A Rasmussen Reports poll of 800 likely voters released on Wednesday found that those surveyed have a much different opinion of the role of lobbyists and their ability to influence politicians than the current 2008 Democratic frontrunner. At the Yearly Kos event over this past weekend Clinton said, “I don’t think, based on my 35 years of fighting for what I believe in, anybody seriously believes I’m going to be influenced by a lobbyist.” However when the poll asked voters if they seriously thought that Hillary Clinton could be influenced by lobbyists 48% said that she would be, 24% said that she wouldn’t be, and 28% were not sure. She fared much better among Democrats, of which 30% said that she would be influenced, 35% said she wouldn’t be, and 35% weren’t sure.

At the same gathering last weekend Clinton defended lobbyists by saying, “A lot of those lobbyists, whether you like it or not, represent real Americans, but only 12% agreed, and 71% disagreed with her. Voter dislike of lobbyists cut across party lines, as 67% of Democrats, 69% of Republicans, and 78% of Independents said that lobbyists don’t represent real Americans. Clinton did fare better than the generic politician when the question was asked, “Do you seriously believe that most politicians would be influenced by a lobbyist?” Sixty three percent said yes that they thought politicians would be influenced by lobbyists, 15% said no, and the remaining 22% were unsure.

Judging by the results of this poll, I would expect Edwards and Obama to continue to hammer Clinton with the tag of being the candidate of the special interests. The truth here is that every big time candidate takes special interest money. The difference between Clinton and everyone else is that they aren’t dumb enough to defend the lobbyists. This was a gigantic blunder on her part, but so far there have been very few consequences for her mistakes. What her statements last weekend did do was create a crack in the self constructed image of Hillary Clinton as someone who will fight for change. It remains to be seen whether this will cause voters to rethink their support of Hillary.  To me, what is more likely to happen is that this issue dies in a few weeks, and Democratic voters go back to the business of handing her their 2008 nomination on a silver platter.

Link to the poll 

Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at 411mania.com.  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at www.411mania.com/politics 

Jason can also be heard every Sunday at 7:00 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepoliticaluniverse


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