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Pew Poll: Good News for McCain, Edwards

An independent poll conducted last month by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press shows Arizona Sen. John McCain (R) and former North Carolina senator John Edwards (D) as the 2008 presidential candidates with the most potential crossover appeal among registered voters.

McCain, who became a beloved figure among independents during his 2000 near-miss primary race against President Bush, carried a 78 percent favorable rating among independents as well as among Democrats surveyed. Seventy-four percent of Republicans tested gave McCain a favorable rating.

Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) also had strong crossover ratings -- especially among independents. Giuliani was thought of favorably by 92 percent of Republicans, 78 percent of independents and 69 percent of Democrats.  Giuliani's extremely strong rating among Republicans shows that the aura of his performance in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks has not worn off, and it suggests that many conservative party members remain unaware of Hizzonor's more liberal social positions on abortion and gay rights.

Of Democrats, Edwards was the strongest potential 2008 candidate among Republicans and independents.  He was thought of favorably by 68 percent of independents and 48 percent of Republicans.  Eighty-five percent of Democrats had a favorable view of Edwards, who had the highest favorability score of any of the Democrats tested -- including former president Bill Clinton.  Edwards allies are likely to circulate the poll results among the chattering class over the next few days to try and cement the idea that he is the only Democratic candidate that can win back the centrist voters who gave Bush two terms in the White House.

Not surprisingly, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton -- the consensus frontrunner for the 2008 Democratic nomination -- is viewed extremely poorly by Republicans, just 23 percent of whom gave her a favorable rating.  Clinton scored a 58 percent favorable score among independents and an 86 percent favorable rating among Democrats.

There's a lot of interesting data in the poll, so be sure to check it out.

By Chris Cillizza  |  November 1, 2005; 10:35 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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