Poll: 63% Say Clinton "Likely" To Win

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) listens as her Iowa campaign co-chair Christie Vilsack speaks following during a meeting at the Lincoln Elementary School May 25, 2007 in Charles City, Iowa. Clinton outlined her plan for the presidency while declaring she would spend a great deal of time campaigning in Iowa.
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A new CBS News/New York Times poll out Thursday shows 63 percent of voters believe it's likely that Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton will be elected the first woman president in U.S. history if she wins her party's nomination.

While opinions about the New York senator are strongly divided by gender, majorities of both men (59 percent) and women (65 percent) surveyed think it's very or somewhat likely Clinton will win the presidency.

Even most Republicans (53 percent) think Clinton will win — as do 77 percent of Democrats.

LIKELY CLINTON WILL WIN IN NOVEMBER 2008? (Among registered voters)

All
Very/somewhat likely
63%
Not very/not at all likely
35%

Women
Very/somewhat likely
65%
Not very/not at all likely
32%

Men
Very/somewhat likely
59%
Not very/not at all likely
40%

The poll shows Clinton continuing to hold a solid lead over the rest of the Democratic field. Among likely Democratic primary voters, she has a 43-24 percent edge over her closest rival, Sen. Barack Obama. Former Sen. John Edwards is third at 16 percent.

On the Republican side, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani remains the front-runner at 33 percent, but still-undeclared candidate Fred Thompson, the actor and former senator, is gaining ground, up to 25 percent. Sen. John McCain has slipped to 15 percent, followed by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at 8 percent.

More voters (75 percent) say Clinton is a strong leader, than say this about Giuliani (71 percent) and Obama (68 percent). Obama has a slight lead over Clinton when voters were asked whether a candidate shares their moral values, while Giuliani trails.

Clinton falls behind, however, on the question of believability. More voters think she's likely to say what people want to hear than say that about either Obama or Giuliani.

IF THESE WERE THE CANDIDATES, WHO WOULD YOU WANT AS THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE? (Among Democratic Primary Voters)

Clinton
43%
Obama
24%
Edwards
16%

IF THESE WERE THE CANDIDATES, WHO WOULD YOU WANT AS THE REPUBLICAN NOMINEE? (Among Republican Primary Voters)

Giuliani
33%
Thompson
25%
McCain
15%
Romney
8%

On specific issues, a majority of voters thinks Clinton would make good decisions on health care (74 percent) and foreign policy (68 percent), while 58 percent think she'd be effective as commander in chief. But many (52 percent) are "uneasy" about her ability to handle an international crisis.

Forty-one percent of voters think Clinton's vote authorizing the Iraq war was a mistake, while 53 percent think it was not. But even those who see it as a mistake don't feel overwhelmingly that she needs to apologize.

There is a significant gender gap on nearly every question asked about Clinton, with women having a more positive opinion of her than men.

The poll suggests that Sen. Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton, will not have a major impact on the election. Half of voters think her marriage to him will not influence her support one way or the other; while voters who think the marriage will have an impact are evenly split between those who think it will help her and those who think it will hurt her.

The poll also asked about President Bush and the U.S. Congress, and both receive the same low overall job approval ratings: 29 percent. Majorities say they're disappointed with both the Democrats and the Republicans in Congress.

Pessimism about the overall direction of the country remains high, too, with more than seven in 10 Americans saying the U.S. is on the wrong track.

This poll was conducted among a random sample of 1,554 adults nationwide, interviewed by telephone July 9-17, 2007. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups is higher. An oversample of women was also conducted for this poll, for a total of 1,068 interviews among this group, by selecting them with higher probability than men in households with both men and women. The weights of men and women in mixed-gender households were adjusted to compensate for their different probabilities of selection. The final weighted distribution of men and women in the sample is in proportion to the composition of the adult population in the U.S. Census.