August 13th, 2007
03:48 PM ET
11 years ago

Clinton: Strong, yes; likeable, maybe

Democrats think Clinton is strong, but do they like her?

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Democrats consider New York Sen. Hillary Clinton the most electable candidate in the presidential field, according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll out Monday afternoon.

Democratic voters polled in the new survey also consider the senator from New York to be the strongest leader and the most experienced, but Sen. Barack Obama has a light edge on likeability.

Clinton gets her lowest marks when Democrats are asked which candidate is the most honest.

Fully 59 percent of those questioned in our new poll say Clinton has the right experience to be president. Only 9 percent feel that way about Obama. Meanwhile, 47 percent say she would be the strongest leader, and 46 percent say she is the most qualified to be commander in chief.

Obama is presenting himself on the campaign trail as the candidate of change, but only 27 percent of the Democrats we questioned say the senator from Illinois is most likely to change the country. That’s second to Clinton - 40 percent of those polled say she’s most likely to bring change.

So what are Clinton’s weak points? One appears to be honesty. Just 28 percent say that Clinton is the most honest candidate, compared to 24 percent for Obama.

The other is likeability: 34 percent say Obama is the most likeable candidate, topping Clinton on that measure by three points.

Clinton continues to hold a big lead in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, with a nearly a two-to-one advantage over Obama, her leading rival. In numbers released last week, assuming Al Gore stays out of the race, Clinton is the Democratic frontrunner at 44 percent, with Obama in second place at 24 percent and John Edwards in third with 16 percent.

Rudy Giuliani continues to lead the pack in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. The GOP rank-and-file also consider Giuliani the most likeable and most electable of the candidates in the running. Unannounced candidate Fred Thompson has moved into second place with 22 percent, while John McCain is third with 16 percent. Mitt Romney, at 12 percent, rounds out the top four in the GOP field.

CNN Polling Director Keating Holland finds an interesting difference between the two parties. Holland says, “The Democrats don't necessarily see their frontrunner, Hillary Clinton, as the most likeable candidate in the race. But Republicans rank Rudy Giuliani, who currently tops the list on the GOP side, as the most likeable Republican candidate, and in fact that is Giuliani's biggest strength right now.”

The poll, which was conducted by telephone from August 6-8, is based on interviews with 458 registered voters who describe themselves either as Democrats or as Independents who lean Democratic.

- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser

soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. Lance, Monrovia, CA

    I've been trying and trying to think and articulate why I like Sen. Obama so much and what my major problem with Hilary Clinton is... I've really struggled with this, as I think she'd be an okay president, far better than Bush anyway.

    Then, just recently, it hit me. Now I know why I don't like her nearly as much as Obama or even Edwards. The reason is...exactly what I said. I think she'd be competent, she'd be okay. We'd skate through the next 8 years without attacking anyone blatantly and there'd be some incremental good done. But...THAT'S NOT WHAT WE NEED!!!

    Our next president must be a visionary. We need a leader in the truest sense of the word. I think Hilary would be very content with all the extra power her branch of goverment would have been left by the Bush administration.

    Instead of reversing 8 years of damage, I think she'd be perfectly happy to keep the status quo and keep things like the patriot act and the overall "war on terror" humming along nicely for her benefit. That wouldn't serve the country well. We need somebody to come in with an almighty bulldozer and overhaul the system.

    Our literal survival is as stake in this next election. We are facing global warming, healthcare that's a joke, a world that shows us no compassion and a lot of hate. We have a culture of greed and instant gratification. I don't honestly believe that Hilary Clinton has the sheer vision and courage to make the kind of major changes that need to happen. Even if she logically sees what needs to be done, even if she can talk about it, she can't inspire others to pull it off. I don't believe she'll unite the congress much less the states. I don't believe she'll overcome her lobbist buddies to give us all equal and fair healthcare... she couldn't do it before, why now?

    I DO believe that Barrack Obama or John Edwards could do those things, especially Obama. I think he represents the kind of visionary leader that the country craves and so badly needs.

    Hilary is old school politics, corporate interests, and in general a blase candidate that seems content to rest on her laurels and her reputation.

