The 2008 Horse Race

I hate Horse Race politics, but like everybody else, I can't seem to tear myself away...

Quinnipiac ranks national leaders (including many 2008 contenders) and finds that Nancy Pelosi has made the biggest gains from her spot at the bottom of the last poll, taken September 5th.

The survey, taken the week after the Democrats won back Congress, asks voters to rate the warmth of their feelings for leaders on a scale of 0 - 100. The mean scores for each politician with the percentage not knowing enough about the individual to rate him or her:

1) Rudolph Giuliani - 64.2. (9)

2) Sen. Barack Obama 58.8 (41)

3) Sen. John McCain 57.7 (12)

4) Condoleezza Rice - 56.1 (7)

5) Bill Clinton - 55.8 (1)

6) Sen. Joseph Lieberman - 52.7 (16)

7) NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg - 51.1 (44)

8) John Edwards - 49.9 (20)

9) Sen. Hillary Clinton - 49 (1)

10) N.M. Gov. Bill Richardson - 47.7 (65)

11) Sen. Joseph Biden 47 (52)

12) Nancy Pelosi 46.9 (34)

13) Gov. Mitt Romney - 45.9 (64)

14) Former VP Al Gore - 44.9 (3)

15) President George Bush - 43.8 (1)

16) Sen. Evan Bayh - 43.3 (75)

17) Newt Gingrich - 42 (15)

18) Sen. Bill Frist - 41.5 (53)

19) Sen. Harry Reid - 41.2 (61)

20) Sen. John Kerry - 39.6 (5)
John Kerry's gaffe didn't seem to destroy Democrat's ability to win elections during the midterms but it did destroy any chance at a meaningful attempt by the Massachusetts Senator to mount another Presidential run. Other hopefuls that don't seem to be in position to run include Bill Frist and Newt Gingrich. Evan Bayh's numbers aren't that good, but with 75% of respondents not knowing enough to form an opinion, his could go up. Romney, Richardson, and Biden find themselves in a similar situation.

Hillary Clinton is in the peculiar position of having 'topped out' on the support meter. Her 49% 'approval' rating wouldn't be so bad except that 99% of respondents have already formed an opinion - there's no room for improvement. This doesn't bode well for Hillary when compared to the other front runners, McCain and Giuliani.

A note, though, on Giuliani: If he were to make a real run at the presidency, people would start to look more closely at 'America's Mayor.' While the good feelings about Rudy from his actions on 9/11 and the aftermath resonate well with all Americans, his other positions won't mesh with the majority of his party's base. Expect his numbers to fall (especially among GOP primary voters) as other Republican contenders paint him as 'too liberal' and 'out of touch with Republican values.'

Lieberman's numbers are surprising. His supporters are more likely to be Republicans than members of his own party. I would say that this doesn't bode well for his staying 'blue' except that Joe's smart enough to realize that if he switched parties, he'd be in real trouble.

The real winner here is Barack Obama. With a 58.8 rating and lot of room to grow (41% of respondents didn't know enough about him to form an opinion) Obama is perhaps in the best position of any potential candidate on the list.

That said, the winners of the 2006 midterm haven't even begun their terms, so all of this could change wildly in the next two years. All speculation at this point borders on tea reading...


The Ripper said...

I gotta say, this business about Obama being a serious 2008 candidate is all a fantasy. Perhaps VP, but there is 0 chance he is our next pres. All this talk is for his book and for the media to sell newspapers (or get viewers)...


Griffin said...


I see a lot of Democrats anxious to find somebody - anybody - other than Hillary Clinton. Kerry's out, Edwards still doesn't feel Presidential. Biden and Bayh are outliers and Clark hasn't done anything lately. Gore won't run, neither will Dean or Feingold. Bill Clinton, though he'd win in a landslide, can't.

I'm not ready to say he's the one, but I'm not going to count him out either. Like I said in the post, there's an awful lot of time between now and 2008.