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Clinton outshines Obama as campaign trail surrogate, poll finds

Los Angeles Times

Life always looks better in the rear-view mirror, and politics is no exception as former President Clinton repeatedly demonstrates.

Now that the impeachment that crippled his presidency is safely behind him, and after more than a decade of good works around the globe, Clinton is emerging as the Democrats’ superstar surrogate of this midterm election cycle. He is also helped by the current recession, which is in sharp contrast to the good economic times that rolled through his early years in the Oval Office.

According to a Gallup Poll released Tuesday, more voters of all political persuasions said they were more likely to back a candidate if Democrat Clinton campaigned for him or her, than if the campaigner were President Obama, who is fighting to keep Democrats in control of Congress.

The poll found that 53% of Democrats said Clinton’s personal endorsement would carry weight compared to 48% who said Obama’s would. On the negative side, 5% of Democrats said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate if Clinton campaigned, while 6% said they would be more hostile if it were Obama. The differences between those numbers translates into what the poll said was a net of 48 for Clinton and 42 for Obama.

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Clinton and Obama fare less well with Republicans and independents but the former president, free of the burden of actually being in office and having to make tough decisions, again gets the edge. Neither Democrat carries much weight with either group, but Clinton is less hurtful by a ratio of about 2 to 1 among Republicans.

Among independents, 21% said they’d be more likely to vote for a candidate who was baked by Clinton compared to 12% who said the same about Obama.

The poll is based on telephone interviews with 935 registered voters from Thursday to Sunday. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Clinton has been a mainstay on the campaign trail this season, appearing in Kentucky, West Virginia, New York, Nevada, New Mexico and California. He is in Florida on Tuesday and Wednesday to campaign for a Democratic senatorial candidate, Kendrick Meek, who is running last in a three-way race.

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Obama heads west at the end of the week to campaign in Washington, California and Nevada before moving back east on the campaign trail.

michael.muskal@latimes.com

twitter.com@latimesmuskal


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