    She scares me, because I find her uninspiring and I want to be inspired, I want to be told that Americans can sacrifice with the best, take our knocks and handle the truth. She feels like my babysitter instead of my president. Obama or Edwards feel like they understand the vibe of the country.

    I cried when I heard Obama speak during Kerry's convention, because he was so right, there are no blue or red states, we're all The UNITED STATES. I crave simple truths, even if they hurt. I want to sacrifice to make the world better and to unsure that my children's children still live in a free country. I don't want the country I love to be known as an imperial empire, a dictatorial regime bringing democracy on the backs of missles and bullets.

    I want the world to know the good people I know. I want the sort of knowledge, class and courage that the best politicians in history have given this country. It's time for another Abe Lincoln, another JFK, because only a leader that can harness the belief currently lying dormant in this country can pull us safely into the future. I never, ever want to be known as the generation that lost our freedoms to fear and lost our world to neglect and greed. Hilary can't inspire that. She just can't.

    The worst thing that can happen to the next presidential election is that it’s close. If it’s close, the Republicans can use caging, intimidation and voter apathy to steal it yet again. If it’s Hilary, it’s gonna be close, and I’m scared.

    I do, however, believe that Barrack Obama can inspire what needs to be done. He can not only inspire it, he can pull it off. He can do it. He can bring a million people to the polls that have never even bothered to vote before. They may steal 100,000 votes, but can they stop the other 900,000?

    Give him a chance. He and Edwards together would make a great ticket. The Clintons had their chance, lets not live in the past, lets figure out what will make the future.

    Obama/Edwards in '08.

    August 13, 2007 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  2. Gary RPV CA

    Senator Clinton had to get in the line about equipping our men and women. Perhaps she forgot who gutted the military during 8 years of his term.

    Finished the gutting just in time for the need for miltary action.

    August 13, 2007 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  3. Steve, Indianapolis, IN

    Hillary Clinton = George W. Bush 2.0

    August 13, 2007 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  4. Josue Romano, Buena Park, CA

    If people are really looking for a change or something new in politics just wait till Bloomberg jumps in the race, you will forget about all current candidates including Clinton whom I like the most.

    August 13, 2007 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  5. Jerry R, Vaught

    Hillary should know from history that had it not been for the draft during WW II we might not be a nation. We may have been under Japanese or German rule. The only true way to protect America is to be ready for a "Draft". Unfortunately, not everybody believes in protecting our country. Let somebody else do it. When it seems likely that one could very easily be on the "Battlefront", a goodly number of so called brave men, suddenly become "Cowards" and will not serve willingly.

    August 13, 2007 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  6. Andrew, Washington DC

    I couldn't agree w/ you more, Lance. Your comment is one of the most inspiring things I've read recently.

    Plus, don't forget if Clinton was elected we'd have almost 25yrs of presidential power-sharing between 2(!) families. We need something new, not the old guard.

    August 13, 2007 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  7. Stan K., Hinsdale, IL

    If Senator Clinton were to become President, the United States would lose a whole lot of what little credibility it has in the international arena. Take a step back and look at the big picture. Bush becomes President in 1988. Clinton becomes president in 1992. Bush becomes president in 2000 with help from his brother Jeb in the midst of a recount. Bush is relected in 2004. Now Clinton's wife becomes president in 2008? That could mean up to 28 years of Bush/Clinton if she wins in 2008 (assuming re-election in 2012). Yes – that means there will be a generation of youth growing up never remembering a President whose last name is not Bush or Clinton. The world will laugh at our idea of "democracy".

    August 13, 2007 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  8. Henry Tucker, GA

    After 8 years of President Bush – does the country NEED a candidate whose most difficult area is honesty??

    "Clinton gets her lowest marks when Democrats are asked which candidate is the most honest."


    August 13, 2007 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  9. sf, ca

    If anyone thinks system can be or should be overhauled overnight, then they really dont understand what our parents and grandparents did. Just sitting on our lazy bums and wishing system overhaul doesnt work.

    Does anyone of those Obama supporters know that the mortage situation in US has shaken up the financial stability across the world? If you keep talking fluffy change, the world will be more unstable.

