lack of experience, perhaps more specifically, leadership experience. I would counter that lack of experience is not what people are perceiving, but rather a breathlessly swift, compressed chronological timeline of profoundly successful leadership experience. There was a reason he was approached to run for a seat in the Illinois State Senate and won in 1996, was re-elected to in 1998, and again in 2002. There was a reason why he was asked to deliver the Keynote address at the 2004 Democratic Convention. There was a reason why he was able to win a landslide victory for a Freshman seat in the U.S. Senate in 2006. Yep...the man is likeable.

    I think it is safe to say that people are more likely to be inspired by people they like, than those they dislike. I think it is safe to say that people will work harder for people they like, than those they dislike. I think it is safe to say that an enemy would be more inclined to appease, capitulate, and at least negotiate with someone having a personality that appeals to them, than one that does not.

    Don't get me wrong, "likeability" is NOT the reason anyone should ever win office, BUT, it sure doesn't hurt, and when it comes time later in this campaign for people to really hunker down and learn about these candidates, and pay attention to what they are saying, how they are saying it, what they mean by what they say, and how their actions and plans for action align with their words, we will see alot more people come to the side of Barack Obama, not just because they like him, but because of all the reasons why.

    Obama is the real deal. He manifests exactly what our country needs at this point in our history. I think Hillary Clinton, and other Democratic and Republican candidates could also prove to be effective Presidents to some extent, but none, in my humble opinion, bring the sense of higher purpose and ability to succeed and lead than Barack Obama.

    June 11, 2007 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  23. Kyle, Columbia SC

    John Edwards wont even carry South Carolina this primary season it's a man standing in his way that has won the minds/souls/and spirits of folks across the country. I don't think I need to say his name and its evident in money raised, magnitude of crowds and the cry for change in our political system. Hillary can't win solely on the back of Bill and she's done absolutly nothing to convince me that she can be an effective president/leader. Her flip-flopping ways will only be a dream of how the Republicans bashed Kerry. Hillary is like a robot and she blows with the wind. Prime ex. when she was down in Ala. she talked as one of us and SHE'S NOT!! We don't like to be played and that not only touched me but many other of my black friends. A SLEEPING GAINT WILL AWAKEN THIS COMING PRIMARY SEASON.......

    June 11, 2007 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  24. David Slabodnik, Parker, CO

    When it comes to the Democrats, SOO much of this is based on outward appearance this go-round. Many focus on Hilary as woman, Obama as an African-American, and Edwards because he is younger and attractive. However, they're ALL Senators, and don't have much experience. I TRULY feel Bill Richardson, while perhaps not the 'sexiest' candidate, is the most qualified and Down-to-Earth. If you haven't already, I encourage you to take 5 mins. to look over his resume and see where he stands on the issues. You'll be impressed, much as I was! The others should be playing catch-up to him!

    June 11, 2007 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  25. Michael Messecar - Stamford, CT

    I like Senator Obama but I like Senator Hillary Clinton even more as my choice for President because she has more experience and she is the only person running for President who made a promise that if the Iraq war is still going on when she is President that she would end it. Senator Clinton is a very likeable person, she is smart, funny at times, tough on terror yet at the same time she uses common sense and listens to what the American people are saying, and she is reaching out to the middle class and the poor. John Edwards forget, he is too weak.

    June 11, 2007 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
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