In a break from the (maybe) elevated issue struggles of the week, a new poll out focuses on the personal characteristics of the top presidential contenders.
Asked to match descriptions to candidates, Democrats and Democratic-leaning registered voters give Hillary Clinton a decided edge over Barack Obama and John Edwards when it comes to being "tough" and "smart." Respondents to the poll out this afternoon from the Pew Research Center also give the Democratic frontrunner an advantage, albeit it a narrow one, on "compassionate."
Obama is most frequently linked with the terms "optimistic," "even-tempered," "energetic" and "honest," but only distances himself from the others on optimism. Forty-one percent said he comes to mind first when they hear the term, 24 percent said Clinton does, 19 percent said Edwards.
There is rough parity between the top three Democrats on being "down-to-earth" and Obama and Edwards about evenly share the word "friendly."
On the GOP side, more Republicans and Republican-leaners associate Rudy Giuliani than his top three rivals as "energetic," "tough," "compassionate," "optimistic, "friendly" and "smart." But in no case does a majority primarily relate any of these terms with the former New York mayor.
Giuliani and Fred Thompson share most mentions as "down-to-earth," and about two in 10 associate both Giuliani and John McCain with "honest." "Even-tempered?" On that the new entrant from Tennessee, former senator Thompson, has a slight edge.
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