An original document.
To: Interested Parties
From: Hari Sevugan,
Communications Director, Chris Dodd for President
Date: November 8, 2007
Re: Impact of Perceptions of "Honesty," "Integrity" on Electabilty
The lack of candor with which Senator Clinton answered many of the questions posed to her at the recent Democratic Presidential Candidates' Debate in Philadelphia has had a significant impact on public perceptions of her "honesty."
A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released today shows that only 34% of Americans view Senator Clinton as honest, while a plurality of Americans, 43%, rate Senator Clinton negatively for "honesty." [Wall Street Journal, 11/8/07]
These findings are all the more significant in light of the fact that public polling has repeatedly shown that Americans have said that "honesty" and "integrity" are the top characteristics they are looking for in a president, ahead of specific positions on issues including the war, the economy and other areas of national concern. An Associated Press-Ipsos poll conducted earlier this year found that 55% of Americans consider honesty, integrity and other personal "values" characteristics the most important qualities they look for in a presidential candidate. [Associated Press, 3/11/07] These findings track an earlier survey from Associated Press-Ipsos showing similar findings.
Simply put, voters tell us clearly that Senator Clinton is perceived to have least what they say they want most: honesty. As such, these findings pose a significant hurdle for Senator Clinton to overcome in a general election and are telling to the issue of "electability."
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Marc Ambinder is a contributing editor at The Atlantic. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.