July 10, 2006

50-0 FILES:


A shocking new poll in the super-Democratic state of Massachusetts shows Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton could be in trouble there if she faces Republican John McCain in the 2008 presidential race.

McCain draws 44 percent to Clinton's 43 - a statistical tie - in liberal lion Ted Kennedy's home state, the Rasmussen Reports poll found. Clinton's surprisingly weak showing comes despite the fact that Massachusetts voters say they'd prefer to vote for a Democrat in 2008 by an overwhelming ratio of 53 to 22 percent.

"It's hard to think of a scarier scenario for Democrats than Massachusetts being a tossup state in 2008. Even George McGovern [who lost 49 states in 1972] carried the Bay State," said independent pollster Scott Rasmussen.

Al Gore does no better than Clinton, and while Rudy Giuliani trails Clinton by 8 percentage points (50 to 42 percent), that's still strong for a Republican in such a Democratic state.

The problem for Democrats is that they've spent seven years lionizing Senator McCain, the GOP will have the advantage of incumbency in '08, and there's no Florida to make the party faithful hate him.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 10, 2006 12:00 PM

If Hillary really does stroll to the Dem nomination, the Repub primary starts to look like the real general. Barring a gigantic image improvement, Hillary gets buried by either Giuliani or McCain. She loses white males 70-30 and white females 55-45.

Posted by: Casey Abell at July 10, 2006 12:14 PM

The Republican Party loved Robert A. Taft, but they loved the idea of winning more. Hence Dewey and Eisenhower. It may not be conventions anymore, but how much reason is there to expect that things have changed, Mr. Judd? McCain or Rudy will be nominated, no doubt.

Posted by: John Thacker at July 10, 2006 12:33 PM

Taft would have beaten Truman and Stevenson, but East Coast party bosses ran things then. Since the Party went to primaries the nomination has gone to the next in line every single time. It'll be over after NH.

Posted by: oj at July 10, 2006 12:39 PM

Hillary loses married females.

Posted by: oj at July 10, 2006 12:41 PM

At this point, Hillary has a hard time getting out of the Democratic primaries. Democrats, at least the activists who vote in the primaries, are tired of her triangulating BS, her pandering, and trying to be all things to all people. The pundits all have her as practically a shoo-in for the nomination; I don't believe it. I don't know who it's going to be, and it might still be Hillary (and God, I hope not), but she's in for a serious fight.

Posted by: apc at July 10, 2006 1:21 PM

Iowa is organization and she'll have the best. NH loves the Clintons. Game, Set, Match.

Posted by: oj at July 10, 2006 1:39 PM

She'll certainly hire the best organizers (or at least the most expensive ones with the splashiest reputations), but I think that the ardent netroots activists learned from the Dean debacle in Iowa in 2004 that you actually need people that know how the Iowa caucus system works, and won't make the same mistakes again.

Plus, I think Mark Warner will be a player, and will be a really big factor on Super Tuesday. Also, there's bound to be a figure come out of nowhere to scramble things up. Nobody had heard of Howard Dean in 2002, and he changed the entire landscape. There are also dark horse candidates that are already sort of on the radar now like Bill Richardson.

There's also this: for the same reason the GOP would love to see Hillary on the ballot, there are lots of Democrats that don't want to see her there, and there will eventually be a groundswell of anti-Hillary sentiment in the Democratic Party. I think this will happen sooner rather than later. I don't think she's as popular with rank and file Democrats as you think she is.

Posted by: apc at July 10, 2006 2:08 PM

If the lefty activists had any nominating power, Dean would have been the pick in '04. It's too early for the polls to mean anything other than who has name recognition.

Posted by: b at July 10, 2006 2:09 PM

I used to agree with OJ on this one, I was certain that Hillary would be heading the Dem ticket in '08. Now I'm not so sure, the Lamont/Lieberman election gives me pause. The same lunatic fringe, I mean Democratic primary voters, that are salivating over the prospect of driving Lieberman out of the party are the ones that hate her as much as they do Bush. So if Lieberman wins the primary, I'm back to agreeing with OJ that she'll be leading the ticket in '08, but if he loses the primary, even if he wins the general, it's a tossup.

