Everyone is used to the familiar "horse race" poll that tells us who is out front when it comes to a campaign, but Quinnipiac University has a different measure
for some of today's leading political personalities: namely, who ranks the "warmest" and "coldest" on a "feelings thermometer"?
The winner when it comes to warmest? First lady Michelle Obama, with former President Bill Clinton close behind. The coldest? Sarah Palin and Nancy Pelosi. (Actually, Harry Reid ranks right in between them, but more later on why his result doesn't count as much).
The way Quinnipiac did this poll, which was conducted among registered voters Feb. 21-28, was to ask those surveyed to "choose any number between 0 and 100. The higher the number, the warmer or more favorable you feel toward that person, the lower the number, the colder or less favorable." The pollster then calculated a mean score for each.
But possibly a more bracing result for some of the politicians than being seen as "cold" was the measure of how little some of them are known nationwide, despite the relentless coverage they may get in Washington.
Quinnipiac asked respondents to say if they did not know enough about the person to rate him or her. The list of "least knowns" was topped by many of the Republicans who are considering making a run for president in 2012: former ambassador to China Jon Huntsman (84 percent don't know him); Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana (78 percent); former Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota (67 percent); Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi (65 percent); and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania (63 percent).
Now, back to Harry Reid. He may be the Senate majority leader and was much in the news last year because of his high-profile re-election contest against tea party favorite Sharron Angle, but 37 percent do not know enough about him to express an opinion. That's much less the case with his company at the "cold" end of the list – Palin, who is unknown by only 4 percent, and Pelosi, unknown by 15 percent.
At the other end of the thermometer, first-term Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, who has been a hit on the speaking circuit lately, ranks as the third warmest, but 55 percent don't know enough about him, compared with Mrs. Obama (4 percent), Bill Clinton (2 percent) and President Obama (everyone
While Democrats feel almost equally warm about President Obama and Bill Clinton, Republicans are fonder of Clinton: His mean "temperature" among them was 41.5, compared with 30.4 for Obama.
The temperatures for Palin and Pelosi are a measure of how polarizing each is. Palin is seen warmly by 63.8 percent of Republicans while Pelosi gets a score of 58.2 from Democrats. But the feelings they inspire in members of the opposite party are cold indeed: Palin gets a 15.6 from Democrats and Pelosi gets a 13.1 from Republicans.
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Filed Under: George W. Bush
, John Boehner
, Barack Obama
, Mitch McConnell
, Newt Gingrich
, Michelle Obama
, Harry Reid
, Poll Watch
, Sarah Palin
, Michael Bloomberg
, Bill Clinton
, Ron Paul
, Nancy Pelosi
, Joe Biden
, Mitt Romney
, 2012 Elections