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Poll majority say they'd be likely to vote for Clinton

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    Poll majority say they d be likely to vote for Clinton By Susan Page, USA TODAY Fri May 27, 9:22 AM ET For the first time, a majority of Americans say they are
    Message 1 of 1 , May 27, 2005
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      Poll majority say they'd be likely to vote for Clinton

      By Susan Page, USA TODAY
      Fri May 27, 9:22 AM ET


      For the first time, a majority of Americans say they are likely to
      vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton if she runs for president in 2008,
      according to a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll taken Friday through
      Sunday.


      The survey shows that the New York senator and former first lady has
      broadened her support nationwide over the past two years, though she
      still provokes powerful feelings from those who oppose her.


      Clinton commands as much strong support - but more strong
      opposition - as George W. Bush did in a Newsweek poll in November
      1998, two years before the 2000 election. She is in slightly
      stronger position than then-vice president Al Gore, the eventual
      2000 Democratic nominee, was in 1998.


      "Over time, Clinton fatigue has dissipated ... and people are
      looking back on the Clinton years more favorably," says Andrew
      Kohut, director of the non-partisan Pew Research Center. In a Pew
      poll released this month, Kohut called former president Bill Clinton
      and the senator "comeback kids" because of their rising ratings.


      "This may also reflect that she has been recasting her image as a
      more moderate person," he says.


      Spokesmen for Sen. Clinton declined to discuss the survey. "She's
      just focused on working and doing her job for New York," says Anne
      Lewis, a veteran Democratic operative working at Hillpac, Clinton's
      political action committee.


      Clinton has been leading the field of Democratic presidential
      contenders for the 2008 election, still more than three years away.
      She is running for a second Senate term next year and has dodged
      questions about whether she'll make a White House bid.


      In the poll, 29% were "very likely" to vote for Clinton for
      president if she runs in 2008; 24% were "somewhat likely." Seven
      percent were "not very likely" and 39% were "not at all likely" to
      vote for her.


      Her strong support has risen by 8 percentage points, and her strong
      opposition has dropped by 5 points since the same question was asked
      in June 2003.


      In the new survey, more than seven in 10 Americans said they would
      be likely to vote for an unspecified woman for president in 2008 if
      she were running. One in five said they wouldn't be likely to vote
      for her.


      Karen White, political director of the liberal group Emily's List,
      says the findings underscore growing acceptance of women as
      candidates, even for president. "People realize that women reach
      across party lines and are problem-solvers, and they want to see
      more of that in public life," she says.


      No woman has been nominated for national office by one of the two
      major parties since Geraldine Ferraro was Walter Mondale's running
      mate in 1984.


      Voters under 30 were by far the most likely to say they would
      support a woman for president. More than half of them said they
      were "very likely" to vote for a woman, compared with less than one-
      third of those 50 and older.


      Among those who were very or somewhat likely to vote for Clinton for
      president, there were:


      •A big gender gap. Six of 10 women but 45% of men were likely to
      support her.


      •Significant differences by age. Two of three voters under 30 were
      likely to support her, compared with fewer than half of those 50 and
      older.


      •Strongest support from those with the lowest income. Sixty-three
      percent of those with annual household incomes of $20,000 or less
      were likely to support her, compared with 49% of those with incomes
      of $75,000 or higher.


      •And big swings by ideology. An overwhelming 80% of liberals were
      likely to support her, compared with 58% of moderates and 33% of
      conservatives.

      Among those surveyed, 54% called Clinton a liberal, 30% a moderate
      and 9% a conservative.
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