NEW YORK – Republican front-runner Rudy Giuliani has the highest favorability ratings of the top presidential candidates, according to the latest FOX News poll, as a 55 percent majority of Americans has a positive view of Giuliani — more than twice as many as view him negatively (25 percent unfavorable).
The former mayor is the only candidate to capture a favorable rating above 50 percent, and he does so by receiving top marks among several demographic groups, including men, women, independents, Born-Again Christians, military households and gun owners.
Opinion Dynamics Corp. conducted the national telephone poll of 900 registered voters for FOX News from April 17 to April 18. The poll has a 3-point error margin.
McCain has a 49 percent favorable rating and 31 percent unfavorable. On the other side of the aisle, twice as many view Sen. Barack Obama favorably (47 percent) as unfavorably (23 percent), though almost one third are unable to rate him (30 percent). The results for former Sen. John Edwards are similar: 47 percent favorable, 29 percent unfavorable, with 24 percent unsure.
Currently Clinton has the highest negative rating among the top contenders. Views of Clinton, the best known of the candidates tested, are decidedly mixed: 46 percent view her favorably and 47 percent unfavorably.
While Clinton’s current favorable rating is down 6 percentage points from the beginning of the year when half of Americans had a positive view of her (30-31 January 2007), it is higher than at several points over the last several years. Her lowest rating came in March 2001, when her favorable rating was 39 percent, with 51 percent of Americans saying they had a negative opinion of her.
Clinton’s highest favorable ratings to date were during her husband’s presidency in 1997 and 1998; at that time a majority rated her favorably — and twice she garnered favorable ratings above 60 percent.
Giuliani is the only candidate to capture a positive rating from a majority of women (54 percent favorable). Just under half of women have a favorable view of Obama (48 percent), McCain (48 percent), Clinton (47 percent) and Edwards (46 percent).
Among men, here again Giuliani is the clear favorite (57 percent favorable), followed by McCain (51 percent), Edwards (48 percent), Obama (47 percent) and Clinton (44 percent).
Both Giuliani (56 percent favorable) and McCain (50 percent) receive positive ratings among Born-Again Christians. On the Democratic side, this group is more likely to have a favorable opinion of Obama (40 percent) and Edwards (38 percent) than of Clinton (25 percent). A 68 percent majority of Born-Again Christians has a negative view of Clinton, while less than 40 percent have an unfavorable view of the other top-tier candidates.
Around half of voters who are members of a union or live in a union household view the top Democratic contenders positively: Edwards (51 percent favorable), Obama (50 percent) and Clinton (48 percent). Yet nearly half of union voters also like the Republican front-runners McCain (47 percent favorable) and Giuliani (45 percent).
Giuliani (53 percent) and McCain (52 percent) are the only candidates to receive positive ratings among those who own guns or live in a gun-owning household, although Giuliani also garners the highest positive rating among non-gun owners (58 percent favorable).
Similar results are found among those who live in military households, as only Giuliani (56 percent favorable) and McCain (51 percent favorable) receive positive ratings from this group. At the same time, Democratic contenders do relatively well among military households, with nearly half holding a favorable view of Edwards (48 percent favorable), Clinton (47 percent favorable) and Obama (45 percent favorable).
Married voters give their highest rating to thrice-married Giuliani (58 percent favorable) and twice-married McCain (52 percent). Less than half of married voters view the Democratic front-runners favorably: Obama (46 percent favorable), Edwards (45 percent) and Clinton (38 percent).
Tattoo wearers have positive feelings toward almost all of the candidates, though they are most likely to give the thumbs up to Edwards (59 percent favorable) and Giuliani (59 percent favorable). Over half of those with at least one body tattoo like Clinton (54 percent favorable) and nearly half have a positive view of Obama (49 percent).
Clinton outshines all the other candidates among her party faithful. Fully 79 percent of Democrats have a favorable opinion of her. For comparison, 62 percent of Democrats view Edwards favorably and 57 percent Obama — both of whom are less well-known overall, as well as among Democratic voters.
Among Republicans, 73 percent have a positive view of Giuliani and 64 percent of McCain. While twice as many Republicans have a favorable opinion of former Gov. Mitt Romney (33 percent) as view him negatively (14 percent), at this point in the campaign over half have never heard of him or have yet to form an opinion.
Giuliani (44 percent favorable) is viewed somewhat more favorably by Democratic voters than McCain is (39 percent favorable); in fact, more Democrats have a favorable opinion of Giuliani than unfavorable (35 percent). For comparison, only 11 percent of Republicans have a favorable view of Clinton, with fully 84 percent viewing her negatively. Republicans are slightly more likely to have a favorable opinion of Obama than unfavorable, 37 percent to 35 percent.
Self-identified independent voters give their highest favorable ratings to Giuliani (53 percent) and McCain (50 percent), followed by Obama (47 percent), Edwards (46 percent) and Clinton (42 percent).