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Pollster Poll

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Mark Penn—the pollster who was Hillary Clinton’s chief strategist until April 6— was roundly disliked by her campaign staff, who disagreed with his advice to focus on proving Clinton’s competence rather than her likability. He’s also the CEO of PR giant Burson-Marsteller, and when he met with a PR client, the Colombian ambassador, who’s pushing for a trade deal the candidate opposes, Clinton had to demote him. We polled 100 New Yorkers in Cooper Square about Hillary, the race, and her Penn-tested campaign messages.

Do you know who Mark Penn is?
Yes: 51
No: 49

If yes, do you think he’s to blame for Clinton’s faltering campaign?
Yes: 2
No: 22
Maybe: 13
A little: 9
Don’t know: 5

Penn counseled Clinton to campaign as tough and competent. Would you like her more if she seemed softer?
Yes: 23
No: 32
Maybe: 20
Don’t know: 25

What’s an important quality in a president?
Vision: 47
Experience: 29
Willingness to work hard: 20
Ability to inspire: 12
Having landed in war zones under sniper fire: 1

What’s your favorite Hillary campaign slogan?
“Big challenges, real solutions”: 23
“Solutions for America”: 18
“Let the conversation begin”: 15
“Working for change, working for you”: 10
“Ready for change, ready to lead”: 10
“Strength and experience”: 7
“The change we need”: 2
No answer: 15

At what moment during this campaign were you most inclined to vote for her?
“All along.”
“When I saw her on late-night TV and she seemed more human.”
“In the beginning, before Bill ruined it for her.”
“When she cried in that diner.”
“Definitely not when she cried.”
“Before I found out Obama was running.”
“I’ve yet to have that moment.”
“Before she attacked Obama.”
“Never.”

Do you think people tell the truth to pollsters?
Yes: 23
No: 20
Sometimes: 52
Don’t know: 5

Whom do you trust to answer the White House phone at 3 a.m.?
Obama: 44
Clinton: 37
McCain: 16
George W. Bush: 2
Other: 16
“Al Gore.”
“Truthfully, all of them.”
“Cheney; I feel like he doesn’t sleep.”
“Colin Powell.”
“Anyone but G.W.”
“The receptionist.”

Have good intel? Send tips to intel@nymag.com.


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