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Candidate Wordplay

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.

By Jon Cohen  |  September 20, 2007; 3:34 PM ET
Categories:  Polls  
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yeah but why dont they ever mention that of the 9 words asked, obama won on 6 of them? its like, when he beats her on anything the media will still only talk about what she is winning. this is so insane.

Posted by: ourgameorders | October 10, 2007 2:03 PM | Report abuse

I think polls like this one are interesting to look at, and may greatly impact the outcome of the elections. The candidate with the best attributes is most likely the leading contender. I for one would much rather vote for someone who is good natured and down to earth, rather than someone lacking these important qualities. I think someone who is honest, smart, friendly, and down to earth is the ideal person to govern our country.

Posted by: lauralion | October 18, 2007 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Democrats voting for Hillary Clinton, that want the men out of Iraq, will waste their vote, she will not bring the troops home.

Posted by: Lee | November 5, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Find out more from Ridiculous-Polls-R-Us at the Washington Post.

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