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What women voters think about McCain, Clinton and Obama

April 10, 2008 |  5:21 pm

Top advisors to Hillary Clinton, particularly the now-sullied Mark Penn, long have counted not only on a bedrock of support for her from women not only in the Democratic presidential primary -- which has held firm -- but from both parties in the general election.

Perhaps. But a new poll solely of women voters -- of all political stripes -- commissioned by Lifetime Meryl Streep is picked by a poll as best to portray Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in a movie Networks shows that as the campaign has slogged on, her image has suffered among her gender.

The survey was conducted by two respected pollsters -- Kellyanne Conway (a Republican) and Celinda Lake (a Democrat). We talked to the polling director for the L.A. Times, Susan Pinkus, and she was struck by this finding: 26% of women polled said that since January, their opinion of Clinton had declined, compared with 15% who said it had improved.

Pinkus noted that looking more deeply into the poll, much of the drop in Clinton's standing was attributable to negative attitudes expressed by Republican women.

Still, no comparable trend was found for either Barack Obama, Clinton's rival in the Democratic race, or John McCain, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee.

Among the women interviewed, 15% said they now had a more favorable view of McCain, and exactly the same number reported a less favorable view. The findings for Obama also ...

were a wash -- 23% said they now like him better, 22% said they don't.

The poll didn't clarify the Democratic race -- it did not pit Clinton and Obama in a one-on-one-matchup. Instead, the entire sample group was asked a horserace question that included McCain. And the findings were close to a flat-out tie: Clinton, 27%, Obama and McCain 25% each.

Pinkus also made this observation about another survey result:

"This poll shows how times have changed.  Last year, Iraq was one of the top mentions in many polls as the issue voters wanted candidates to discuss. Now, women are very concerned about the economy. When asked what is the most important issue that will get them out to vote, jobs and the economy, packaged as one topic, was mentioned as the top issue, followed by healthcare.  Fifth mention was the war in Iraq."

Finally, there was this, from the news release providing an overview of the poll (and which FINALLY explains the picture above):

"Meryl Streep was named actress most fit to play the role of Hillary Clinton in a Lifetime movie (17%). Actresses Glenn Close and Diane Keaton followed (both tied at 11%)."

-- Don Frederick