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. Calvin, Jackson, MI

    Sorry, its Calvin....

    I typed the wrong message. If you want four more years of Bush, vote GOP. If you want change, vote DEMOCRAT.

    Its really easier.......LOL

    August 13, 2007 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  2. VanReuter NY NY

    How many more times will cnn let Lance post the same thing?
    The Obama operatives who flood this board with anti-Hillary smears are becoming tiresome. She will be our next President, and Obama will be campaigning for her.


    August 13, 2007 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  3. Monique, Honolulu Hawaii

    While having charisma and a likeable personality may help a candidate win, what ultimately matters in the end is how the president handles actual political matters while in office. With enough practice and a genius speech writer, anyone can spew magical words for the people to fall in love with. It's difficult to determine if a candidate will actually deliver the goods if elected, unless we know of their past experiences.

    I'm still not sure who I'd want as the Democratic candidate, but I hope people will look past how a candidate presents him/herself and look deeper into their past actions and current positions.

    August 13, 2007 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  4. Dan, TX

    I also agree with Lance.

    Obama is smart and will learn quickly. He may be a little naive and inexperienced. So much so that he'd likely put America first, rather than the people he "owes".

    That's not to say that Clinton would be a bad president. She will most likely win the primaries and I would most likely vote for her in the general election.

    I think the best we can hope for is that Clinton doesn't screw up too badly, and then Obama or someone with his vision will follow and really lead the country forward.

    August 13, 2007 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  5. Annette Wallace, Sanford, North Carolina

    It's time someone said it and I guess I'm the one:
    The people who don't like Mrs. Clinton are the same angry white males who think that a woman's place should be in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant. What they really want is a Stepford wife, which Mrs. Clinton certainly is not. I love seeing this strong woman speak knowledgeably about the issues that concern women, children and families in America.

    August 13, 2007 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  6. Greg, Phoenix, AZ

    Let's see here, Clinton has serious questions about honesty and likeability. Those character traits seem to be just a tad bit important now don't they.

    And this is among the CNN AUDIENCE!

    Add this nightmare to this past weekend's stories about Democrat's concerns regarding her unprecedented negative ratings and the overall negative effect her campaign will likely have on the Democratic party as a whole and I think the folks over at camp Hill are probably get a little shaky.

    Turn out the lights baby, the party will soon be over!

    August 13, 2007 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  7. Pat, Raleigh, NC

    RE: VanReuter NY,NY's Comment – "How many more times will cnn let Lance post the same thing? The Obama operatives who flood this board with anti-Hillary smears are becoming tiresome."
    Got news for you chump, I'm an Independant voter who is not an operative of any kind for anyone. I post what I believe. And from conversations with my peers and colleagues, I can assure you that I'm not alone in my convictions. You're welcome to ignore and discredit my opinion at your peril . . . that won't change my vote or the votes of those who feel the way I do about Hillary. You'd better take us seriously . . . we're out there and we're planning to be at the polls in November 08.

    August 13, 2007 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  8. Marsha, Portland, OR

    Well, I like Clinton, and I think she's honest. Oh, and did I mention I'm voting for her?

    August 13, 2007 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  9. Chelsea A. Garen, Vista, California

    Senator Hillary is the best candiate right now ! She can lead our nation to the bright and shining moment.
    There are lots of chaos in the current situations, and we do need a strong and best qualified leader to fix the problems our nation faced.
    So far, it's found that she is the best person to be 2008 our commander in chief !

    August 13, 2007 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  10. Pat, Raleigh, NC

    Re: Annette/Sanford's comment that: "The people who don't like Mrs. Clinton are the same angry white males who think that a woman's place should be in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant . . . etc."
    Put on your reading glasses Annette, I for one am no angry male chauvinist pig. I clearly stated I'm a woman of Hillary's age who's also a lifelong feminist. In addition, I'm a registered Independant, divorced 30 years ago, who's worked all her life AND who purchased and owns her own home. Not so easy to pidgeonhole, eh? And many of my feminist friends are also NOT fans of Hillary Clinton. Again, in case you didn't catch my drift, many of us are looking for a strong candidate (of EITHER sex and ANY race)whose strength emanates from his or her credibility and moral authority to lead this nation in the right direction, away from hypocritically manipulative, divisive fraudulent non-issues and toward solving the real problems that face this nation. Unfortunately, though Hillary may give lip service to many of those issues, I and many of my friends and colleagues feel she lacks the credibility and moral authority to inspire us to believe in and follow her lead.

