Poll: Rating The '08 White House Field

generic presidentiual election 08 Tom Vilsack Hillary Clinton Rudy Giuliani John McCain campaign white house (Mitt Romney) CBS/AP

Sen. Hillary Clinton has the highest favorable rating among potential 2008 Democratic presidential candidates, while former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Sen. John McCain are viewed most favorably among potential Republican contenders, according to a CBS News poll.

Forty-three percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of Clinton (D-N.Y.), but almost as many — 38 percent — view the former first lady unfavorably. She is also the best known of the potential Democratic contenders, with just one in five of those surveyed unable to evaluate her.

Former Sen. John Edwards, the 2004 Democratic candidate for vice president, has the next-highest favorable rating among Democrats, at 34 percent.

Read the complete CBS News poll results.
Ratings for both of the last two Democratic nominees for president, former Vice President Al Gore, the 2000 nominee, and Sen. John Kerry, the 2004 nominee, are more negative than positive.

Gore is viewed unfavorably by 46 percent of Americans, while 32 percent view him favorably. Kerry (D-Mass.) is viewed unfavorably by more than a 2-to-1 margin. Forty-eight percent have an unfavorable opinion of him; just 22 percent view him favorably.

Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois receives much more positive ratings than negative, but he remains largely unknown on a national level. Six in 10 Americans say they are unable to offer an opinion of him.

The rest of the potential Democratic field — including Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, and former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack — remains virtually unknown to a significant majority of Americans.

Among the potential GOP candidates, Giuliani and McCain are by far the best known and the most favorably viewed.

Giuliani has the highest favorable rating among the Republicans at 41 percent. But his ratings have been dropping in recent years, from a high of 54 percent in August 2004. Twenty-two percent have a negative impression of Giuliani.

McCain, the Arizona senator, is viewed favorably by 39 percent of Americans, up from 28 percent in September. But his unfavorable ratings have also gone up in that period, from 14 percent to 20 percent.

Giuliani has an edge over McCain among members of their own party, with 63 percent of Republicans saying they have a favorable image of Giuliani, compared to 48 percent for McCain.

The other potential Republican contenders — former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, and Rep. Duncan Hunter of California — are largely unknown to most Americans.

Although most have no opinion of Romney, twice as many have an unfavorable view of him as have a favorable one.

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


This poll was conducted among a random sample of 993 adults nationwide, interviewed by telephone January 1-3, 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.
  • Joel Roberts

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