Poll: Democrats Favor Clinton Over Obama

This combination of file photos shows Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., left, on April 27, 2006 and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2006. AP

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton holds a 17-point edge over Sen. Barack Obama among Democratic voters in a match-up of the two candidates seen as likely frontrunners in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, according to a CBS News poll.

Faced with the prospect of choosing between them, 45 percent of Democratic primary voters said they favored Clinton, while 28 percent preferred Obama.

Clinton, D-N.Y., gets mixed reviews from the overall voting public, but is very popular with Democrats.

Among all registered voters, she is viewed favorably by 36 percent and unfavorably by the same number. However, 57 percent of Democratic primary voters have a favorable opinion of her, while 12 percent are not favorable.

CLINTON VS. OBAMA?
(Among Democratic Primary Voters)

Clinton
45%
Obama
28%
Neither one
11%

Obama, still in his first term in the Senate, remains unknown to many voters, including Democrats, but those with an opinion like him.

Among all registered voters, 29 percent view him favorably and 9 percent unfavorably. Forty-one percent say they don't know enough about him to form an opinion.

Read the complete CBS News poll results.
Among Democratic primary voters, 40 percent have a favorable opinion of Obama, while just 3 percent have a negative opinion. But even among Democrats, four in 10 say they don't know enough about him.

Clinton is seen as a strong leader by both Democratic primary voters and by the public at large. A majority also thinks she has the right experience to be president. But four in 10 Americans (and almost three in 10 Democrats) doubt she can win the election.

Obama is also seen as a strong leader, but there are doubts — nationally and within his own party — about whether he has enough experience. About three in 10 Americans, and the same number of Democratic primary voters, doubt he can be elected.

OPINION OF …
(Among Democratic Primary Voters)

CLINTON

Favorable
57%
Not favorable
12%
Undecided
27%
Don't know enough yet
3%

OBAMA

Favorable
40%
Not favorable
3%
Undecided
16%
Don't know enough yet
40%

Sixteen percent of all registered voters said Clinton has less honesty and integrity than most people in public life. Among Democratic primary voters, that number shrank to 5 percent. Hardly anyone said Obama has less honesty and integrity than most people in public life.

Clinton, who hopes to become the first woman president, leads Obama, who is looking to become the first black to win the White House, by 24 points among African-American Democratic voters — an even greater margin than her lead among white Democrats. There's also a gender gap among Democratic voters, with women favoring Clinton by 26 points, while her lead among men is 7 points.

Both Obama and Clinton may face obstacles white male candidates do not face.

About eight in 10 Americans say they would vote for a "qualified" woman from either party for president, and nearly nine in 10 say they'd vote for a "qualified" black candidate of either party.

However, what Americans say they would personally do and what they think other Americans might do differs. Asked whether America was ready to elect a woman president, 54 percent said yes, while 39 percent said no.

IS AMERICA READY TO ELECT A WOMAN PRESIDENT?

Yes
54%
No
39%

There were significant partisan differences here, with two in three Democrats saying America is ready for a woman president, but only 35 percent of Republicans agree.

A majority of Americans, 55 percent, said the country is ready to elect a black president, while 35 percent said it's not. But whites are more likely than blacks to think this is possible.

IS AMERICA READY TO ELECT A BLACK PRESIDENT?

Yes
55%
No
35%

Democrats are also more likely than Republicans to say America is ready to elect a black president — 66 percent of Democrats say it is, while only 51 percent of Republicans agree.

The CBS News poll was conducted as Clinton announced she was forming an exploratory committee, the first step in a presidential bid. Obama announced his exploratory committee last week.

Other Democratic contenders include New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd, former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich and former Sen. John Edwards, the party's 2004 vice-presidential nominee. Delaware Sen. Joe Biden has said he will run and Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, is also considering another run.

For detailed information on how CBS News conducts public opinion surveys, click here.


This poll was conducted among a random sample of 1168 adults nationwide, interviewed by telephone January 18-21, 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 African-Americans was also conducted for this poll, for a total of 221 interviews among this group. The margin of error for African-Americans is plus or minus seven points.
  • Joel Roberts

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