Kennedy's Political Life, Through Polling

It may seem crass to review polls on the late Sen. Edward Kennedy mere hours after his passing. But, as the public and the press write their epitaphs for such a political giant, it's important to recognize where he stood--beloved by liberals as the "lion of the Senate" and used, as recently as this spring, in the midst of his deteriorating health, as a rallying cry by conservatives. ABC polling specialist Gary Langer chronicles Kennedy's political life through polls: an initial national favorable rating of 73 percent, a 50-50 hypothetical dead heat against Nixon in 1966, his popularity falling off dramatically after Chappaquiddick, viewed by nearly everyone as either "liberal" or "too liberal" throughout, and finally, earlier this month, collecting a 51 percent favorable rating and 35 percent unfavorable--not top tier for a national political figure, Langer notes, but at the same time better, for instance, than all three leading GOP presidential hopefuls.

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Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

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