Newswise — If the 2008 presidential election were held today, Republican Rudy Giuliani would beat Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton according to a nationwide poll conducted by Canisius College. Of the 455 respondents who volunteered an answer regarding the 2008 match-up, Giuliani received 54 percent of the vote to Clinton's 38 percent.
Michael V. Haselswerdt, PhD, professor of political science at Canisius and co-director of the poll, notes "Clinton loses among voters in the red states, which is no surprise, but Giuliani breaks even in the blue states."
The Canisius poll also shows that only 27 percent of Americans think the nation is going in the right direction, only 42 percent view President Bush favorably, and the Bush administration is having trouble getting a "gentleman's C" on its performance.
While 27 percent think the nation is going in the right direction, 63 percent say it is on the wrong track, including six out of 10 of those who live in red states and four out of 10 Republicans. President Bush's 42 percent favorability rating is countered by the 55 percent who view him unfavorably.
But despite this dissatisfaction, if a presidential recall election were possible, only 42 percent would vote to fire President Bush, while 53 percent would vote to have him remain in office.
"It is a good thing for President Bush that his support has always been personal rather than performance based," says Haselswerdt. "In addition, among the people who are critical toward President Bush and his administration are some who do not think that a recall election is an appropriate mechanism."
The Bush administration gets its best grade, a grade of C, for its performance on the war on terror. It gets grades of C- for its performance on the economy, the war in Iraq and energy policy, and it receives a D+ for its performance on improving health care. While the war in Iraq does not get the lowest overall grade, it gets the highest percentage of failing grades, with 36 percent of the public giving the Bush administration an F. Other highlights from the Canisius College Poll include:
*Fifty-one percent (51 %) of the public believe that the U.S. should announce a timetable for the withdrawal of American troops, while 41 percent agree with President Bush that the United States should stay in Iraq "as long as it takes."
*Former Majority Leader Tom DeLay is seen as favorable by 18 percent and unfavorable by 40 percent, while 43 percent do not know his name. Neither are other congressional leaders household names, with majorities polled not recognizing names including Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (52 percent), Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (58 percent) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (51 percent). Evaluations of these congressional leaders were split.
*Recent legal and ethical issues in Washington, DC, are seen as "business-as-usual" by 51 percent, including a strong majority of Republicans (67 percent), and a smaller majority of Independents (59 percent). These issues are seen as "more of a problem now than before" by 43 percent of the public, including 59 percent of Democrats.
*Almost two-thirds (65 percent) of the public and 58 percent of Republicans prefer the governmental system to be divided between Republicans and Democrats, while only two in 10 Americans favor one-party control.
*Sixty-two percent (62 %) would oppose amending the Constitution to allow foreign-born citizens such as Arnold Schwarzenegger or Madeline Albright to run for president, and 53 percent would oppose an amendment to provide for recall elections for the president and members of Congress.
The poll has a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of +/-4.4 percent. Five hundred one (501) American citizens over the age of 18 from the continental U.S. were contacted between November 13-15, 2005. The poll was co-directed by Haselswerdt and Kevin R. Hardwick, PhD, associate professor of political science and utilized Canisius College students as interviewers.
In addition to providing excellent educational experiences for students, recent Canisius College polls have proved to be extremely accurate. The college's survey of New York Democrats conducted on February 17-20, 2004 showed John Kerry leading John Edwards 57 percent " 16 percent in the state's Democratic primary with a +/- 4.8 percent margin of error. Kerry eventually beat Edwards 61 percent " 20 percent two weeks later in the March 2 contest. A general election poll of Pennsylvania voters on October 17-18, 2004, also with a +/- 4.8 percent margin of error, gave Kerry a 53 percent " 45 percent lead. On November 2, Kerry did indeed win Pennsylvania with 50 percent of the vote to George Bush's 48 percent.
To view complete results of the Canisius College poll, go to http://www.canisius.edu/poll.
Canisius College is one of 28 Jesuit colleges in the nation and the premier private college in Western New York. Canisius prepares leaders " intelligent, caring, faithful individuals " able to pursue and promote excellence in their professions, their communities and their service to humanity.