    Our parents and grandparents created the system over decades. So have patience and change it one thing at a time. And who says Hillary can not change. For change we need a strong capable leader which Hillary has shown over the years. Let Obama faced the heat, he changed his policies (or explained it numerous times) within a week. Why? Because Obama isnt sure what will stick with the people. Obama needs to learn real facts around the world.

    And if Obama is visionary, lets make him the Secretary of State or UN representative. His visions will help mankind better that way.

    August 13, 2007 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  10. John, Houston, Texas

    To be honest with you, I dont think CLinton's high negatives will be a problem. If she just wins every northern state that John Kerry wins, and of course she is ahead in New Mexico, and Arkansas,she will win. According to the Quinniapic poll, she is neck and neck with Giuliani in Ohio, PA, and Florida. She just has to try to bring her negatives down and she will win, however by not a large margin.

    Americans are just dumb to realize that if they want another four years of Iraq, deficit, horrible health care, poor social security, then be my guest and vote for a Republican.

    Dont make the same mistake twice and regret down the road ahead.

    August 13, 2007 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  11. Bruce Krane Pittsburgh Pennsylvania

    gimme a break – who says you have to like someone to vote for 'em – ain't this 'merica?

    August 13, 2007 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  12. sf, ca

    Someone above talked about state by state poll. I agree with you assessment that Hillary wins when we compare state by state polls. Also, Obama remark of meeting Castro, has made him lose Florida. Clinton wins Florida which will prove to be an important state just like it happened with Gore.

    August 13, 2007 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  13. Vince

    RE: Posted By Lance, Monrovia, CA : August 13, 2007 4:03 pm

    LANCE: AMEN!! I couldn't agree with you more. All the people I hear supporting Hillary can't say any advantages to her presidency other than "experience"...I do NOT agree that we need "experience" for the next 8 years...."exeperience" translates to MORE OF THE SAME!!! Come on America!! Do we REALLY want that? If we really want change we need to vote differently than we have in the past. I truly believe all those that are spouting "experience" as a reason for voting for Hillary are devoid of rational reasons for supporting her and grasping at straws.

    August 13, 2007 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  14. Nancy, Los Angeles, CA

    A candidate that everyone fails to mention is Dennis Kucinich. He is a breath of fresh and I am upset that Obama and Clinton take all the media attention. He stands for change in Health Care and the Iraq war. Those that are tired of media telling you who to vote for, check Dennis Kucinich website and what he stands for. I think you will be pleasantly surprised!!

    August 13, 2007 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  15. Adam, Plano, TX

    hilary doesn't even have much "experience". being first lady isn't the same as being the president, or even a senator, its not even an elected position on her part. her experience in the senate is less than memorable, not to mention her picking the state that would give her the most attention.

    August 13, 2007 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  16. Independent Voter, TN

    Lance from Monrovia:

    Please give the Obama plaudits a rest. We get that you like the guy. Every chance you get, you try to make him sound like the second coming. The rest of us would prefer to have Obama himself convince us of his merits, positions, leadership ability and electability.

    I admire your allegiance, but it's like hearing the same campaign ad over and over again.

    August 13, 2007 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  17. Michael James -- Illinois

    Hmmm, let's see. The findings are "...according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll...' of "Democratic voters" eh?

    First of all, if we are going to talk about electability, shouldn't the poll have included people other than Democrats?

    Lastly, and most importantly, Opinion Research was purchased last year by InfoUSA. InfoUSA is controlled by a hard-core Clintonista named Vinod Gupta. Gupta is a major Clinton/DNC donor and fundraiser, and Lincoln Bedroom guest.

    August 13, 2007 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  18. Joe, Boulder, CO

    I like her.

    Too many people are espousing "change" simply for the sake of change. Things may change under Obama, but I don't believe he has the vision or experience to do it in a way that doesn't leave our dear nation in a dire state of system shock.

    I believe Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Edwards, and Mr. Biden are the only three legitimate candidates.

    August 13, 2007 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  19. Darrius, AR


    The mortgage debacle is ultimately a result of wealth shifting from the poor to the rich. Sub-prime loans, not good credit, giving poor people the illusion that they had more wealth than they really had...get it.