    August 13, 2007 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  11. Bobcat/ Ellisville, MS

    Godspeed HIllary. Make Bill ambassador to the UN and restore America's world standing. Hillary Clinton/General Wesley Clark 2008. We've had enough Republican greed and incompetence.

    August 13, 2007 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  12. Joe in NC

    Likeability is certainly important in a presidential election, and Hillary's lack thereof will certainly hurt her campaign, but it doesn't nean she can't win. After all, Nixon and LBJ both won elections.

    August 13, 2007 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  13. Danny, San Diego, CA

    How did Obama fare as a Senator? Aside from voting against the Iraq War (which is a good choice), I can't really name anything.

    But you know what, he made a great speech!

    Obama for President!

    August 13, 2007 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  14. Pat, Raleigh, NC

    Likeability isn't all that important. Possessing the credibility and moral authority to lead (even in unpopular issues) is critically important, especially at this point in time. Based on her blatant hunger for power, the fact that she is tainted by her acceptance of PAC and lobbyist funding of her campaign, the highly questionable issues in her past legal history, and her too-close association with and support of her husband's failed trade policies (eg. NAFTA), to cite only a few examples, Hillary simply does not possess the credibility or moral authority to lead us out of the morass of corrupt politics as usual in Washington, DC. They are way too much a part of it all.

    August 13, 2007 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  15. Greg, Phoenix, AZ

    Joe in NC,

    What about the honesty part?

    Wouldn't you say that that was a LITTLE important as well?

    August 13, 2007 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  16. Art, Maryland

    After reading Lance's comments, I can see how the media has definitely influenced people with incorrect or incomplete information.

    Unfortunately, Bush is not the communicator that Clinton is so it is more difficult for people to see what he has done. Has he made mistakes? Absolutely. But which president hasn't? However I do believe that we are far better off than we were at the end of the Clinton era. We do not need another era of Clinton inaction.

    Here are some facts to consider:
    1) War on terror. Clinton did nothing after the World Trade Center bombing in 1993 and he did very little after the Cole bombing. He represented the US as the nice guys and didn't pursue the terrorists. Nor did he do anything to solve the problems with interagency communications (FBI not communicating with CIA, etc.). Nor did he do anything to protect our borders. Bush created Homeland Security which, while not perfect, has closed many of the gaps that Clinton left wide open. While there is much debate about whether we should have gone to war with Iraq, there is no question that far more damage has been done to Al-Qaeda's structure than anything Clinton did. Also since we have been in Iraq, raids on terrorist organizations have given us valuable information that we would otherwise not have had access to – all of which has helped prevent additional terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. But, of course, these accomplishments are never mentioned in the media.

    2) Honesty. During Bill Clinton's 8 year presidency, he pardoned 396 people, a good portion of which were for drug offenses. During Bush 1's 4 year presidency, he pardoned 74 people, mostly for lesser offenses such as theft and income tax evasion. See Since Bill and Hillary are similar thinking, I can see how people don't trust her.

    3) Global warming. Everyone is scared to death of global warming. Consider that 4 of the top 10 warmest years on record were in the 1930s: 1934, 1931, 1938, and 1939 while only 3 of the top 10 were in the last 10 years: 1998, 2006, and 1999. Don't hear much about this from Al Gore, do you? See

    4) Healthcare. Lance states that our healthcare is a joke. Ok – it could be better, I'll give you that but next time you are sick, why don't you go to Canada and wait in line to be treated and hope that you don't die first. The U.S. pharmaceutical industry develops more life-saving drugs than any other country. Is our problem really our healthcare system or is it due to the fact that we have become a country of large and obese people which is causing many of our health woes?

