Hillary Poll

One Democrat reports getting an interesting polling call from in Manhattan Saturday, one that provides a glimpse into somebody’s strategy in the 2006 Senate race.

The poll was at least testing the responses to a Hillary vow not to seek the presidency. (Eat your heart out, John Podhoretz.)

The pollster didn’t identify a client, but the poll included fairly in-depth “message-testing,” as it’s known, into three aspects of the likely Clinton-Pirro match-up: Pirro’s selling points, Pirro’s negatives, and — most suggestive — how Hillary should be responding to questions for her plans for 2008.

According to the detailed, but possibly imperfect, recounting of the poll provided to the Politicker, the pollster asked how the respondent felt about Hillary’s not serving a full term, then tested at least three possible responses to the notion that Clinton’s presidential aspirations make her unfit to win reelection from New York:

-She’s part of a “great tradition” of officials who won’t rule out a presidential run, one that includes Bobby Kennedy, Mario Cuomo, and John Kerry.

-It’s good for New York to have a New York Senator with a national presence.

-She should vow not to run.

The Pirro message-testing was less provocative. There were a series of question about which element of her record is most appealing: Stopping gangs? Fighting domestic violence? Advocating for abused children?

There were also a series of possible attacks, none of which mentioned her husband, Al. One, however, did focus on “integrity” and mentioned her tax problems. Another line was that she has “no substance.” Another was that she’s running for personal advancement.

A Clinton spokesman declined to comment on whether the call came from Clinton pollster Mark Penn. A Pirro spokesman didn’t return a call asking if it was her poll. The person who got the poll, a politically sophisticated type whose guess is probably better than mine, felt fairly confident it was from Clinton. But that’s only an educated guess.