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Experience is one of Hillary Clinton's most valuable calling cards in the intense competition for the Democratic nomination, and a new poll displays how deeply voters perceive Barack Obama to have a readiness deficit.

In recent Post-ABC News national and Iowa polls Senator Clinton has had a decided edge over her challengers as the candidate with the best experience to be president. Even likely Iowa Democratic caucus-goers backing Obama said Clinton has a better pedigree for the White House. And there's the rub.

Although he's not judged on par with Clinton in terms of experience, voters don't necessarily deem the junior senator from Illinois ill prepared for the presidency. The new poll from CBS News, however, shows a stark assessment of Obama's readiness.

Asked whether Obama has the right kind of experience to be a good president, only 29 percent said yes. By contrast, 59 percent of registered voters said that Clinton has the right experience. And among registered Democrats, the gap is even wider: 82 percent said Clinton has the right kind of experience, while half as many said so about Obama.

In the CBS poll, voters give Obama the advantage over Clinton as a candidate who has new ideas for solving the country's problems, but as in Post-ABC polls, Democratic voters are divided about evenly between wanting a candidate with the better experience or fresh ideas. Both polls also show Clinton with a wide lead among those who emphasize experience and a tight competition for voters who prioritize a new approach.

--Jon Cohen

By Washington Post editors  |  August 16, 2007; 10:43 AM ET
 
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Comments

I don't want a president that is likeable or any such nonsense. I want someone who can get the job done. On foreign policy matters, it should be someone who is a tough negotiator in our nation's best interests. It should be someone who promotes peace and does their best to bring about it in hot spots around the world. It should be someone who can negotiate a fair trade policy that makes sense for both sides. It should be someone who will stand up to nutcases with weapons and who threaten us and our allies with them.
On domestic policy, it should be someone who will focus on the forgotten middle class, which has been all but wiped out in the last three decades by wimpy politicians who are hungry for corporate donations. It should be someone who will offer solutions to hard hit poverty areas. It should be someone who will make life easier for businesses to grow, without wiping out the workers who provide their earnings for them. It should be someone who will re-organize our criminal justice system to put away dangerous criminals and not just petty drug violators. It should be someone who can work to make health care more affordable for all of us and take the burden off of employers to provide it as part of their business costs.
It should be Hillary Clinton. 'Nuff said.

Posted by: Faggyliberal | August 21, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

We're given polling data on two variables - freshness of ideas and experience; a third would throw the other two in stark relief: the gravity of our votes in the coming election. George Bush has proven so singularly inept a president and will be leaving a nation in constitutional crisis and a world on the edge of Armageddon. There is no margin for error. This presidential campaign has begun so early that by the time of the Democratic convention all the shininess will have worn off of Obama and the party will offer the electorate a known quantity. The stakes are too high to do otherwise. (Of course, this assumes that the Democratic Party will behave rationally, an irrational assumption on my part.)

Posted by: jamesheines | August 20, 2007 12:00 PM | Report abuse

bbln forgets conveniently that 24 US Senators did have the courage to vote against the tide and the Bush Admin. People like Russ Feingold, etc. Hillary was thinking more about being labelled unpatriotic as a candidate in 2008 than she was about what was right for the country. Obama was already out on the streets against it in 2002. He was RIGHT AND COURAGEOUS, Hillary was WRONG AND SCARED.

Posted by: geoffgw | August 19, 2007 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Obama had a good comment. Who had more experience than Cheney and Runsfeld? Does experience mean good judgment? Let's give Obama a chance to lead in a new direction. He is not afraid of Muslims.

Posted by: jlynch | August 18, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Obama had a good comment. Who had more experience than Cheney and Runsfeld? Does experience mean good judgment? Let's give Obama a chance to lead in a new direction. He is not afraid of Muslims.

Posted by: jlynch | August 18, 2007 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Obama had a good comment. Who had more experience than Cheney and Runsfeld? Does experience mean good judgment? Let's give Obama a chance to lead in a new direction. He is not afraid of Muslims.

Posted by: jlynch | August 18, 2007 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Hillary is the only Democrat who would wipe the floor with any Republican nominee during a debate.

I am so sick of this likeability crap. Bush was more likeable than Gore, but look where that got us. It's foolhardy for any average American to choose a candidate based on whether or not they'd want to have a beer or coffee with them. What are the chances of that happening? I don't need to hang out with my president. I just need him/her to be smart, respectful of people (countries included) who are different, and willing to compromise as we live in a representative democracy that will not take to having ideas slammed down its throat.

