02 January 2008

Long Campaign Shows Candidates' Warts

The Iowa caucuses are upon us - finally.

The presidential candidates have been out and about since mid-November of 2006, and the early start and high-profile of the pre-primary campaign has apparently resulted in voter fatigue - with 10 months to go until the general election.

The knock on Hillary Clinton among some Democrats is that she is too polarizing to win the general election. They fear she will give disheartened Republicans a reason to come out and vote in November if she tops the Democratic ticket.

But results of a Rasmussen Reports poll released Wednesday show that just one major one candidate heads into the primary season with low negatives. John McCain, who's nosedive over the summer kept him under the radar for several months, doesn't seem to move the negativity meter the way all the others do.

Surveys of 800 Likely Voters December 26-27 & December 28-29, 2007

Favorability Ratings Among Presidential Candidates

  • Favorable Unfavorable
  • McCain 53% 27%
  • Edwards 49% 42%
  • Clinton 48% 50%
  • Obama 43% 51%
  • Thompson 42% 42%
  • Giuliani 40% 55%
  • Huckabee 40% 47%
  • Romney 38% 51%

The other interesting thing to note in this poll is that most of the candidates have negative favorability ratings. That is, their "unfavorable" rating is higher than their "favorable" mark.

You might also find a bit of irony in Clinton's numbers. The Great Polarizer has one of the smallest negative margins among the candidates at 48-50. That compares favorably with the "surging" Barack Obama, who checks in at 43-51.

John Edwards is the only one of the Dems' big three with a positive rating (49-42), adding more fuel to the argument that Edwards is a dangerous dark horse who could create some chaos in the next few weeks.

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