Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a prospective 2008 presidential candidate, has won the latest Quinnipiac University poll popularity contest, ranking highest in the warm and fuzzy feeling that voters have for politicians.
Giuliani rose eight notches over two months ago, according to the poll released Monday. On the flip side, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry dropped 15 seats to rank 20th.
Sens. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and John McCain, R-Ariz., both also strong contenders for a White House run next election, won second and third place respectively in the gauge of voters' "thermometer readings."
"As we enter the presidential campaign of 2008, Giuliani and McCain clearly are in enviable positions. They are well regarded and most Americans are quite familiar with them. Obama's showing is impressive, but four in 10 Americans still don't know enough about him to have an opinion," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
The survey of 1,623 registered voters nationwide was conducted Nov. 13-19, the week after the midterm election. With a margin of error of 2.4 percent, the poll rates the warmth of voters' feelings for their leaders on a scale of 0-100.
While Giuliani was tops, he's still measures a spring day for most voters, who gave him a temperature ranking of 64.2. Obama got a reading of 58.8 and McCain, 57.7. Rounding out the top five were Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice with a 56.1 and former President Bill Clinton with a 55.8. New York Sen. Hillary Clinton's ranking was ninth with a warmth factor of 49.
"Former President Clinton remains more popular than his wife and much better thought of by the American public than the current occupant of the Oval Office," Brown said. "Whether that aura can be transferred to his wife in a campaign, and whether it would be an asset to her in the campaign, should she run, is the $64,000 question," he said.
President Bush, who won a 43.8 warmth measure, ranked 15th, five spots above his 2004 presidential opponent Kerry, who earned a chilly 39.6 temperature rating. Rising from the depths this month was House Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi, who ranked 12th after reaching only to 34th place in the same survey conducted two months before the election.