Thursday, February 15, 2007

Numbers and Notes – Good News For the Frontrunners

This week’s polling data brings good news for the Presidential frontrunners, Clinton and Giuliani.
Based on the Gallup Poll from last weekend, Hillary Clinton’s lead over Barack Obama has grown for 11 in January (29-18) to 19 now (40-21). Since November, Clinton’s margin over Obama was consistently in the 12 point range, this is a significant jump up. Now it’s only one poll and we shouldn’t overreact and the extensive coverage of Obama’s entrance into the race might not have had the major effect that is expected, but it can’t be considered anything but good news for the Clinton camp. The other candidates are going nowhere, with Al Gore the only one gaining more than a point. In a head-to-head matchup among Democrats and those who lean to the Democrats, Clinton beat Obama 62-33, more than double the margin in January (53-39). Again, it’s only one poll and we have to wait until next month to see whether it’s indicative of a shift, but it could indicate a more general acceptance of Hillary as the likely nominee.


Speaking of acceptance, the electability issue has been a key reason why many Democrats have been leery of Hillary. The same Gallup poll shows that 44% of Dems and leaners think Clinton is the most electable and 27% think Edwards is, with only 21% picking Obama.
This brings up the interesting possibility that Hillary is helped by having Obama in the race (and potentially, Obama by having Hillary there) – she ceases to be the “unusual” candidate with Obama there, enabling her (and voters) to be able to focus less on her historic nature and more on her qualifications. I still believe that having Nancy Pelosi as Speaker helps in the general acceptance of a woman in a position of power.

Yes, there’s a long way to go, but even 11 months out, the other Democrats, (or, “the white guys”), are going to have start getting some traction soon. Edwards has declared that he will raise enough money and has decided to pass on matching funds, but people don’t like giving money to losers and politicians don’t like supporting them either. WE may be 11 months from the start of the elections, but we’re less than 12 from the effective end of them and there just won’t be time to build momentum before the major primary states. As I’ve pointed out before, you may be able to raise money quickly via the internet, but you won’t have the time to spend it effectively.

Over on the Republican side, while John McCain has held steady at around 25% of the votes for months, Giuliani has jumped from around 30 up to 40. Rudy led 31-27 in January, that lead is now 40-24. Head-to-head, Giulaini’s lead over McCain has grown from 8 in January (50-42) to 18 now (57-39). The other Republicans haven’t moved at all.
Rasmussen, which polls weekly, has Rudy up by 14, up from 8 just a week ago, so this may be a real trend here.

Mitt Romney will be running some early TV commercials, apparently to let Americans know who he is. For a man whose religious beliefs will be an issue, announcing his candidacy at a museum honoring one of America’s greatest anti-semites, Henry Ford, was not such a good start.

Of course, we look at Rudy’s numbers with suspicion, since we can’t believe the religious right will vote for a pro-choice, pro-gay rights, thrice-married candidate. When will the negative ads begin? Who will pay for them? It starts to become a game of chicken within the GOP primary field and is a very interesting one to watch.

Two fascinating numbers from Public Policy Polling of 448 likely voters in North Carolina. First, 43% want the next President to be a Democrat, 41% want it to be a Republican. This has been a solid red state of late and this indicates a potential shift. Specific candidates will surely change this, but if NC is in play, surely VA will be.
The other interesting result is a health care question: 51% prefer "a universal health insurance program, where everyone is covered under a program like Medicare that is run by the government and financed by taxpayers”, 37% prefer the current system. If only the Democrats had the balls to actually get behind the Kennedy proposal and make this a real core issue. One can only dream...


Blogger samG said...

My only question/comment, at the moment, is; Where is the 'core' conservative base of the Republican party. Surely they can't be enamored with the idea of Rudy, McCain or Romney. Are they split between Brownback, Huckabee and Hunter? Are they holding their nose and supporting Rudy? Are they forming a third party?

9:31 AM  
Blogger Barry Rubinowitz said...

The base is for Rudy at the moment, but that's because they have no idea what his history is. There is some polling data that indicates that when told about his social views many of them would bail. Romney is trying hard to get them.
Next week the National Religious Broadcasters are meeting in Orlando. McCain, Romney, Brownback, and Huckabee will be there -- Rudy will not.
Rudy's biggest edge is that they don't trust McCain and that Rudy is the most likely candidate to beat the Democrats. The spectre of President Hillary Clinton could be enough to get even the most reluctant evangelicals on board, especially if he promises them the VP and something about the courts.

11:44 AM  
Blogger samG said...

Further to my earlier comment, a new poll (I forget which) finds that about 60% of Republican voters are unaware that Ruday is, or at least has been for most of his adult life, "pro-choice". It suggests that the support for Rudy is not a function of thoughtful consideration (surprise, surprise) but rather a by-product of incredible ignorance and yet another exmaple of the demise of democratic politics.

5:16 PM  

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