IN HINDISGHT: A WARNING FROM THE GHOST OF GALLUP POLLS PAST FOR THE GOP
The really beautiful part about being a political journalist in Hell is that you have numerous resources to draw from relating to present day events on Terra. This morning I’ve been looking at recent polls from Real Clear Politics an excellent clearinghouse of state and national polls this far out from the general election. I’ve also gone back in time to October of 2007 when all of what you are living now really started from a Democratic Party perspective. Right now there is only one poll showing one GOP candidate for chief executive that Hillary Clinton can beat in the general election and that person is Donald Trump.
Now let’s take a trip back in time to 2007. In that time these were the words being written by the fine folks at Gallup:
Gallup’s 2007 national presidential polling strongly points to Clinton winning the 2008 Democratic nomination. Barring something unusual or otherwise unexpected, she is well positioned for the 2008 Democratic primaries. Obama has not been an insignificant rival: he came within single digits of tying Clinton for the lead at two points this spring. But he has recently lost ground and is now in the weakest position relative to Clinton that he has been in all year.
No other announced or potential Democratic candidate has come close to threatening Clinton’s front-runner status since the campaign began, including former Vice President Al Gore and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards.
When 2008 is history and one looks retrospectively at where the race stands today, the key factors forecasting Clinton’s success will likely be the following:
Clinton Has Had a Consistent Run at the Top
Clinton has led the Democratic pack in every Gallup Poll conducted between November 2006 and October 2007. For most of this time, Clinton has led Obama by a double-digit margin.
Clinton’s lead over Obama has expanded to nearly 30 points in Gallup’s latest poll, conducted Oct. 12-14: 50% vs. 21%.
Gallup polling on Democratic nominations going back to the 1972 election shows that, by historical standards, a lead of even 20 points is large for Democratic candidates. The two candidates who held this distinction in the fall months before the election year (Gore in 1999 and Walter Mondale in 1983) eventually won the Democratic nomination.
Equally, the GOP state of affairs 8 years ago shed some curious light on the state of the GOP today:
The Republican presidential nomination race at this point looks to be much more competitive than the Democratic contest, and atypical compared with past GOP nomination campaigns.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani has held a statistically significant lead in every Gallup national preference poll since February, averaging a 12-point lead over former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson the past three months. Arizona Sen. John McCain is third, but usually just a few points behind Thompson. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has not gained much traction in the national polls. In the most recent Gallup Poll, just 10% of Republicans chose him for the Republican presidential nomination. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has seen his support pick up a little in the past few months, but he remains in single digits. Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback’s departure from the race — announced this past weekend — will almost certainly have little direct effect, as he consistently polled at only 1% or 2% of the vote.
Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson; one is politicially dead and the other one is dead. I mean really dead he died recently I am told. I mean Thompson not Rudy. But anyway you can see where I am going here. Hillary was inevitable in 2007 and that didn’t work out so well for her did it? Trump or Carson by the polling seem to be more like the GOP field in 2008 and I predict neither of them will be nominee anymore than Giuliani or Thompson were in 2008.
Of course, in the peri-post-Obama political climate in America there are always chances that some surprise may come well before Super Tuesday that has all of us talking about someone who we thought were done long ago. Keep in minds that just before January 2008 there were whispers that he was going to suspend his campaign due to lack of funds. Sure all of this talk of Carson and Trump and the bickering between Rubio and Bush is fun for political junkies like me but in reality this is just the window dressing of Presidential election politics. This is simply the first of three drinks given free to get the crowd ready for the headliners.
What I do see is a test being done by those in the establishment of what they will need to do to save the party from itself at the convention if Carson or Trump have the delegates to win and the off switch on their gaffe machines are no longer working. And gaffes there will be once they are the candidates for the general. People know Hillary Clinton, pragmatic, ruthless a win at all cost woman who missed her chance in 2008 and won’t let that happen again. On the right the candidates are unknowns and are being forced away from the very people who can elect them, moderates who are sick of politicians, in the name of conservative purity. Come to the center your base flees; pander to your base and the moderates vote for the Democrat. There’s a long way to go but if I can inject a personal note into all of this mayhem I would ask Donald Trump to leave Sara Murray alone. She is a good journalist and she isn’t out to get you and because she’s such a good journalist she’s the last person you really want to piss off.
Fredrick Schwartz, D.S.V.J., CS, O.Q.H [Journ.]
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