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Permalink 04:06:29 pm, Categories: Voices, 1167 words    

Kerry Finishes Dead last in Poll Testing Likability of 20 American Politicians

Joe American

A new likability poll of 20 American politicians, taken 11/13/06-11/19/06, was just released by Quinnipiac University Polling Institute in Hamden, Connecticut. [1] Its somewhat-surprising results could have implications for the 2008 presidential race.

This poll was completed by 1,623 registered voters. Respondents were asked to rate 20 American political figures on the basis of their likability. Using the concept of a "feeling thermometer," the warmer the respondents' feelings for the politician, the higher the score they gave them on a scale of zero to 100. Hence, the perfectly likable politician would score 100, and the perfectly unlikable politician would score zero. Respondents could decline to rate the likability of any politician about whom they did not know enough.

Red-hot former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R-NYC) received the highest likability score, whereas ice-cold Senator John Kerry (D-MA) received the lowest likability score. The poll has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 2 percent.

Peter Brown, the Assistant Director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said: "This is bad news for Kerry [who lost the 2004 presidential race to George W. Bush]. Americans know who he is, and have pretty much decided they don't like him."

Furthermore, the poll found that 95 percent of the respondents said they had heard enough about Senator Kerry to rate him. During this year's congressional campaign, Kerry sought to help his fellow Democrats but instead drew bipartisan fire for his "botched joke" about the Iraq War. Even before his failed attempt at humor, Kerry did not fare well in similar Quinnipiac polls earlier this year. [2]


Here are the poll results for all 20 American political figures, ranked from highest to lowest. Their mean likability rating is listed on the right hand side. The parenthetical figure next to it states the percentage of respondents who answered with "Unsure/Refused" (i.e., people who declined to answer because they had never heard of, did not know enough, or felt unsure, about that politician).

1. Rudy Giuliani, former Republican Mayor of New York City: 64.2 (9)
2. Barack Obama, Democratic Senator from Illinois: 58.8 (41)
3. John McCain, Republican Senator from Arizona: 57.7 (12)
4. Condoleezza Rice, Republican US Secretary of State: 56.1 (7)
5. Bill Clinton, former Democratic US President: 55.8 (1)
6. Joe Lieberman, Independent US Senator from Connecticut: 52.7 (16)
7. Michael Bloomberg, Republican Mayor of New York City: 51.1 (44)
8. John Edwards, former Democratic Senator from North Carolina: 49.9 (20)
9. Hillary Clinton, Democratic Senator from New York: 49 (1)
10. Bill Richardson, Democratic Governor of New Mexico: 47.7 (65)
11. Joe Biden, Democratic US Senator from Delaware: 47 (52)
12. Nancy Pelosi, incoming Democratic House Speaker from California: 46.9 (34)
13. Mitt Romney, Republican Governor of Massachusetts: 45.9 (64)
14. Al Gore, former Democratic US Vice President: 44.9 (3)
15. George W. Bush, Republican US President: 43.8 (1)
16. Evan Bayh, Democratic Senator from Indiana: 43.3 (75)
17. Newt Gingrich, former Republican House Speaker from Georgia: 42 (15)
18. Bill Frist, outgoing Republican Senate Leader from Tennessee: 41.5 (53)
19. Harry Reid, incoming Democratic Senate Leader: 41.2 (61)
20. John Kerry, Democratic Senator from Massachusetts: 39.6 (5)


Some of these politicians will become presidential candidates in 2008. Hopefully, the Democratic Party will take note of this poll and refuse to nominate DLC-centrist John Kerry because the national electorate clearly does not like him. [3] Instead, Democrats should nominate a more likable, talented, competent, telegenic and progressive presidential candidate.

Note that Bill Clinton is still more popular than his wife Hillary, who has high negatives (which means people tend to either love her or hate her) not shown here [4].

Further note the positive indicators that America has finally gotten over its racial and gender prejudices: there are two African-Americans in the top four (i.e., Barack Obama at no. 2 and Condoleezza Rice at no. 4); and there are three women in the top twelve (i.e., Condie at no. 4, Hillary Clinton at no. 9, and Nancy Pelosi at no. 12).

It is noteworthy that Barack Obama is more popular -- albeit less well known [5] -- than Condoleeza Rice and Hillary Clinton. Perhaps the time has arrived for a Democratic ticket featuring an African-American President and a female Vice President (e.g., Barack and Hillary), or vice versa (e.g., Pres. Hillary and VP Barack)? However, experience is likely to emerge as an issue among the top five most likable Democrats: Barack Obama is a first-term Senator; Hillary Clinton is a second-term Senator; Bill Clinton was a two-term president so he cannot run again; John Edwards was a one-term Senator; and Bill Richardson is a multi-term Governor (but has no foreign policy experience).

In any case, the Democrats will certainly have their work cut out for them in 2008: IF likability is any indication of electability (maybe it shouldn't be [6] but realistically it is); and IF the Republicans go with a ticket featuring any combination of the very popular Rudy Giuliani (thrice married, no national or foreign policy experience), John McCain (closely aligned with George W. Bush on the Iraq War and other failed policies), or Condoleezza Rice (pre-2000 worked for Big Oil, closely aligned with Bush on Iraq War, never been elected to any political office). [7]


[1] http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x1295.xml?ReleaseID=990

[2] In 2006, John Kerry's likability rating topped out at only 46.3 on 2/28/06, and has been steadily declining since then, from 45.2 on 5/30/06, to 43.5 on 8/23/06, to 39.6 on 11/19/06: http://www.pollingreport.com/k.htm

[3] Check out the favorability ratings for John Kerry's wife, Theresa Heinz Kerry, which never rose above 44 percent in 2004, indicating that the national electorate harbored significant doubts about her too (see her poll numbers by scrolling down about two-thirds of the way): http://www.pollingreport.com/k.htm

[4] Take a look at favorable/unfavorable ratings in the second poll under Senator Hillary Clinton's name: http://www.pollingreport.com/C2.htm#Hillary

[5] Get to know US Senator Barack Obama better by reading his new book, "The Audacity Of Hope: Thoughts On Reclaiming The American Dream" (Crown, October 17, 2006) [Currently number one on the New York Times Book Review nonfiction bestseller list.]: http://www.amazon.com/Audacity-Hope-Thoughts-Reclaiming-American/dp/0307237699

[6] 2008 may be the most significant election of our generation, so there are many factors to consider. Which presidential candidate has the wisdom to bring peace if the Iraq War is still raging? Will the presidential candidates hug the center and try to win by offering nearly-identical Big Tent solutions, or appeal to their own core constituencies? Will Dems continue to make inroads among conservative-leaning groups like white men and married voters as they did in 2006? Will Christian evangelicals take a break from politics following an extended period of disillusionment? And what about the pivotal Hispanic vote? Will Dems keep their traditional footing among the nation's largest minority (which they regained in 2006), or will Reps rebound from their 2006 beating among Hispanics (only 30% voted Republican, according to exit polls)?

[7] Those who are worried about corrupt Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL) emerging as a dark-horse presidentail candidate on the far right in 2008 should take a look at his extremely low favorability ratings. For instance, a 7/17/06 Time Poll found a very unpopular Jeb Bush rated at 28 percent favorable, and 56 percent unfavorable (see his poll numbers by scrolling down four-fifths of the way): http://www.pollingreport.com/A-B.htm


November 30, 2006 By Joe American, a freelance journalist somewhere in the USA. SOURCE: Received on 11/29/06 by e-mail from Joe American.



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