Hillary Clinton Gets 47 Percent “Definite No” in CNN Poll

Nearly half of Americans would “definitely not vote for” Hillary Clinton , according to a new CNN poll.

With the presidential election more than two years away, a CNN poll released Monday suggests that nearly half of Americans would “definitely not vote for” Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. Respondents were asked whether they would “definitely vote for,” “consider voting for,” or “definitely not vote for” three Democrats and three Republicans who might run for president in 2008.

Regarding potential Democratic candidates, 47 percent of respondents said they would “definitely not vote for” both Clinton, the junior senator from New York who is running for re-election this year, and Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, the party’s candidate in 2004. Forty-eight percent said the same of former Vice President Al Gore, who has repeatedly denied he intends to run again for president.

Among the Republicans, Sen. John McCain of Arizona and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani fared better than the Democrats, and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush fared worse. Only 30 percent said they would “definitely not vote for” Giuliani; 34 percent said that of McCain. As for Bush, brother of the current president, 63 percent said there was no way he would get their vote. The younger Bush has denied interest in running for president in 2008.

Among all choices, Clinton had the highest positive number; of those polled, 22 percent said they would “definitely vote for” her.
Giuliani was next with 19 percent, followed by Gore with 17 percent, Kerry with 14 percent, McCain with 12 percent and Bush at 9 percent.

Polls this early are rather silly, since only we junkies are paying much attention. Further, polls without a “likely voter” screen are almost completely worthless. Still, that doesn’t mean they’re not fun. They’re essentially in the same spirit as the preseason guides that come out before sports seasons, giving devoted fans something to talk about before the games start.

Joe Gandelman notes, “it isn’t just Hillary Clinton who’s getting the negatives. If you look at it, it seems to be people related to past candidates or people who’ve run on a national ticket before.”

John Podhoretz agrees “the data are meaningless” and goes so far as to say “poll is an absurdity.”

Ed Morrissey thinks “the poll is notable for who has apparently been left out: Mark Warner and Barack Obama for the Democrats (as well as John Edwards, who has slipped through all the cracks), and Mitt Romney, George Allen, and Condi Rice for the GOP.”

One of the Scared Monkeys is amused that Clinton’s 22% is lower than the worst approval rating George W. Bush has ever had.

Jazz Shaw thinks Giuliani’s strong showing bears watching. “[I]f the GOP puts up Rudy in ’08 and he does carry the Empire State, the race is over and the Democrats take home another loss.”

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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 is unsurprising. As I’ve said before, Hillary, regardless of what you think of her qualifications, is one of the most polarizing people in politics today. She might get a strong boost from the dem base, but so would _any_ dem candidate. And Hillary would have _zero_ chance of pulling republican or middle-of-the-road votes. She’s tried very hard to make herself a moderate since going into the Senate, but she’s still radioactive in a national election…

  2. McGehee says:

    Further, polls without a �likely voter� screen are almost completely worthless.

    If anything, I think screening for likely voters — considering who the likely voters are in the nominating process — would have led to even worse numbers for Hillary.

    I predicted two years ago that her presidential prospects were going to wane. Now I’m waiting for the numbers to confirm my wishful thinking about a McCain collapse…

  3. Wickedpinto says:

    Strikes me that “definate no” = “will not vote, if opponent is equally unworthy” rather than “I will vote no definately if she opposes McCain”

    If hillary loses to an unnamed everyone, then, she won’t get the votes that will likely favor her party, and the opponent will have a guaranteed base from which to feed.

    Didn’t read the poll, don’t care, just “definate” is a rather “definative” statement.

  4. Mark says:

    There is only one thing left for Hillary to do:

    Hire Jerome Armstrong!

    And I’m sure Kos will become more friendly to her if she does hire him. heh.

  5. Hillary was actually in a better position with the poll than Gore or Kerry (she has a higher definite vote for and about the same vote against). And the all adult poll would likely mean that among likely voters she probably has topped out over 50% definitely vote against.

    But think about the implications of this. McCain and Giuliani get the “core democratic” no percentage (yes I am sure some of the ‘definitely no’ were from their own party, but the percentage is about what the democratic core consists of). Hillary, Kerry and Gore all got much higher than the core conservative percentage. This means that a lot in the middle have made up their mind. This early could they get their mind changed, would they change it based on the opposition, etc.? Absolutely. But that’s a harder row to hoe.

    The democrats have only won the presidency in the last 40 years by putting up a southerner who you could make a straight faced argument held conservative values. Warner is the only one who could arguably make that claim. Can it work a third time, I’m not sure. I suspect the “I hate Bush” crowd might scream bloody murder, but they would still pull the lever for Warner even if he came out in support of every republican position. If he then presided like that, they would bolt the party. But I suspect they would look for a post election difference like they got with Carter and Clinton. If the GOP could make him take some of the democratic stands (higher taxes, government to fix every problem, cut and run in Iraq), then I doubt the democrats could pull the hat trick with the bank slate southerner who voters can project what they want to see onto.

    Also note, Hillary could get to the magic 50% if she kept her supporters and garnered 100% of the persuadables. Gore and Kerry fall short of that mark. McCain needs 79% of the persuadables and Rudy needs 69%. Doable, but pretty steep for both of them. I’ll plead the 11th commandment on Jeb.

    Warner, Allen, etc don’t have enough name recognition to be meaningful in a poll like this. The would likely have had single digit support. Definitely against in the 20’s (reflecting either sides hard core base) and a very large persuadable middle (and probably a lot higher no opinion number also). I would have loved to see Edwards (just to get a read on him), Rice and Lieberman. I suspect the poll would have shown Lieberman as being with numbers somewhere around McCain. The Lieberman numbers (assuming I am right on the numbers) would have been an interesting bone for the left to swallow. A candidate they are actively trying to get out of the party but would have the best chance of being elected president.

  6. Kathy K says:

    Hmmm. I wouldn’t say a definite no to Hillary. And I’m one of the swing voters. Put up a serious right-wing conservative (like that nutcase Keyes) and I’ll happily swing left for a liberal hawk.

    Might even be tempted to swing left for any liberal hawk at this point. The Republicans gave up the one bit of conservatism (fiscal) that I supported. Not much left except foreign policy after that.