- The Washington Times - Monday, November 27, 2006

Rudolph W. Giuliani is the most popular politician in America, according to a new survey. The former New York City mayor, a likely candidate for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, tops a list of 20 leaders whose popularity with registered voters was measured in a new survey by Quinnipiac University.

The survey asked respondents to rate their feelings about the 20 leaders on a “thermometer reading” scale of 0 to 100. Mr. Giuliani finished with a 64.2 rating. Trailing closely were Sens. Barack Obama, Illinois Democrat, and John McCain, Arizona Republican, who tallied 58.8 and 57.7. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was the top-ranking woman in the survey, finishing just behind Mr. McCain with a 56.1 rating.

“As we enter the presidential campaign of 2008, Giuliani and McCain are in enviable positions,” said Quinnipiac assistant poll director Peter A. Brown. “They are well-regarded, and most Americans are quite familiar with them. Obama’s showing is impressive, but 4 in 10 Americans still don’t know enough about him to have an opinion.”

Despite concerns that his liberal views on social issues will hurt him with Republican primary voters, Mr. Giuliani continues to lead the field in nearly every publicly released presidential poll.

President Bush did not fare nearly as well, coming in at number 15 with a 43.8 rating. Former President Bill Clinton topped Mr. Bush with a 55.8 rating and a fifth-place finish. However, Mr. Bush did top 2004 rival Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, who finished 20th in the survey, with a 39.6 rating.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, finished ninth in the survey with a 49-point ranking. Mrs. Clinton is now considered the front-runner for her party’s 2008 presidential nomination. Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi finished in 12th place, with a 46.9 rating. That marks a substantial increase for Mrs. Pelosi, who did not make the top 20 in the last Quinnipiac survey.

“In September, most Americans did not know enough about U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, and those who did didn’t like what they knew,” Mr. Brown said. “Now, perhaps because everyone likes a winner, she has increased her standing with the American people.”

Miss Rice’s high rating in the survey was particularly impressive considering she is the only individual placing in the top 10 who has not previously sought elected office. Excluding Miss Rice, seven of the top 10 are considered likely presidential candidates in 2008.

“I was very excited to see how well she did,” said Richard Holt, a founding member of the National Black Republican Association. “She’d make an excellent candidate.”

Survey respondents also named Miss Rice as the most powerful woman in America, topping Mrs. Clinton 45 percent to 29 percent. Twenty-three percent selected Mrs. Pelosi.

However, Mrs. Clinton topped Miss Rice in the same survey when respondents were asked which female leader they think is best qualified to serve as president.

Fifty-six percent said Mrs. Clinton is most qualified to serve as president. Miss Rice finished a close second with 50 percent. Meanwhile, 47 percent said they do not think Mrs. Pelosi is qualified for the White House.

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