Poll: Edwards, Obama Have Best Combination Of Name Recognition, Net Favorability Among Prospective 2008 Democratic Presidential Candidates
A collection of poll data from Rasmussen Reports suggests that among prospective Democratic candidates for the 2008 presidential nomination, the party's rising star, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, and former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, have the best combination of name recognition and net favorability rating.
Rasmussen asked prospective Democratic primary voters whether they were familiar with nine would-be 2008 presidential candidates, and whether they had a favorable or unfavorable impression of that candidate.
Only three of the nine -- Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Obama and Edwards -- had "net favorablity" ratings, meaning that their the percentage of those surveyed with a favorable opinion of them was greater than the percentage that had an unfavorable opinion of them. (A similar review of prospective GOP candidates found only three of seven with net favorability ratings.)
Obama had a net favorability rating of +17, best among any prospective candidate. Among those surveyed, 75 percent had an opinion of Obama (46 percent favorable, 29 percent unfavorable). Should Obama run -- he hasn't yet decided -- the trick will be continuing to have a large net favorability rating, even as more voters become familiar with his policies.
Edwards has a +10 net favorability rating. Among those surveyed, 86 percent had an opinion of Edwards (48 percent favorable, 38 percent unfavorable). In other words, Edwards has excellent name recognition, and room to improve his favorable ratings.
Clinton had a net favorability of +5 percent. But because of her outstanding 99 percent name recognition (52 percent favorable, 47 percent unfavorable), she may be hard-pressed to change people's opinions of her -- including her very high unfavorable rating.
Similarly, 95 percent of those surveyed recognized the name of former Vice President Al Gore (47 percent favorable, 48 percent unfavorable). He, too, suffers from the combination of high name recognition and high unfavorable rating.
Other prospective candidates -- Sens. Evan Bayh of Indiana and Joe Biden of Delaware, Govs. Tom Vilsack of Iowa and Bill Richardson of New Mexico, and Gen. Wesley Clark -- each had net unfavorability ratings. With the exception of Clark, each had less name recognition than Obama. That would suggest each faces an uphill climb to win the nomination.