The Washington Post reports that polling of Democrats in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina shows that Democrats prefer a presidential nominee who supported military action against Iraq, but criticized President Bush for not gaining international support, to a candidate who opposed military action from the beginning. This poll may be good news for Dick Gephardt and probably is good news for President Bush. It may be good news for Gephardt because, as I said yesterday, he seems to be gaining a niche as the one serious candidate who is standing up for the decision to go to war. Lieberman seems to be fading and Clark, Edwards, and Kerry are distancing themselves from the war. On the other hand, the poll did not focus on likely primary voters, much less likely caucus particants. And, even so, the poll shows Dean ahead in New Hampshire and even with Gephardt in Iowa, with opinion in South Carolina “mostly unformed.”
The poll may well be good news for Bush because if Democrats want someone who supported the war, then swing voters will most likely want the same thing. And unlike Democrats, these voters will tend to vote Republican if the Democrats don’t nominate such a candidate, and maybe even if they do.
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