WEB EXTRA: Giuliani, McCain slight frontrunners in 2008, poll finds

Potential presidential candidates John McCain and Rudy Giuliani are leading over democratic presidential potentials like Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, according to the first 2008 GW Battleground Poll released Wednesday.

McCain holds a 53 to 43 percent lead over the current democratic frontrunner, Clinton, and a 51 to 39 percent lead over Obama. Former NYC mayor Giuliani also holds a lead over Clinton and Obama by a 53 to 43 percent and 50 to 41 percent, respectively.

Clinton, Obama and Guilliani have already established presidential exploratory committees, which will allow them to raise money in a bid for the presidency.

In addition to these four current frontrunners, other candidates polled also include John Edwards, a democrat and Mitt Romney, a republican. Slightly less than half of likely voters polled have a positive image of Edwards, while only 22 percent hold a positive image toward Romney, the former Massachusetts governor.

The poll also revealed strong partisan divisions with the majority of likely voters casting their vote according to their political parties. However, at this early stage, it is unclear as to how strong of a sway party loyalty will play.

“Looking forward to the 2008 presidential elections, Republicans have an advantage at this early stage. Democrats will need to answer the voter’s call for change and prove that they are worthy of recapturing the White House,” said Christopher Arterton, dean of the Graduate School of Political Management, in a press release.

In addition to the potential candidates, likely voters were also questioned on high priority issues, including the widely disputed future of the War in Iraq. Voters showed a near even split opinion on the war-46 percent of those polled said the war is worth it, while 48 percent say that it is not worth it. The poll has a 3.1 percent margin of error.

Likely voters also showed a positive attitude towards the newly elected Democrat-controlled Congress, while others indicated their positions about the democratic Congress are contingent on the majority’s effectiveness in dealing with the War in Iraq.

Overall, the Battleground poll found that 6 in 10 likely voters believe the United States is not headed in a favorable direction, while the majority of voters also hold a negative image of the Bush administration.

This GW Battleground poll surveyed 1,000 likely voters in early January. The poll, which began in 1991, is conducted by the Graduate School of Public Management. The poll is a bipartisan effort and is sponsored in part by polling firms The Tarrance Group and Lake Research Partners.

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