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.
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.