…and, having ritually acknowledged that polls taken this early mean nothing, it’s interesting to note the results that have just come out from the ABC News/Washington Post and Newsweek polls, as analyzed by Real Clear Politics.
The ABC poll relates to the parties’ respective nomination races, and shows Giuliani with a seven-point lead over McCain, and Hillary Clinton with a 24-point lead over Obama. I regard these intra-party polls as the least significant, since there is a lot of volatility as the campaign progresses and they don’t take into effect the dynamics of the primary process.
The Newsweek poll is of more interest, I think, because it and similar polls are early indicators of how much the electorate’s disgust with Republicans, as manifested in the ’06 results, will carry over into ’08. This particular poll shows essentially dead heats in all the races–Hillary vs. McCain, Obama vs. Giuliani, etc. As in a number of other surveys I’ve seen lately, John Edwards runs a little better than either Clinton or Obana.
But Patrick Ruffini points out that Newsweek sampled 37% Democrats to only 26% Republicans. If you adjust the Newsweek numbers to reflect the proportions of Republicans and Democrats who actually voted in ’06, McCain and Giuliani both lead Clinton by five to seven points, and lead Obama and Edwards by varying margins, as well.
And 2006 was, of course, a year in which Republican and Republican-leaning independent turnout was significantly depressed in many states. So these results suggest that the electorate may not be waiting in the wings to whack the Republicans in ’08 the way they did in ’06.
More significantly, they may reflect the weakness of the Democratic candidates. I’ve said several times that Hillary will not be elected President because her negatives start out too high, and will go higher as people focus on the bizarre prospect of sending Bill Clinton back to the White House in an undefined and historically unprecedented role. Obama, despite the media’s swoon, is unknown to most Americans. And we’ve already seen Edwards, who tends to come off the best of all the Democrats in polls, in action. Up against Dick Cheney, he looked like a schoolboy, and he couldn’t deliver his home state of North Carolina for John Kerry.
Looking at polls at this stage is of limited utility, of course. The actual results in ’08 will depend in large part on events that have not yet occurred, and cannot be foreseen. But, for what it’s worth, these numbers suggest that the Democrats might have a more uphill road to retake the White House than is commonly believed.
Via Power Line News.
UPDATE: A poster at the Forum asks:
Could this be the same wishful thinking that was heard thru the fall of