    As far as Obama goes, I think he is a great communicator which is what draws people to him. I believe he is just another politician that speaks a good game. My vote will go to Guiliani. He cleaned up New York and made it successful. Are his methods unorthodox? Yes, they are. But right now, our biggest threat are terrorists and nations that support them. I'm not convinced that Obama will lead us in the right direction.

    But regardless of who you choose, do some research and THINK beyond what the media reports. For example, the war in Iraq is not popular and it appears we are failing but how often do you hear that our military has obtained data from a disk drive that has helped prevent more attacks? It happens a lot more frequently than you hear about.

    Think beyond the issue, do some research, and validate what is reported. When you do this, you'll make a truly informed decision. If you listen to what is reported in the media, you are more than likely going to vote for the wrong candidate, whoever he/she may be.

    August 13, 2007 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  17. OEST, Raleigh, NC

    And just how many of those people polled think Clinton = Bill Clinton.

    We live in a country where at least 1/3 don't have a clue who the Vice-President is, and you all think that many respondents in these polls don't automatically think "Bill Clinton" whenever they see the name "Clinton" as an option?


    I surmise that at least 10-15% of all of Hillary Clinton's support in every poll that doesn't include her full name is support from people who are thinking Bill Clinton, not Hillary Clinton, and another 5% like her just because of Bill Clinton.

    Of course "Bill Clinton" is more experienced than the others, considering the fact that Hillary Clinton is a lot less experienced than Dennis Kucinich, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, Bill Richardson, and no more experienced than John Edwards and Barack Obama.

    August 13, 2007 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  18. Larry, West Covina, Ca

    Lance, my fellow Californian, if you want to be inspired go to a Anthony Robbins seminar. If you want a president who will get our country in the right direction.....VOTE FOR HILLARY!!!

    August 13, 2007 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  19. Pat, Raleigh, NC

    That's interesting . . . wonder why they deleted my posting showing the list of reasons why I feel Hillary lacks the credibility/moral authority to lead the country? . . .

    August 13, 2007 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  20. Ryan, Provo,UT

    Who are these people that believe Hillary is the most electable candidate? And what in the world are they basing that on? She is not electable in any way shape or form. All the poles say that if Hillary goes up against Rudy (the most likely GOP candidate) she loses. A vote for Hillary in the primaries is a vote for the GOP in the general election.

    August 13, 2007 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  21. Billy George, Gold River, British Columbia, Canada

    I hear a lot of issues from home land securities, to health, etc. But I don't hear, or have never heard anything about the Native American issues and their rights. What does Clinton say about this?

    August 13, 2007 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  22. Terri, Knoxville, TN

    All are CFR (Council of Foreign Relations) Research that. The only person that isn't is Ron Paul. Don't be scared to not research, you may find the truth in what is wrong with this country.

    August 13, 2007 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  23. Jon, Woodbridge, NJ

    I wish people would stop treating this like shopping for a new breakfast cereal. Experience DOES matter. The stability and strength of the U.S. in this world is more important than many people seem to realize. You don't just "shake things up" and see where it all falls out. We are not alone in this world and while change is a good thing, we need incremental, directed, common-sense change, not a carnival. You can't just try a new idea each week and see if one sticks.

    I think Hillary (and any Democrat) would be FAR superior to what we've been living with, but I don't trust someone to lead a major superpower just because he's got a fresh face and bright, sunny ideas. It takes a heck of a lot more, like experience, know-how about the way the world really works (not just how we wish it would work) and high-level connections. I think Hillary has got all of those.

    August 13, 2007 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  24. Kevin NH

    Hillary Clinton : The Republicans best hope for 2008. Democrats have made it a habit of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. 2008 might be the same if people don't wise up.

    August 14, 2007 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  25. KEvin, NH

    I don't dislike Hillary, i think she can do the Job. BUT, i think this coming election should be about the best fit for the Job in regard to what the country needs. A divided country can not solve the myriad challenges facing America like Terrorism, Education, Health care and Immigration. We need someone who can bring people together. Hillary's too polarizing to accomplish that. She's gearing to take on the right wing machine whilst Americans are tired of that kind of politics. Obama/ Edwards.

    August 14, 2007 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
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