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Everybody Hates John Edwards

As his trial begins this week in Raleigh, John Edwards may be the most hated man in America:

With opening arguments in the trial of former U.S. senator and presidential candidate John Edwards set to begin on on Monday, a CBS News/New York Times poll shows that public opinion of him has plummeted since he was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2007. Now, he is now most known for cheating on his wife.

The CBS/NYT poll reveals that only 3 percent of those polled hold a favorable view of Edwards, who has been charged with misusing campaign funds. That is down from 30 percent in 2007 when he was running for the Democratic nomination, which is also the last time the question was asked among registered voters.

Since 2007, Edwards’ unfavorable ratings have risen eleven points, from 30 percent to 41 percent today. However, half of those polled are undecided or don’t have an opinion of Edwards.

Women, however, especially dislike Edwards, with just 2 percent holding a favorable view of him compared to 45 percent who view him unfavorably.

The poll asked Americans what was the first thing that came to mind when they heard the name John Edwards, other than him running for president. Cheating on his wife is the first association that thirty percent of those polled have when they think of Edwards, who had an affair – and a child – with Rielle Hunter while married to long-time wife Elizabeth Edwards. However, more people – 39 percent – were unable to associate Edwards with anything, which provides insight into another finding: most Americans know nothing or very little about his upcoming trial.

Nor, I would imagine, do they care.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Non sequitur of the day:

    Women, however, especially dislike Edwards, with just 2 percent holding a favorable view of him compared to 45 percent who view him unfavorably.

    A difference of two points in the favorable column and five points in the unfavorable column between men and women doesn’t warrant using the words “especially dislike”, especially when you consider the margin of error. As noted in the poll’s executive summary:
    Among women, just 2% hold a favorable view of Edwards, while 43% view him unfavorably.

    Men have similar opinions: 5% favorable, 38% unfavorable.

    One write uses “especially dislike” while another uses “similar opinions”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  2. @Timothy Watson: Grr…messed-up the block quotes, here is how it was supposed to appear:
    Non sequitur of the day:

    Women, however, especially dislike Edwards, with just 2 percent holding a favorable view of him compared to 45 percent who view him unfavorably.

    A difference of two points in the favorable column and five points in the unfavorable column between men and women doesn’t warrant using the words “especially dislike”, especially when you consider the margin of error. As noted in the poll’s executive summary:

    Among women, just 2% hold a favorable view of Edwards, while 43% view him unfavorably.

    Men have similar opinions: 5% favorable, 38% unfavorable.

    One write uses “especially dislike” while another uses “similar opinions”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  3. Neil Hudelson says:

    The question that always springs to mind in polls like this…who are the 2 or 3 percent who do like him?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  4. Tsar Nicholas says:

    What’s really scary is that if Ohio in 2004 had been a little less sentient then Edwards would have been a heartbeat away from the presidency.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  5. Fausta says:

    @Neil Hudelson: They got 3% because they asked 29 people, and then asked John Edwards himself.
    http://instantrimshot.com/index.php?sound=rimshot&play=true

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  6. Nikki says:

    My question is why did CBS/NYT even bother to poll this? Politically, Edwards is done; his next job (if he gets one) will not require being liked by the voting public.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. Hey Norm says:

    @ TNick…
    Have never supported Edwards and never will…but even at that I fail to see how Edwards would have been a worse VP than Cheney…who had a major hand in one of the greatest foreign policy blunders in our history, by most accounts participated in outing a covert operative, and unapologetically shot another man in the face while “hunting” on a stocked game farm.
    Maybe it’s just me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  8. Hey Norm says:

    Amazing that Cheney set such a low bar that even Edwards manages to clear it…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  9. Hey Norm says:

    Bush and Cheney did manage to create an average of 7000+/- private sector jobs a month…so they have that going for them…which is nice…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  10. legion says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:
    I dunno… it’s hard to imagine Ohio voters being any _less_ sentient… Also,
    @Hey Norm:
    When I think about how tragic and incompetent the GWB years were, I try to cheer myself up by remembering that Al Gore’s running mate was Joe Frigging Lieberman. The fact that that useless old fossil never got into the White House isn’t very much comfort, but it is a little…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  11. Hey Norm says:

    @ Legion…
    I agree completely re: Lieberman…and I live in Connecticut.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. mantis says:

    I think the 3% who hold a favorable view are just fans of John Edward, the psychic scam artist, but were confused (as all fans of John Edward are).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  13. Jenos Idanian says:

    Hey, if we’re disparaging other veeps and veep-wannabes so as to avoid admitting that this was once one of the Democrats’ biggest rising stars, how about Al Gore and his campaign’s attempt to disenfranchise whole swaths of members of the military back in 2000?

    Hey, it’s at least as relevant as the latest round of Cheney-Hate…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  14. legion says:

    @Jenos Idanian: At exactly what point has his past position as a Dem front-runner been “avoided”? Oh yeah – just inside the echo chamber between your ears…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. Hey Norm says:

    Only to the wing-nuts does recounting recent events in history become an expression of hate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. WR says:

    @Neil Hudelson: I’m one of the two or three percent. Sure, he’s a sleazeball in his personal life. He’s also just about the only politician in this country over several decades to pay attention to the poor. Everyone else – Obama included — will talk about the troubles of the middle class, but Edwards was dead on in his description of the “two Americas.”

    Which is one reason the press corps always despised him. And since they also had inklings of his sexual antics, they loathed him for “hypocrisy” — something that never bothers them with politicians who devote themselves to the rich and powerful.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  17. WR says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: And if Edwards had been VP — so what? What harm would his philandering have done the nation? Would it have caused us to invade another country for no reason? Would it have bankrupted us by giving tax cuts to millionaires?

    Spare me your sanctimony about how terrible it would be to have (another) adulterer in the White House. I have no doubt that Bush was completely faithful in his marriage, and it will be decades before we undo the havoc he wreaked on us.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  18. Jenos Idanian says:

    Well, there’s your typical Edwards supporter. Turns a blind eye to how Edwards turned to his friends and donors and begged them to cover up for him, to take on his responsibilities, even getting one friend to dive on the grenade and say “yeah, I banged her, the kid’s mine.” While his wife was literally dying.

    All in the name of protecting his poltiical viability.

    In WR’s defense, it might not be a case of cognitive dissonance. He might not be thinking “yeah, let’s give more power and responsibility and prominence to someone who can’t handle the burdens he already has.” It’s rare that WR ever demonstrates any sort of cognitive abilities whatsoever. He might literally have never thought about it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  19. Dividist says:


    “Everybody Hates John Edwards”

    Huh… I guess there really is only one America.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0