NY, Nation Show Little Fondness for Hillary Clinton Prez Bid

By Jeff McKay | July 7, 2008 | 8:31pm EDT

(CNSNews.com) - New York Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton has more than a 40 to one campaign cash advantage over the most significant challenger to her Senate seat. For that reason and several others, Clinton is expected to win re-election this year in landslide fashion. However, more New Yorkers still want her to remain where she is, rather than run for president in 2008.

A Jan. 30, poll by the New York-based Marist College showed that while 54 percent of registered voters plan to vote for Clinton in her Senate re-election bid this fall, 49 percent are against the idea of her running for the White House two years from now. Only 41 percent said they would like Clinton to run for president. When broken down by party, more than a third of the Democrats polled - 36 percent - said she should skip such a pursuit.

This same poll mirrors other local surveys showing that Clinton is well-liked by most New York residents, and that she should be in for a huge victory this November.

Clinton's advantage is fueled by an overflowing campaign till. Federal Election Commission records show the former first lady has raised more than $21 million for her re-election bid and has more than $17 million still available.

She has campaigned statewide and nationally in a bid to hold her Senate seat. Last weekend, Clinton went on a West Coast swing with fundraising stops in Portland and San Francisco, a trip many believe was an opportunity to test the waters for a potential presidential run.

Clinton's cash has put New York State Republicans in a serious top-of-the-ticket dilemma. Popular Westchester County District Attorney Jeanine Pirro's campaign never got off the ground, so she backed out at the urging of both the state Republican and Conservative parties. Edward Cox, the son-in-law of the late President Richard Nixon, said he would pass on the race despite GOP appeals.

This leaves Clinton facing former Yonkers Mayor John Spencer, a lesser-known Republican who has raised just $571,000 and ended the year with a mere $243,000 in cash on hand.

"She is a former first lady, she has celebrity status and she's using that well. She has the ability to attract crowds and money," said New York Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long.

A recent Siena College poll showed Clinton with a 27-point advantage over Spencer.

But even in her home state, a majority of support for a Clinton presidential candidacy has yet to materialize.

"She may be able to attract a following in a liberal state such as New York. However, a national audience will not follow her lead," said Long. "The rest of the nation may support a woman on the ticket, but they are not ready for that woman to be Hillary Clinton."

Those claims have been echoed by two men who know Clinton.

Leon Panetta served as chief of staff to former President Bill Clinton, the husband of Sen. Clinton. Mike McCurry served as President Clinton's press secretary. Both have recently been quoted as saying a Hillary Clinton run for the White House may not be in the best interest of the Democratic Party.

Sen. Clinton has shunned anti-war Democrats and generally supported the war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those views and her posture toward Iran have angered the liberal Left of the party, which is its major support base.

Backing up those claims is a recent national CNN/Gallup/USA Today poll showing 51 percent of Americans "definitely would not" back Hillary Clinton for president. A mere 16 percent said they "definitely would" support her.

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