Friday, March 30, 2007

American Frontrunners Slowing Down

For all you out there who are interested in American politics I just got a news release from McLaughlin and Associates, which details a recent poll they have conducted.

Here it is:

Upon comparison of our latest national poll results with the results of our November, 2006 post-election survey, it appears that the early start to the Presidential campaign has weakened the popularity of the presumed frontrunners.

-- Hillary Clinton now has a net unfavorable rating: 42%, favorable, 48% unfavorable.

-- John McCain’s net popularity has fallen 31 points from a favorable rating of 61% favorable, 21% unfavorable; to only 43% favorable while his unfavorable rating increased to 34%.

-- Rudy Giuliani has had similar popular decline where his net rating fell 35 points from a 63% favorable rating, 17% unfavorable rating; to 46% favorable, 35% unfavorable.

-- Although Mitt Romney is still not as well known, he has slipped from an overall positive rating to a net negative rating from favorable 17%, unfavorable 12%; to 20% favorable and 24% unfavorable.

-- In November we did not ask about Barack Obama’s favorable rating (although that poll did capture his close second place standing behind Senator Clinton on the ballot). Senator Obama appears to have the best ratio of positives to negatives among the current frontrunners: favorable 47%, unfavorable 23%.

Examining the decline of popularity among the frontrunners partisan polarization is the leading reason for the decline. However, there is also erosion within each candidate’s own political party. It seems that the early start to the primary campaign is already taking a toll on the frontrunners and there is currently opportunity for challengers.

In the Democratic primary, Hillary Clinton retains her lead over Barack Obama:

Democrats and Independents: Hillary Clinton: 26% Barack Obama: 18% Al Gore: 11% John Edwards: 11%

Democrats only: Hillary Clinton: 31% Barack Obama: 20% Al Gore: 12% John Edwards: 12%
However, Senator Obama remains strong with liberal Democrats (Clinton 30%, Obama 24%) and has taken the lead among African-Americans (Obama 31%, Clinton 22%).

Since November, in the Republican primary for President, while John McCain has fallen, Rudy Giuliani has assumed the lead:

Republicans and Independents: Rudy Giuliani: 29% John McCain: 19% Newt Gingrich: 7% Fred Thompson: 6%
Mitt Romney: 5%

Republicans only: Rudy Giuliani: 30% John McCain: 20% Newt Gingrich: 10% Fred Thompson: 8%
Mitt Romney: 5%

However, among the conservative Republicans who account for nearly two-thirds of their party’s primary voters, there appears to be jockeying for a conservative challenger to emerge. Former Speaker Newt Gingrich (11%), Senator Fred Thompson (9%), and Mitt Romney (7%) show significant support. It means that one strong conservative challenger could emerge to be a frontrunner.

Regarding the potential general election contests among the frontrunners, both Mayor Giuliani and Senator McCain, have fallen from decisive leads to much closer races against Hillary Clinton:

McCain: 44%
Clinton: 38%
Giuliani: 42%
Clinton: 40%
There is now a significant level of undecided voters. Against Barack Obama, the undecided vote is even larger.

McCain: 38%
Obama: 39%
Giuliani: 40%
Obama: 38%

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