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Poll: Mixed messages for Hillary Clinton

• Clinton invites Iowa backers
U.S. Senate
Hillary Rodham Clinton
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(CNN) -- More than half of those responding to a new poll said they would be at least somewhat likely to vote for Sen. Hillary Clinton if she runs for president in 2008.

But those saying they are virtually certain to vote against her topped those virtually certain to support her by 10 percentage points in the CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll.

The poll found 29 percent were very likely to cast a vote for Hillary Clinton for president and 24 percent said they were somewhat likely.

Seven percent were not very likely and 39 percent said they were not at all likely. The margin of error was plus or minus 5 percentage points.

The poll found her on stronger ground than in June 2003, when a similar poll had as its respective numbers: 21, 21, 12 and 44.

According to the latest poll, 55 percent of respondents reported a favorable view of her, while 39 had an unfavorable one. The margin of error for that question was plus or minus 3 percentage points.

These findings were similar to the June 2003 poll that found 53 percent reacted favorably toward her and 41 percent unfavorably.

The pollsters also asked respondents their view of Clinton's place on the political spectrum.

Fifty-four percent of all those questioned said they consider her a liberal, 30 percent a moderate and 9 percent a conservative, with a 3 percentage-point margin of error.

Among registered voters, the numbers were virtually the same, with 56 percent considering her a liberal.

When asked how likely they would be to vote for a woman in 2008, 32 percent of registered voters said very likely, 41 percent said somewhat likely, 9 percent said not very likely, and 11 percent not at all likely. The question did not explore whether the political viewpoint of the woman would affect the voters' attitudes.

The results were based on telephone interviews with 1,006 adults, ages 18 and older, conducted last Friday through Sunday.

The release of the poll comes amid steps by Edward Cox, son-in-law of President Richard Nixon, to challenge Clinton for her U.S. Senate seat from New York. (Full story)

Clinton served on the staff of the congressional Impeachment Inquiry in the wake of Nixon's Watergate scandal in 1974.

A poll earlier this month by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute found overwhelming support for her -- 67 percent -- among New York voters, if she decides to run for re-election next year. Among Democrats, however, 65 percent surveyed want her to pledge to serve out a full term if she runs, negating a 2008 White House bid.

Sixty-one percent also said they'd like her to run for president.(Full story)

Asked by CNN whether she could pledge today that she would serve out her U.S. Senate term if re-elected, or whether she would pursue a White House run in 2008, Clinton declined to say. "I am focused on winning re-election," she said.

"My view is that life unfolds in its own rhythm. I've never lived a life that I thought I could plan out."

Meanwhile, the former finance director of her ultimately successful 2000 U.S. Senate campaign is awaiting his fate before a federal grand jury. David Rosen is accused of underreporting the costs of a star-studded fund-raiser four years ago. (Full story)

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