by Michael Dimock, Associate Director, Research, Pew Research Center for the People & the Press
Heading into their first debate Thursday evening, what Republican candidates for the presidency need most is to gain visibility. The latest News Interest Index survey finds that two Democratic candidates – Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama – continue to be far and away the most visible, even to Republicans.
When asked to name the candidate they’ve heard the most about in the news lately of Americans, 41% of Americans volunteered Clinton and another 23% named Barack Obama. Mentions of all other candidates – including leading Republicans – were in single digits: 4% or fewer named John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney or John Edwards. The overall visibility of the candidates is virtually unchanged from a month ago.
Even among Republicans, Clinton and Obama overshadowed the other candidates. A majority of Republicans say they have heard the most about Clinton (38%) or Obama (22%) in the news recently. Just 8% of Republicans say Giuliani has been the most visible candidate recently, 5% cite McCain, and 2% Romney. Little has changed from a month ago, when 8% of Republicans were hearing most about Giuliani, 6% McCain, and less than 1% Romney. Overall, just 16% of Republicans say they have heard the most about a GOP candidate, while 64% name a Democratic candidate.