Hillary Clinton Leads Rick Lazio, but Not by Much, Yale Poll Shows

Among likely voters in the New York Senate race, Democrat Hillary Clinton leads Republican Rick Lazio by 3 percent, according to an innovative survey administered by Yale faculty member John Lapinski and colleagues.

If the election were held today, Clinton would capture 44 percent of the vote, and Lazio would get 41 percent. However, the race remains too close to call, as Clinton’s lead is within the poll’s margin of error. Also, nearly 13 percent of likely voters remain undecided.

Clinton has strong support among younger voters, leading Lazio by 12 percent among voters between the ages of 18 and 34, (49 to 37 percent).

Both candidates do well among voters with strong party identification, with each receiving over 80 percent of their respective bases.

Voters’ religious backgrounds do seem to be significant in this race. Lazio does better than Clinton among Catholics (48 to 37 percent) and Protestants (45 to 41 percent), while Clinton has strong support from Jewish voters (71 to 22 percent).

However, the addition of Joe Lieberman to the Democratic presidential ticket does not seem to have a significant effect on the decisions of voters in the New York Senate race. Only 4 percent said that the choice made them more likely to support Clinton, and fully 90 percent said that Al Gore’s pick had no impact on their vote.

Candidate support also varies by race, with Clinton overwhelmingly capturing the support of African-Americans (82 to 4 percent), and Lazio leading 48 to 39 percent among white voters.

In the presidential race in New York State, Gore now has a commanding lead. If voters went to the polls today, Gore would beat George W. Bush by 10 percent (45 to 35 percent) in a four-way race including Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan.

This poll was conducted between August 9 and August 17. Reported results are based on the responses of 566 randomly selected registered, likely New York State voters. The margin of error for the poll is plus or minus 4 percent. Complete results and a project summary are available at www.yale.edu/newmedia.

The survey was conducted by InterSurvey of Menlo Park, Calif. InterSurvey administers surveys via an interactive TV device provided to its statistically valid, nationally representative panel, which is recruited using standard, established survey methodology.

This survey is part of a larger project sponsored by Yale’s Institution for Social and Policy Studies that investigates the effect of campaigns on the electorate. Consisting of several surveys administered to a panel of registered voters, the project measures how voters’ attitudes and opinions change as the campaign progresses. It also measures the impact of political advertisements on both the presidential race and the New York Senate race.

The principal investigator for the project, Lapinski, is an assistant professor of political science at Yale University and the director of Yale’s New Media Workshop. The project team includes Joshua Clinton, a Ph.D. candidate in Stanford University’s political science department and a statistical research scientist at InterSurvey, and Daniel Slotwiner, a Ph.D. candidate in political science at Columbia University and a senior research analyst at InterSurvey.

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Media Contact

Dorie Baker: dorie.baker@yale.edu, 203-432-1345