24 February, 2006

Trolling the Polls: Hillary and Rudy Lead The Way In Another Red State

Okay class. Good thing the curling matches are over. We have a lot of reading to do this weekend. Several new polls were released in the past couple of days, with lots of new numbers to look at. They're mostly national polls but they all have interesting New York angles.

New York Sen. Hillary Clinton and former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani lead the way in a presidential poll of Florida voters released today by Quinnipiac University.

Giuliani, who some have speculated might not appeal to GOP voters in the socially conservative South, is the 2008 pick of 47% of Florida Republicans, followed by Arizona Sen. John McCain at 29% No other GOP contender tops 10%.

How to explain Giuliani's popularity in this Bible Belt state?

"Rank and file Florida Republicans either don't know or don't care about Mayor Giuliani's support for abortion rights and gay rights," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute in a press release announcing the results.

Clinton is the leader among Democrats, with 41%, followed by Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards at 14%. Delaware Sen. Joe Biden polled at 8%.

The bad news for Clinton comes when she's pitted against the two top Republicans in a potential general election in this battleground state. McCain beats Clinton 53% to 38%, while Giuliani betters Clinton 50% to 41%.

You'll notice that while Giuliani does better than McCain in the GOP poll, the Arizona senator beats Clinton by a wider margin in the general election mockup. Pollster Brown says it has to do with the tastes of independent voters. "(Clinton) loses among independents by 12 points to Giuliani, but by 26 points to McCain," Brown said.

And by the way, how is President Bush doing in his brother's home state? Bush's approval/disapporval rating in the state is 46% to 50%. But that is a vast improvement from his rock-bottom rating in November, when 61% of Floridians polled by Quinnipiac disapproved of the job Bush was doing at that time. In the latest poll, voters disapproved (54% to 41%) of Bush's handling of the war in Iraq. Fifty-two percent say going to war in Iraq was the wrong thing to do.

The rest of the poll is Florida-related. If you're interested you can see it by clicking here.

The picture painted by a WNBC/Marist national poll released Wednesday is somewhat different. Clinton is still the leader in the Democratic race, and she still trails McCain and Giuilani in one-on-one face-offs. But the margins in favor of the two Republicans are not as severe as the Florida poll mentioned above, with McCain, once again, polling better that Giuliani one-on-one with Clinton. The poll of registered voters nationwide also shows a three-way deadlock at the top of the Republican race and also shows some interesting things happening on the Democratic side when Al Gore's name gets added to the list.

There's lots to cover here. Let's take things one at a time.

In the WNBC/Marist poll, Clinton has a huge lead among Democrats, at 40%. John Edwards is No. 2 at 16% and John Kerry is a close third at 15%. But when Gore's name gets added to the list, Clinton's support drops to 33%, Gore comes in second at 17%, Edwards maintains his support level of 16% and Kerry drops four percentage points to 11%.

On the Republican side there's a three-way tie at the top, at 22%, between McCain, Giuliani and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who has said she's not interested in the job. If Rice's name is taken out of the equation, Giuliani scores best, at 28% to McCain's 24%.

In general election pairings, McCain would top Clinton 52% to 42%, while Giuliani would win the battle of New York candidates 49% to 48% over Clinton. The poll indicates Rice trailing Clinton 49% to 44% in a woman versus woman presidential race.

When Giuliani is paired against leading Democrats he tops all four at 53% to 42% over Gore, 48% to 45% over Kerry, 47% to 44% against Edwards and the one-point win over Clinton.

Does your head hurt yet? Because this poll can go on as long as you want it too.

The WNBC/Marist poll has some interesting things to say about the two New Yorkers individually as well.

With regard to Clinton, 42% of all voters say she is too liberal and 6% percent say too conservative. But 45% say the senator is "about right" ideologically speaking. While 73% of Democrats think Clinton should run, 51% of all voters polled say she shouldn't. A total of 48% of all voters think Clinton will be judged more harshly than other candidates if she decides to run.

The poll provides an interesting picture of Giuliani as well. A total of 11% of voters polled think Giuliani is too liberal, 12% say he's too conservative and 52% say he's about right. But the key figure is his polling with Republicans. Sixty-six percent of GOP voters say the former mayor is "about right" ideologically. That would seem to indicate that the pundits who think Giuliani won't play well in the red states may have to take another look.

Belive it or not, I have only scratched the surface of that poll, and if you have no life click here to see the rest.


Still another poll to take a look at this weekend is the National Journal's 2005 congressional vote ratings, which ranks every member of Congress on the liberal/conservative continuum based on votes cast in 2005.

Again, we can go on forever here, but let me highlight the New York delegation.

Neither New York senator is in the liberal Top 10. In fact, Hillary Clinton ranks 20th and Sen. Charles Schumer comes in at 26th. The senators are rated in three categories as well - economic, social and foreign policies. But you can check that out for yourself in the same chart.

In the House, among the delegation from New York City's northern suburbs, Rep. Nita Lowey of Harrison is rated the most liberal, coming in at No. 72 of the total of 435 members of the legislature. Eliot Engel, whose 17th district includes the Bronx and parts of Westchester and Rockland counties, checks in at 109.

Republican Sue Kelly of Katonah ranks as the 214th most-conservative member of the 435-member House, pretty much in the middle. Among New York's delgation, however, Kelly is ranked 8th most-conservative of the state's 29 House members.

This is an interesting comparison because Kelly's detractors say she tries to present a moderate image but votes conservatively. So both sides can make their case with this poll.

One final poll: One out of one person polled by NYpols (me) thinks we've seen enough of polls for a while. The next time you log on we hope to have some lighter reading for you. Thanks for sticking with us!


At 3:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Personally i wouldnt mind seeing a race between hillary and rudy... I think that would favor hillary, just for the reasons you stated (rudy's position on gay rights and abortion). WIth neither canidate playing the religous card (ie: W's conversations with god, and subsequent great advice he recieved), i think that many red staters may actually think in their best interest (their wallets)... and vote for hillary based on her fiscal policy...

I think it would be quite an interesting race, but i dont see it happening. I think the GOP, is gonna stick to its plan of hijacking the chirstian religion, and running a "better christian" canidate than rudy, in order to capitalize on attaing the vote of fox news watchers, and those who think they are voting to save the bible in America....

But once again, Rudy vs. Hillary would be a fun one to watch, especially because hillary has never stepped foot in a swift boat...

-Matthew Ronald Vallo


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