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