    That is really a function of the control corporate contributors have on our political system. The politicians don't respond to the people, they respond to the money.

    Obama, on the other hand gets his money from the people instead of the corporations. It is just more reasonable to believe that Obama (or Edwards for that matter) would have policies that favor natural persons, because that is where they get their money.


    People have had 15 years to form their opinion of Hillary Clinton. Whether that opinion is bad or good, it isn't going to change now, no matter what.

    August 13, 2007 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  20. Myron, Honolulu, HI

    That’s right Republicans tend to go for candidates that are likeable even if incompetent; whereas, Democrats tend to go for competency even if the candidate isn’t the most likeable.

    Hillary is NOT Paris Hilton or Britney.
    She is a strong, intelligent, compassionate, reserved, capable leader.
    Why, you got a problem with that?

    Anyway if Rudy carries the Republican ticket, the “Right to Life” and the Religious Right will find more harmony, more compassion and more morality in Hillary’s agenda and goals. Compared to Rudy she is much more likeable to mainstream Conservative Ideals! Remember, the Conservatives thought that they had their man under Bush, only to be fully disappointed. When they actually take time to look at the Person and not the adverse ads they will Love Hillary too!

    August 13, 2007 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  21. Uma

    I am die- heart supporter of Hillary Clinton; i do understand peoples' concern about her. But i am telling you that when you meet her in person and talk to her she is totally different. It is all the right wing machine which trying their best to tear her down.Not that i am a woman so support her she is the most qualified person for the post.

    August 13, 2007 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  22. Calvin, Jackson, MI

    It ACTUALLY is really easier... if you wnat four more horrible years of Bush, conservative politics, by all means vote DEMOCRAT. if you think everything is going lovely, vote GOP. Dont regret this at the end, when you were gullible to fall for Giuliani's fear tactics.

    August 13, 2007 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  23. Robert, Los Angeles, CA

    I just saw Hillary Clinton at an event in Los Angeles. She gave me hope that we can repair America. Some say they are not inspired by Hillary. I certainly was. Her command of the issues and credentials make her the only candidate on either side of the aisle that has the gravitas to lead our nation out of the darkest of times.

    August 13, 2007 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  24. Linda, Chandler AZ

    I don't trust any polls conducted by The Clinton News Network.

    August 13, 2007 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  25. Pat, Raleigh, NC

    I totally agree with all that "Lance from CA" has said. The next leader of this country must represent a complete change from the powers that be who have controlled America for the past 20+ years. They must be a fresh, uncompromised voice with the moral authority to inspire our citizens to follow their lead and work together to heal and restore the greatness that once was America.
    Hilary is power hungry and cut from the same cloth as her husband. I don't trust her. She lacks the credibility to breath even a whisper of trust and good faith back into our political process. It will take an extraodinary person to do that after all past 8 years of blatant criminality that has been the Bush regime.
    Barring Al Gore's return to Presidential politics, the two Democrats I feel are most up to this challenge are Obama and Edwards. A ticket with both their names on it (and I frankly don't care in which order) would, I believe come close to the type of leadership this country desperately needs.
    I'm personally sick of watching Hilary stare steel daggers at her fellow candidates. I hate to say it (esp. since I'm a female of Hillary's age and a feminist), but I'm beginning to see her as a fat scorpion primed and ready to strike at anyone who threatens her appetite for power.
    So my vote will most likely go to Obama and/or Edwards, unless they fail to stand up for the Middle Class in the Immigration battle. I will not vote for anyone who is unwilling to defend and fortify our borders, and "throw out" ALL of the illegal aliens now in the U.S. through the simple expedient of ENFORCING the laws now on the books which will remove all incentives for them to remain in the United States. A word of warning to Democratic candidates . . . if you want Independent Middle Class voters to elect you to office you MUST cease pandering to illegal immigrants. If you cannot take a tough stance on that issue in favor of American workers and American owned AND STAFFED industry, then you DO NOT deserve to be elected to the highest office in this land.

    August 13, 2007 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
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