Posted by: femalenick | August 16, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Hillary Clinton is more experienced than Obama... at playing "follow the leader." If she won she would turn out Republicans in droves, resulting in a reversal of the 2006 elections. She would be faced with a Republican party back in control of both the House and Senate, one that will not hesitate to clobber her at every turn. They'll make things so much worse for her than they did for Bill that she may wish she hadn't won.

For the sake of the country and the party she must not get the nomination.

An Obama win means a stronger Democratic Congress (bye bye Lieberman) and progress. A Hillary presidency = 4 years of "nothing gets done."

Posted by: xcrunner771 | August 16, 2007 3:55 PM | Report abuse

You other 'posters' have missed the point about Hillary Clinton. Either that, or you are all Bush republicans and that's your excuse.
Her health care experience as 1st lady was a failure because the same republican 'slash and burn' operatives were at work scaring the public as they are still doing every time someone with a broader understanding of problems facing our country disagree with them.
Kindly note, the Clinton years brought us home leave for taking care of a sick child or other family member as well as family leave for pregnancy without losing ones job. Also Healthy Family ins. sprang from her ideals.
Hillary is the only candidate ready to begin to govern on day one. We do not have time for a learn-on-the-job president. We must have our credibility as a world leader restored. I say we need a woman, a strong intellegent, well motivated woman. Go Hillary!!

Posted by: gmbuff | August 16, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Jason T910 & Bsimon, two people too lazy to even google Hillary Clinton's achievements have said:

What was the most important thing she did as First Lady? That's easy - Health Care. How did that turn out?

IN 1993, WERE YOU THINKING ABOUT UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE? DOUBTFUL. SHE WAS AND SO WAS THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION - EVEN IF IT FAILED DUE TO REPUGLICAN PROPOGANDA, I CALL THEIR EFFORTS - VISIONARY, AND WITH CONSENSUS BUILDING IN THE AMERICAN PUBLIC AND IN CONGRESS, THAT HEALTH CARE IS A DIRE ISSUE, NOW IS THE TIME TO TRY AGAIN.

Now as a Senator - the seminal vote of her tenure was the war authorization vote. How did she vote? (BTW a vote she made without reviewing the full NIE report)

INSTEAD OF REGURGITATING WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE HEARD IN PASSING, OR ONE SITTING OF A MICHAEL MOORE MOVIE, WHY DON'T YOU AT LEAST READ HER SENATE VOTING RECORD TO KNOW THAT HER ACHIEVEMENTS AS A SENATOR ARE PRETTY EXTENSIVE? THIS HAS EVERYTHING YOU SHOULD KNOW ON HER VOTING RECORD: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/8/14/94755/8229
ADDITIONALLY, THIS LINK HAS THE FULL TEXT OF HER SPEECH ON THE SENATE FLOOR ON THE IRAQ RESOLUTION SO YOU CAN SEE IT WAS NOT A VOTE EASILY CARRIED OUT AND BY HER AND ONE PREDICATED ON FURTHER INSPECTIONS AND VIOLENCE AS LAST RESORT. AND BY OCT 2003, Senator Clinton condemned George W. Bush's foreign policy as "aggressive unilateralism" that the President had carried out "as a first resort against perceived threats and not as a necessary final resort."

AND WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU DOING IN 2002 - ORGANIZING MASS DEMONSTRATIONS AGAINST THE WAR? DOUBT IT. IF WE'RE HOLDING PEOPLE ACCOUNTABLE TO HOW THEY RESISTED THE PLOTTING OF A LYING BUSH ADMINISTRATION WHO GOT US INTO THIS WAR, THEN 80% OF THE PUBLIC AND THE MASS MEDIA SHOULD BE ASHAMED.

is experience as first lady relevant to Presdienting?

DEPENDS; SOME FIRST LADIES DON'T DO A HELLUVA A LOT, IE. LAURA BUSH - BUT OTHERS, SUCH AS HILLARY CLINTON, PLACED HER STAFF IN THE WEST WING TO MAKE SURE SHE HAD INFLUENCE ON THE PRESIDENCY.

Posted by: bbln | August 16, 2007 3:41 PM | Report abuse

what about the honesty and likeability findings?

seem to remember Hill having a few problems in those hugely important categories...

what about those unprecedented negative ratings as well?

