Americans ready for a female president

Condi is polling ahead of Hillary.

Published February 21, 2006 1:35PM (EST)

A poll released Sunday from Hearst Newspapers found that 48 percent of Americans think Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice should run for president in 2008, up from 42 percent in a similar poll conducted a year ago. (Rice has said repeatedy that she's not interested in the job.) Meanwhile, Americans seem less excited about the prospect of another President Clinton than they did just a year ago. Forty-four percent of respondents said Sen. Hillary Clinton, who now leads all potential Democratic candidates for the party's nomination in 2008, should not run for president, up from 37 percent a year ago. Fifty-one percent of respondents said she should run, compared with 53 percent last year.

The survey did not test a head-to-head contest between Rice and Clinton.

Other interesting results: A majority of registered voters thought a female president would handle national security issues as well as a male president would, including serving as commander in chief. More Democrats -- 91 percent -- said they would be willing to elect a woman president than Republicans -- 68 percent. And 97 percent of respondents said that a female vice president would be unlikely to shoot a friend in the face. Kidding!

Overall, 64 percent of Americans say they are ready to elect a woman chief executive, which mirrors a similar poll conducted last year by Siena College's Research Institute that found 62 percent of Americans would be willing to vote for a female president. (FYI: Siena will sponsor a symposium on March 23-24 called "Becoming Madame President: The Campaign.")

In the past year, voters in Germany, Liberia and Chile have elected women to the office of president. Maybe in the not-so-distant future the U.S. will join the list.

By Lori Leibovich

Lori Leibovich is a contributing editor at Salon and the former editor of the Life section.

MORE FROM Lori Leibovich

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