Posted by: Robert Modean at July 10, 2006 2:30 PM

It's the farther fringes of each party that control the primary process, let's not kid ourselves. That's why McCain, for all his supposed maverick credentials, and who already has one of the most conservative voting records in the Senate, is shoring up his far-right support by giving commencement addresses at places like Jerry Falwell's Liberty University. It's why the more centrist Carole Strayhorn dropped out of the Republican primary for governor to run as an Independent.

Dean's dismal showings in Iowa and New Hampshire (along with hourly airings of the end of the "I have a scream" speech for a solid month) killed his candidacy.

This Massachusetts poll supports my point from my previous post. Massachusetts is a solidly Democratic state. Hillary is simply not that popular with rank and file Democrats. The more telling response is the one that shows Massachusetts voters preferring a generic Democrat over a generic Republican by a percentage of 53-22.

Posted by: apc at July 10, 2006 3:04 PM

Mrs. C will have more money than God, 110% name recognition, union support and good organizers. Warner will have Jerome Armstrong for an advisor.

Dem women will not, repeat not, vote against her.

It has been 30 years since the leading contender lost the nomination in either party. She won't be the first.

While I favor Rudy and fear Warner a little, McCain and Clinton are locks for the nominations.

Posted by: Bob at July 10, 2006 3:41 PM

Things are going to change in the Democratic field after the mid-terms show GOP gains in the Senate and status quo in the House (up or down, 1 or 2 seats). Plus, NY is the only big governorship the Dems will win. They will probably keep PA, but the GOP is keeping OH, FL, and CA.

The Democratic nomination in 2008 is not going to be worth much, but the race will be bloody, unlike 2004. Hillary is going to have to fight. And defend. Mark Warner won't last 5 minutes - a 'centrist' candidate hasn't survived to make a splash on "Super Tuesday" since Jimmy Carter (no, OJ, Clinton in '92 doesn't count - Bob Kerrey was the 'centrist' in that race).

Posted by: jim hamlen at July 10, 2006 3:55 PM

This whole thing has been so slick. The country needs people as cunning as the Republicans running the GWOT.

Posted by: Lou Gots at July 10, 2006 3:57 PM

The Southern governor is always the conservative.

Posted by: oj at July 10, 2006 4:07 PM


It'll be long over by Super Tuesday and the extremes haven't won a nomination in either party ever--Dean, Kucinich, Bradley, Buchanan, Gramm, Jackson, Reagan, etc., all lost. Tancredo and Feingold are the extremes in this cycle and they're non-starters.

Posted by: oj at July 10, 2006 4:17 PM

It's a stretch (for different reasons) to call Kucinich, Bradley, Gramm, Buchanan, and Dean the 'extremist' candidates. Kucinich is insane, but the others had viable backing (though just not enough).

The only real extremists who have run in years are Fred Harris, Al Sharpton, John Anderson, and Pat Robertson. Of course, they didn't win, either. Perot would qualify as well, and he didn't even need the primaries.

Posted by: ratbert at July 10, 2006 4:49 PM

Yes, the notion that it's "It's the farther fringes of each party that control the primary process, let's not kid ourselves" is quite silly.

Posted by: oj at July 10, 2006 4:53 PM

Do you guy's think McCain would poll higher or lower if Rice were with him as VP?

I'm wondering how negative or not her close relationship with the Bush adm. would be. I'm guessing it wouldn't drag her down too much, and she would pick up a lot of black votes.

Posted by: RC at July 10, 2006 7:41 PM

To paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, you don't go to a general election with the dream candidate you wish you had, you go with the real candidate that is right at hand.

Posted by: jim hamlen at July 10, 2006 10:26 PM