Nearly half of committed Democrats favor Clinton, compared with three in 10 Democratic-leaning independents. And her support is broadly based ideologically -- virtually identical among moderate and liberal Democrats, and better still among (much less numerous) conservative Democrats.
The ABC News/Washington Post survey tested all commonly mentioned possible Democratic contenders -- a dozen in all -- which makes Clinton's 41 percent support particularly impressive.
Democratic Primary Preference
|All Leaned Democrats||41%||17%||11%|
|Blacks (combined data from 12/11/06 and 1/19/07 polls)||60||20||3|
On the Republican side, conventional wisdom suggests Giuliani is insufficiently conservative to survive his primaries, and it's likely many Republicans today are judging him more on his reputation as a strong post-9/11 leader than on his positions on specific issues.
Nonetheless, McCain had his own difficulties with conservatives in 2000, and Giuliani leads McCain among conservative Republicans by 33 to 21 percent. It's among moderates that they're closer, 37-32 percent.
Giuliani and McCain also run about evenly among evangelical white Protestants, a core Republican group with whom McCain's had strained relations.
2008 Republican Preference (among leaned Republicans)
Most important, though, is Giuliani's advantage among committed Republicans, who, like their Democratic counterparts, are more apt to vote in primaries. Giuliani holds a 10-point advantage over McCain among this group; McCain, by contrast, runs quite competitively among independents who lean Republican. That was the case in 2000; his problem was that, outside of New Hampshire, not enough of them showed up to vote.
Given sample sizes, Giuliani's overall seven-point advantage over McCain among leaned Republicans is not significant at the customary 95 percent confidence level. Instead it's 82 percent likely that Giuliani has a real lead in the contest.
Any look ahead should include the politicians' favorability ratings, the most basic measure of a public figure's popularity. Here, Giuliani tops the chart; 61 percent of Americans view him favorably overall, just 29 percent unfavorably -- a very strong 2-1 ratio. Bill Clinton has the same favorable score, but somewhat higher negatives.
After 15 years in the public spotlight, Hillary Clinton is universally recognized; just three percent of Americans have no opinion of her, vs. 10 percent for Giuliani, 16 percent for McCain and 25 percent for Obama. And, as noted, 54 percent have a favorable impression of her.
Yet 44 percent view her unfavorably, led by 63 percent of conservatives, 76 percent of Republicans (still 75 percent including independents who lean Republican) and 86 percent of conservative Republicans (for whom the phrase "vast right-wing conspiracy" may still burn). About as many people overall have a "strongly" unfavorable opinion of her (30 percent) as strongly favorable.