None of the Republican candidates is viewed favorably by even half of the Republican electorate, the poll found. [snip]
By contrast, Democrats are happier with their field and more settled in their decisions. For all the problems Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York appears to be having holding off her rivals Iowa and New Hampshire, she remains strong nationally, the poll found. Even after what her aides acknowledge has been two of the roughest months of her candidacy, she is viewed by Democrats as a far more electable candidate in the general election than either Senator Barack Obama of Illinois or John Edwards of North Carolina.
Not only did substantially more Democratic voters judge her to be ready for the presidency than those who believed Mr. Obama is prepared for the job, the poll found, but more Democrats said Mrs. Clinton could bring the country together than those who said Mr. Obama was someone who could unite different groups. [snip]
The poll found that former President Bill Clinton could be an effective campaign weapon for his wife. Forty-four percent of Democrats said Mr. Clinton’s involvement would make them more likely to support Mrs. Clinton.
The poll found just 1 percent said they might be swayed by the involvement of Oprah Winfrey, who has been campaigning for Mr. Obama in Iowa, South Carolina and New Hampshire the last three days, drawing huge crowds and allowing the Obama campaign to identify new supporters.
Yesterday, Ripublican George Will said “If celebrity endorsements elected presidents, we’d never have any Republican presidents.”
It’s not that celebrities don’t endorse Ripublicans, it’s just that usually the celebrities that endorse Ripublicans are, to be polite, stars that have dimmed or never shone brightly.
Today, Big Media Bible The Hotline had some observations on celebrity endorsements and polls.
Watch out, Oprah. You’ve got company.
— As candidates roll out celebrity endorsements this week, the debate on whether or not they matter continues. But sometimes an endorsement is more than just a photo-op, and actually promotes a candidate’s message as no one else could.
— Oprah-looza did just that for Obama. There’s no guarantee that the thousands who packed into her IA, NH and SC events will vote for Obama – if they vote at all. But it gave Obama’s inspiration-based message a bigger/stronger platform than any amount of paid media could buy. And given the closeness to Christmas, isn’t this the best possible environment for a message of “hope” to flourish? Still, can the Oprah-bounce last?
— A slew of new polls show HRC losing ground in early states. But just as important, neither Obama nor Edwards has made any significant gains, meaning neither one has sealed the deal. Can Edwards stay competitive enough to deny Obama the A-B-C vote?
— If HRC is to get focus off “inspiration” and onto her “experience” turf, the 12/13 DMR debate may be her last chance to do it.
No sooner said than done. Maya Angelou, the respected African-American poet and author, and close friend of Oprah recorded a radio advertisement for Hillary which dramatically reinforces the Hillary message:
Hello South Carolina, this is Maya Angelou. Let me tell you about my girl… Hillary Clinton. As a child, Hillary Clinton was taught that all God’s children are equal, so as a mother she understood that her child wasn’t safe unless all children were safe.
I know what kind of president Hillary Clinton will be because I know who she is. Hillary Clinton has always been a strong woman and a passionate protector of families. For 35 years, that’s exactly what she has been doing.
Each generation of African Americans stands on the shoulders of those who came before. Today, the challenges facing us threaten the dreams we have had for our children. We need a president with the experience and strength to meet those challenges. I am inspired by Hillary Clinton’s commitment and courage … a daughter, a wife, a mother… my girl.
Oprah like Obama is at bottom, a creature of glitz. Maya Angelou is a woman of substance and strength. Glitz tarnishes. We doubt, that Oprah has the power Obama attributes to her: “If Oprah said, ‘Kill all the husbands, the blood would be running in the streets.’ Now that’s power!” [Note: some confusion in the comments; this “Kill all the husbands” quote is an actual Obama quote from this weekend.]
While celebrity endorsements are fun and great to have, it is the candidate that has to convince the voters to support them with a vote. The Hotline is probably right that the next Democratic debate, this Thursday, will be a closely watched and important debate.
