Half Of Registered Voters Want A Democratic President
A couple notes on the state of the nation and the press corps covering the 2008 race. First, the latest Newsweek poll released over the weekend shows Bush’s approval rating falling since his SOTU last week, now down to its lowest level ever in this poll, at 30 percent.
The president’s approval ratings are at their lowest point in the poll’s history—30 percent—and more than half the country (58 percent) say they wish the Bush presidency were simply over, a sentiment that is almost unanimous among Democrats (86 percent), and is shared by a clear majority (59 percent) of independents and even one in five (21 percent) Republicans. Half (49 percent) of all registered voters would rather see a Democrat elected president in 2008, compared to just 28 percent who’d prefer the GOP to remain in the White House.
Public fatigue over the war in the Iraq is not reflected solely in the president’s numbers, however. Congress is criticized by nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of Americans for not being assertive enough in challenging the Bush administration’s conduct of the war.
Hillary and Obama both lead all Republicans in mock 2008 match-ups, but Hillary has a large lead amongst registered Democrats in the 2008 race for the nomination. Yes, some would say it is too early to pay much attention to such things, but it isn’t too early to pay attention to how the press will be covering this race and specifically how they will be treating Hillary. There were a spate of stories over the weekend covering Hillary’s trip to Iowa, and surprisingly several were positive, as noted in today’s ABC News The Note.
Specifically, I direct your attention to Adam Nagourney’s piece in today/s NYT as a potential barometer of how the tide may have changed in press coverage of Hillary. And yet, if you want to see how the Beltway elite still look for ways to heighten Hillary's difficulties, take a look at how far the Post’s Dan Balz can spin the thoughts of Iowa Democrats and conclude that the race for the Democratic nomination is wide open. I value the opinion of Iowa Democrats, but frankly it is crappy political journalism to use the opinions of perhaps a dozen unscientifically-selected Democrats in one small Midwestern state to conclude anything about the 2008 Democratic nomination, unless of course you and your editors have an agenda tilted against Hillary.
Hillary can afford to use some humor and laugh a little. She, like Gore, has been fully trashed and vetted at the national level, and both of them have the advantage that there isn't much new to throw at them without it appearing that the media is gunning for them. Her response to the media detailed at the end of the Nagourney piece is dead-on, and the right way to deal with media attempts to draw more blood. She and Gore can simply say that after getting the pinata treatment from the media for years, and then watching this same media enable a GOP president to lead us into a war, a little balance and perspective is in order now.
If California, New York, and other larger states move up their primaries to February, Clinton's cash advantage will kick into gear in response. Team Clinton is prepping for that outcome, taking advantage of the new schedule to capture large numbers of delegates early so that the race will be pretty much over. It won't matter by then what the fine folks in Iowa or New Hampshire think, and Balz should know that.
I am not a Clinton supporter at this point, and what I think is irrelevant anyway. But Hillary is the one candidate who would have all the advantages in place if there are a rush of states that front-load their primaries and caucuses, and her team knows it.