August 14, 2002


REV. AL'S POLL VAULT (DEBORAH ORIN, August 14, 2002, NY Post)
A shocking new poll shows Al Sharpton looms as a player in Democratic presidential politics who could become the new Jesse Jackson, although Al Gore remains the favorite by a mile.

Gore is way ahead, at 41 percent, and no one else hits double digits in the battle for the 2004 nomination to challenge George W. Bush - but Sharpton is doing as well as any other Democratic wannabe.

Sharpton runs even with House Democratic leader Dick Gephardt, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts and 2000 contender Bill Bradley - all at 5 percent - and just 1 point behind Gore's 2000 running mate, Joe Lieberman, at 6.

He also tops Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota (3 percent) and the pundits' favorite, Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, who drew just 2 percent in the Zogby International poll of likely Democratic primary voters nationwide.

The Democrats can't continually play the race card without running the risk that sooner or later blacks will actually want a place at the Party table. If they do nominate a moderate/conservative (for a Democrat) like a Joe Lieberman, it would not be at all surprising to see Al Sharpton run as an Independent or maybe even a Green. He could draw votes from blacks and other disaffected minorities and from the far Left. That's not a winning recipe, but it might be George Wallace/John Anderson/Ross Perot territory, and that's serious bad news for the Dems. Alternatively, he can make the Democrats publicly Mau-Mau him and that too is bad news for a party that learned under Bill Clinton that it can win if it runs to the Right in the general election. Posted by Orrin Judd at August 14, 2002 8:00 PM
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