As to The Hotline’s poll theories, we will have a further discussion in subsequent parts of “Fear Of Hillary”. For now though, it is true that neither Obama nor Edwards has made any significant gains in the polls.
Yesterday Mark Penn tried educating the public as to the current state of the political race in order to counteract the entertainment factor which Big Media is ladling.
What’s happening in the Democratic primary for president?
A lot less than the headlines would suggest.
Iowa continues to be a competitive race while Hillary is maintaining meaningful leads in all the other states and in the national polls that are representative of her Feb 5th strength.
But with the plethora of polls it is becoming increasingly difficult to follow what is a trend, what is a poll without a trend, what is a screened phone poll and what is a computer driven poll. The natural tendency is for those polls that show it closer to get more attention. They are “news.”
Penn provides the most recent polling data as an example of how Big Media is failing to educate the public. Instead of educating the public Big Media is entertaining the public.
There’s yet a new case-in-point of poll confusion today with the release of a slew of Mason-Dixon polls – but a look at their past polls paints a very different story than at first glance. For example, they have Hillary ahead by 3 points today in SC and pundits suggest that this shows how the race has closed. But while other polls showed a strong lead in June, the Mason-Dixon poll had Hillary losing by 9 points in June, so this actually shows Hillary’s margin up by 12 points from their last poll and surging. When you look at the facts by tracking results over time from the same poll, she is up, not down. Other polls give her a much wider lead than Mason-Dixon: the latest Pew poll has Hillary ahead by 14 points in South Carolina and the latest ARG poll has her 24 points ahead.
Because predicting primaries is extremely difficult and everyone has their own methodologies, you have to look at polls from the same pollsters to see if there have been changes.
Similarly, the Mason Dixon poll in NH shows a close race with a 3 point lead for Hillary – but their last poll in June gave her a 5 point lead – and a WMUR/CNN poll around the same time had Hillary leading in New Hampshire by 15 points. So Mason-Dixon was low in June and they actually show no statistically significant change in her margin now.
2nd case in point: Last week three polls of New Hampshire Democratic primary voters were released. One showed Hillary with a 14 point lead (Marist), one showed Hillary with an 11 point lead (Zogby) and one gave Hillary a 6 point lead (ABC/Washington Post). Which poll got the most attention? The one that showed the closest race – ABC/Washington Post. And poll junkies should also note that New Hampshire polling is particularly difficult because it is often unclear to the last minute which independent voters are coming to which primary – and Hillary has a strong and energized lead with Democrats.
Friday’s AP/Ipsos national poll shows Hillary with a 22 point lead – about the same as it was one month ago. And this week’s LA Times/Bloomberg and Pew polls also show Hillary with a 23-24 point lead – about two to one over her closest competitor.
In Iowa, polls all show it close, with no clear leader. Friday’s Newsweek poll shows Hillary ahead by one point among all Iowa Democrats. Among likely caucus-goers, Hillary is in second place, six points behind the leader, just two points lower than in September.
Four other polls this past week show Hillary ahead in Iowa: by 3 points in the Zogby poll, 5 points in the Pew poll, 7 points in the Iowa State University poll and 3 points in the Edwards campaign’s internal poll. And a poll in last weekend’s Des Moines Register put Hillary Clinton in second place – three points behind the leader.
In Nevada, the latest poll done by ARG through December 6th has Hillary ahead there by 27 points and the latest Research 2000 poll has Hillary ahead by 25 points. Again, Mason-Dixon had it closer before and even closer now – but that’s not what the others show.
Mark Penn restates what we have noted: “Iowa is a state where Hillary started behind and has been improving steadily. But the polls in the other states show meaningful leads as we head into the home stretch, and Hillary maintains a national base in Feb 5th states that is strong and unmatched.”
The polling picture will continue to fluctuate. As more communications are directed towards voters by all the campaigns, views will shift. In Iowa, the holidays, the weather, the collapse of candidates with less than 15% support in individual precincts on caucus night, football games and babysitting problems will all affect the outcome of the vote.
While we may not know which variables will have a dispositive effect on the elections we do know how Big Media wants to trash our elections.