Posted by: gthstonesman | August 16, 2007 3:27 PM | Report abuse

One good thing about Mr. Obama is his long ten year record in public elective office. While down-graded in arrogant D C, State legislative people do know how to count and multiply in political terms. He has already raised more money and gained a larger donor base than the DC pros, many of whom are doing the name calling.
I don't believe and, so far, never have I found that the folk in DC have a lock on wisdom. To the contrary, they get lost in the hype,and the norm. They become ungrounded big headed and are easily rolled by contractors, forgien diplomats and lobbyist, who treat them like socially challenged children.
One last thing; Is it my imagination or is the current offensive in Pakistan, agaist terrorist strongholds, a big result of Mr. Obama turning up the heat? If so, shouldn't he get some grudging backhanded snarky credit and half hearted apologies. Maybe he knows something about governace that others don't, but the facts on the ground seem increasingly to bear him out. Just wondering.

Posted by: empireport | August 16, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

One good thing about Mr. Obama is his long ten year record in public elective office. While down-graded in arrogant D C, State legislative people do know how to count and multiply in political terms. He has already raised more money and gained a larger donor base than the DC pros, many of whom are doing the name calling.
I don't believe and, so far, never have I found that the folk in DC have a lock on wisdom. To the contrary, they get lost in the hype,and the norm. They become ungrounded big headed and are easily rolled by contractors, forgien diplomats and lobbyist, who treat them like socially challenged children.
One last thing; Is it my imagination or is the current offensive in Pakistan, agaist terrorist strongholds, a big result of Mr. Obama turning up the heat? If so, shouldn't he get some grudging backhanded snarky credit and half hearted apologies. Maybe he knows something about governace that others don't, but the facts on the ground seem increasingly to bear him out. Just wondering.

Posted by: empireport | August 16, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

One good thing about Mr. Obama is his long ten year record in public elective office. While down-graded in arrogant D C, State legislative people do know how to count and multiply in political terms. He has already raised more money and gained a larger donor base than the DC pros, many of whom are doing the name calling.
I don't believe and, so far, never have I found that the folk in DC have a lock on wisdom. To the contrary, they get lost in the hype,and the norm. They become ungrounded big headed and are easily rolled by contractors, forgien diplomats and lobbyist, who treat them like socially challenged children.
One last thing; Is it my imagination or is the current offensive in Pakistan, agaist terrorist strongholds, a big result of Mr. Obama turning up the heat? If so, shouldn't he get some grudging backhanded snarky credit and half hearted apologies. Maybe he knows something about governace that others don't, but the facts on the ground seem increasingly to bear him out. Just wondering.

Posted by: empireport | August 16, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Even if you gave Hussein some of Hillary's baggage, she'd still be weighted down and he could still float like a butterfly.

Posted by: GrayGhost2 | August 16, 2007 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Jon Cohen writes
"Experience is one of Hillary Clinton's most valuable calling cards in the intense competition for the Democratic nomination."

Jon, perhaps you should click over to Peter Baker's post on this blog, that raises a rather relevant question about former first lady Hillary Clinton's relevant experience. That being: is experience as first lady relevant to Presdienting?

The deeper point I'm trying to make is that perhaps reporters should investigate what relevant experiences the candidates have collected, rather than regurgitating poll numbers that really don't tell us jack about who would make a good President.

Posted by: bsimon | August 16, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

The Clinton experience encompasses her years as first lady and as a Senator. So let's look at each.

What was the most important thing she did as First Lady? That's easy - Health Care. How did that turn out?

Now as a Senator - the seminal vote of her tenure was the war authorization vote. How did she vote? (BTW a vote she made without reviewing the full NIE report)

So with a record like that, why would anyone vote for Clinton because of her experience?

Posted by: JasonT910 | August 16, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: yiannis | August 16, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

In blogging with Clinton supporters, here's their argument in support of her: she can win. I've yet to hear (and honestly would like to hear) how they expect her to govern or pursue any type of agenda if she gets the nod and if she does win in the general election, given her high negatives.

What's to prevent a Hillary Clinton administration from becoming a lame duck after two years in office?

If anyone wants to know from this progressive, independent voter why I'm not hopping on the Hillary Clinton bandwagon, that's pretty much it in a nutshell.

And...I wish either the question about who could govern after winning the election would either be asked in these polls...or if it *is* asked, if we could get the answers on that one. Without being able to govern after winning an election...this just amounts to so much navel gazing, doesn't it?

Posted by: grannyhelen | August 16, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

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