Poll: Clinton Would Beat Rice in Presidential Race

In what seems like an endless stream of interesting but meaningless polls on an election three years into the future, Hillary Clinton edges Condi Rice for president.

Poll: Clinton Would Lead Rice in ’08 Race (AP)

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton leads Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in a hypothetical presidential matchup, according to an independent poll released Friday. The poll, conducted by Marist College’s Institute for Public Opinion in conjunction with New York City television station WNBC, gave the former first lady 50 percent to 41 percent for Rice. But Republicans John McCain and Rudolph Giuliani both topped Clinton. Clinton, McCain and Giuliani are all considered potential 2008 presidential candidates. Rice has said she will not run.

The poll, mirroring other recent national surveys, had Clinton as the clear front-runner for the 2008 Democratic nomination, favored by 41 percent of her party’s voters to 17 percent for Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts and 14 percent for former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, Kerry’s running mate in 2004. Asked about Clinton’s political leanings, 39 percent of voters said she was too liberal, while 46 percent said she was about right. “She remains a controversial figure when she moves out from the Democratic primary sweepstakes,” Marist pollster Lee Miringoff said.

On the Republican side, Rice, Giuliani and McCain were about tied for the GOP nomination, each attracting about 20 percent of the vote. But with Rice out of the mix, Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, was favored over the senator from Arizona, 31 percent to 24 percent. No other Republican topped single digits.

That a former First Lady with incredible name recognition and actual experience in elective office is being an almost certain non-candidate who has never been elected to anything is hardly surprising. This is all the more true given that foreign policy is hardly going swimmingly at the moment.

That Giuliani and McCain remain the clear frontrunners for the GOP nomination, despite being well out of line with the Republican nominating electorate on cornerstone issues, is interesting but probably not indicative of much other than name recognition. Since the sitting vice president is almost certainly not running, the Republican field is wide open.

I honestly can’t imagine McCain, who has seemed to go out of his way to tweak the party base, winning many primaries. Giuliani’s liberal tendencies may well not matter, thanks to his strong law-and-order image and the cult status he reached after 9/11. Whether that will much matter seven years after the fact, though, is another matter.

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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. Sir Winston says:

    Condi Rice is about as likely as Michael Moore to get the GOP nomination for 2008. She’s a solid supporter of affirmative action quotas based on race– almost nobody in the Republican base would tolerate that. Plus she’s a pro-choice supporter. And tarnished by Iraq. C’mon!

    I certainly wouldn’t count on Hillary getting the Democrats’ nomination either, despite the lame newspaper reports (and Dick Morris’s latest public flatulence) that assume that. She has infuriated Dems at the grass-roots by being so wingnut-ish in the way she’s supported the invasion of Iraq, even today when it’s so obviously a disaster. Now she’s talking about sending troops to Damascus!! WTF? I’m starting to get strong doubts that Hillary would get anywhere close to the Democratic nomination in 2008– she’s looking like a Joe Lieberman send-up, popular at first but a flame-out when the primaries start.

    You can’t base any conclusions on name recognition, which is at present all we really have to gauge these things. If I had to guess, I’d suspect that the GOP will nominate someone like George Voinovich for 2008, maybe Sam Brownback or perhaps even John McCain– especially if he votes against Harriet Miers, he’ll get big support from the conservative base. As for the Dems? Their frontrunner right now is probably Mark Warner– he’d be very tough. Wes Clark is also Warner-ish, though with less experience. Some rumblings even about Al Gore, who’s a good deal more formidable than in 2000. But my money’s probably on Mark Warner, who isn’t well-known yet but could dominate the polls in 2008. He’s a dangerously tough prospect.

  2. Atm says:

    Sorry Clinton won’t win the election. Democrats want to use Iraq as a wedge issue, but they will be seriously compromised by Pres Clinton’s mismanagement of Iraq policy and failures to deal with al Qaeda.

  3. McGehee says:

    I can predict with absolute certainty that the overwhelming majority of predictions made in 2005 as to the outcome of the 2008 presidential election, will be wrong — at least in part.

  4. bryan says:

    I’ll never vote for McCain. Anyone who does that much to damage the first amendment will not get my vote, and I’ll make sure everyone I come in contact knows what he did.

    Giuliani has enough good will that he might bridge the gap in a general election, but getting there is going to be tough.

  5. Mister Ce says:

    Hillary – the first female black President.

  6. jimbo says:

    Maybe there are a lot of folks like me who knew NYC in the pre-Giuliani days and saw how he transformed it against the wisdom of all the pundits. How about the comparison between Mayor Rudi on 9/11/01 and Mayor Ray during Katrina? This guy takes responsibility seriously and does not pass the buck. If the Christian Taliban succeeds in blocking Giuliani’s nomination, well the GOP will deserve its reputation as the stupid party.

  7. DL says:

    I’m for Hillary for economic reasons. She could just return with all that White house furniture she took last time and the taxpayers would be spared the cost!

    I do have this overwhelming feeling of anticipation though, that in her journey to Oz for a conservative diploma, she’ll take up paint ball, NASCAR, and beer drinking, during the campaign! Janet Reno even has a red pick-up she could borrow!

  8. Herb says:

    Gads, I can see it now,,,

    President Hilly Mae and her Husband, Jethro

    Please god, spare our country from this possible scourge.