Obama’s Favorables Falling

Hotline On Call finds an interesting take-away from a new Gallup survey which was published under the banner “Majority of Americans Wouldn’t Like Al Gore to Run for President in 2008.”

Obama’s fav ratings have dropped 10 points in a month, into HRC territory.

I’ve argued from the beginning that Barack Obama was likely starting at the apex of his popularity and that it would naturally fall once he was forced to take stances on controversial issues. Yet, thus far, he really hasn’t done that yet, unless one counts the freebie position that Don Imus should be fired.

Looking into the numbers though, it’s a mixed bag. Here are the favorables of the leading Democratic contenders among “adults” (i.e., not “likely voters”):

Gallup Poll Democratic Candidate Favorables - All Adults - April 2007

Sure enough, Obama’s numbers are well within the margin of error of Clinton’s. Then again, what’s more important than “favorables” — which can easily evaporate over time — are the much harder to change “unfavorables.” There, Obama is doing much, much better than Clinton — 20 points! — among the national sample.

While that may be important come the general election, though, the first task is to get the Democratic nomination. On that score, Clinton reverses that 20 point advantage:

Gallup Poll Democratic Candidate Favorables - Democrats Only  - April 2007

The key here is the staggering 27 percent “no opinion” group. Where they will go is the $64 million question.

As an interesting aside, I’m baffled that 58 percent of Democrats have “no opinion” on Joe Biden. The man’s been on the national stage for decades, having first run for president in 1988 before anyone outside of Arkansas had ever heard of Hillary Clinton and before Barack Obama was even born. (Just kidding on the last one. Obama was 26 at the time. But the launching of his political career was still eight years in the future.) Then again, 10 percent have “no opinion” on John Edwards, who was the vice presidential nominee two years ago.

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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. 49% unfavorable rating for Hillary. That is some mountain to climb, even for someone named after the famous mountain climber (or actually not, but it made a good story for her).

    When you look at the RCP averages and see she is holding on to a double digit lead in the democratic primary, then look at those unfavorables, you see that it is going to be an interesting year and a half of politics.

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    Only people who’ve sequestered themselves in bomb shelters for the last 15 years or who are chronically unable to form opinions can honestly claim to have no opinion of Hillary Clinton. It’s the Brendon Frasier vote!