Giuliani’s Support Broad, Clinton’s Intense

Rudy Giuliani is broadly popular while Hillary Clinton has the intense support of her base, according to a new Pew survey.

Pew Ratings Clinton and Giuliani August 2007 Sen. Hillary Clinton is by far the most popular presidential candidate among her own party’s voters, but has among the lowest overall favorable ratings of the leading candidates. In sharp contrast, the front-running Republican candidate, Rudy Giuliani, evokes relatively modest enthusiasm from the GOP base, but is as broadly popular with all voters as any candidate in either party.

Overall, 55% of voters who offer an opinion of Clinton express a favorable view of her, while 45% have unfavorable opinion. By comparison, roughly two-thirds of voters able to rate Giuliani (65%) and fellow Republican Fred Thompson (66%) — as well as Clinton’s Democratic rival Barack Obama (64%) — express favorable opinions of these candidates.

These results aren’t surprising, since we’ve long known that none of the Republicans were attracting enthusiastic support from the base and that Clinton has a rock star appeal among Democrats going back to her days as First Lady. Giuliani’s broad appeal — with 45 percent approval among Democrats! — is interesting although, again, his theoretical ability to bring swing voters and moderate Democrats into the coalition was always a major allure of his candidacy. My hunch is that, as his background and views on the issues become better known, that appeal will diminish somewhat. Indeed, that’s already happening to some extent, as the detailed survey results reveal.

The survey does a good job of minimizing what Neil Malhotra has pointed out in another context: the dangers of subgroup analysis. The survey sampled 3002 adults, so that they still had subsamples 1,541 and 1,461 for the party breakdowns. Most of these polls, especially those conducted for media horse race analysis, rely on much smaller sample sizes, making the subgroup numbers virtually meaningless.

FILED UNDER: Uncategorized, , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. legion says:

    This supports something I’ve said for a long time about Clinton… Say what you want about her abilities & qualifications, she’s very polarizing. Very few people have an “eh” reaction to her – they either love her or hate her, and that may be her biggest weakness in a general election.

  2. James Joyner says:

    she’s very polarizing. Very few people have an “eh” reaction to her – they either love her or hate her

    I think that’s right, although perhaps not as much so as a few months ago. She has the advantage of incredibly low expectations among moderates. When people realize she’s not the Stalinist Rush Limbaugh and others have painted her to be, she comes across as comparatively “reasonable.”

  3. yetanotherjohn says:

    On Clinton being seen as reasonable, I am reminded of how Bill campaigned (e.g. middle class tax cuts) and how he governed (e.g. sorry, can’t do the middle class tax cuts I promised). I think people will remember how Bill triangulated what he said to sound reasonable, but then governed hard left when elected (at least until congress changed).

    I would also note that this is one of the highest fav/unfav for Clinton polls (10 points positive) and one of the lower ones (not 2-1 fav/unfav) for Rudy.