Thursday, November 1, 2007



Eagleton Poll Shows Clinton in the Lead in NJ

U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton has surged to a 31-point lead over her nearest rival in the upcoming New Jersey Democratic primary, according to the latest Rutgers-Eagleton Poll.
The statewide telephone survey, conducted Oct. 18-23, showed Clinton leading U.S. Sen. Barack Obama by a margin of 52 percent to 21 percent among voters who identified themselves as Democrats or who said they lean Democratic. Former senator John Edwards was third, with eight percent. Clinton held a 24-point lead over Obama in a previous Rutgers-Eagleton Poll in August.

Rudy Giuliani continued to lead the Republican field in New Jersey, with 54 percent of
Republican voters and those who said they lean Republican indicating they would support the
former New York City mayor in the Republican primary. U.S. Sen. John McCain trailed with 12
percent, and was the only other Republican candidate to earn double-digit support in the survey.

Giuliani’s 42-point advantage reflected a nine-point drop in his lead over McCain since the last
Rutgers-Eagleton Poll in August.

In a general election match-up between Clinton and Giuliani, voters favored Clinton by a
margin of 49 percent to 39 percent. Clinton held a narrow three-point lead over Giuliani in the
August poll. Obama and Giuliani remained in a virtual tie in the latest poll, with Giuliani holding
a slight edge at 44 percent to 41 percent, just within the margin of error for the 856 registered
voters in the survey. Giuliani held a two-point lead over Obama in the August poll.
Clinton’s lead over her rivals in the Feb. 5 Democratic primary has solidified while it has
grown. Sixty-eight percent of Clinton supporters said they are very sure of their vote, up from 51 percent in August. Forty-five percent of Giuliani supporters said they are very sure, but more than half said they might change their minds before the Republican primary, also scheduled for Feb. 5.
“Sen. Clinton continues to strengthen her position in New Jersey, with more than twothirds
of her supporters saying they plan to stick with her through the primary,”
said Tim
Vercellotti, director of polling at the Eagleton Institute of Politics. “Former mayor Giuliani has
further to go in closing the sale with his supporters.”

While voters are forming their presidential preferences in the upcoming primaries, they
are also taking an increasingly negative view of the current president. Only 19 percent of
registered voters approve of the job that George W. Bush is doing as president, an all-time low for Bush in the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll, and down five points from his previous all-time low in the August survey.
The president’s support dropped 12 points among independent voters and five points among Republicans. Republican voters were evenly divided, 47 percent approving and 47 percent disapproving of Bush’s job performance.
A sizable portion of voters disapproving of the job the president is doing appear ready to
come back to the Republican Party, however, in support of Giuliani. In the general election
match-up against Clinton, Giuliani won support from 29 percent of voters who disapprove of the
job Bush is doing. Matched against Obama, Giuliani picked up support from 35 percent of voters
who disapprove of the president.

“The president’s poor showing in New Jersey does not necessarily translate into a drop in
support for the Republican Party,”
Vercellotti said. “Giuliani appears to be capable of drawing
some of those voters back to the party.”

Both Giuliani and Clinton earned high marks from their parties’ supporters regarding
leadership qualities and electability. Two-thirds of Republicans and voters leaning Republican
rated Giuliani as the strongest leader among the top four candidates for the nomination, which
also included McCain, former U.S. senator Fred Thompson, and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. Sixty-nine percent said Giuliani has the best chance among the four to win the
White House in 2008.

Honesty and trustworthiness were the only candidate characteristics in which a
competitor came anywhere near Giuliani. Thirty-nine percent rated Giuliani first, and McCain
followed with 20 percent.

Clinton earned similar numbers for leadership and electability, with about two-thirds of
Democrats and those leaning Democratic choosing Clinton over Obama and Edwards as the
strongest leader and the likeliest of the three candidates to win the presidency in 2008. Voters
gave Clinton only an eight-point edge over Obama, however, on honesty and trustworthiness, 34 percent to 26 percent. Forty-four percent rated Clinton the most inspiring of the three candidates, followed by Obama with 34 percent.

Clinton’s 10-point advantage over Giuliani in the general election match-up in the latest
poll reflects a significant shift in the preferences of women since the August survey. Clinton led
Giuliani by 18 points among women in the latest poll, 52 percent to 34 percent. Clinton held only a nine-point advantage over Giuliani among women in the August poll.

Giuliani also has lost support among white voters since August, with a 17-point
advantage over Clinton dropping to a three-point edge in the latest poll. Voters ages 50 and older have shifted toward Clinton as well. While Clinton and Giuliani ran even among older voters in August, Clinton held a 10-point lead over Giuliani among voters ages 50 to 64 in the October poll, and a 15-point advantage among voters ages 65 and older. Voters who have at least some college education also moved toward Clinton, with a four-point lead for Giuliani in August transforming into a nine-point lead for Clinton in October.

“While the data show Clinton building momentum, it is still very early in the campaign,”
Vercellotti said. “With more than a year remaining until the general election, the candidates
could win and lose these voters many times over.”


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