Senators John McCain of Arizona and Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York emerged as the top early choices among Arizona voters for the 2008 presidential election, according to a new poll.
Neither of the frontrunners has publicly committed to running. McCain repeatedly has said he will not decide until after the mid-term elections in November. Clinton also has been vague.
Among Republicans, McCain was the top choice among more than 40 percent of those surveyed in the Rocky Mountain Poll. McCain unsuccessfully sought the party’s nomination in 2000.
He was followed in the survey by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Next were former Rep. Newt Gingrich of Georgia, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Sen. Bill Frist of Tennessee and Sen. George Allen of Virginia.
“Seeing McCain with numbers that high two years out is obviously a positive for our state party,” said Arizona Republican Party spokesman Garrick Taylor.
McCain polled well among Tucson and rural residents, as well as among those under 35 and among Hispanics, said Earl de Berge, research director for Phoenix-based Behavior Research Center, which conducted the survey.
Among Democrats, Clinton was selected by a third among those surveyed.
The former first lady polled particularly well among minorities, who selected her nearly 45 percent of the time, de Berge said.
She was trailed by 2004 vice presidential nominee John Edwards, a former Senator from North Carolina; and 2004 presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts.
Next were former Vice President Al Gore, retired Gen. Wesley Clark and Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware.
“It’s way too early to be handicapping the 2008 presidential race,” said Alice McKeon, spokeswoman for the Arizona Democratic Party. “Arizona Democrats are focusing our efforts on the upcoming 2006 elections in less than 100 days.”
The survey found that large blocks of voters from both parties have yet to focus on the presidential election. Fifteen percent of Republican voters either want someone else or are undecided, while 27 percent of Democrats are still looking.
The survey of 251 Republicans and 284 Democrats statewide was conducted between July 8 and 21.
It has a margin of error of 6.3 percent.