Wednesday, March 09, 2005

IBD poll hypes Condi 2008

Condi continues to cast her spell over key Republican constituencies.

Today Investors Business Daily published a new poll on Condi vs. Hillary. And IBD's coverage is as fair and impartial as the New York Times--which is to say, it's a pro-Condi puff-piece.

Let's get to the numbers. Condi loses to Hillary 50-37 with 11% not sure. We aren't given internals as to what percentage of the respondents were Democrats or Republicans, nor are we told if these are registered or likely voters.

Now there is no reason for Hillary to panic about any poll that shows her winning by 13 points. But the breakdowns are enough to give any Hillary strategist a lot to think about--and worry over.

White women break even 44-44. What?!? Hillary can't carry white women against Condi? Hillary must carry white women to beat a GOP candidate in 2008. This is bad news.

White men break for Condi 47-40. This probably represents a floor for Condi and a ceiling for Hillary. The 13% undecided in this group look to go heavily GOP.

Blacks support Hillary over Condi 84-6. This is not a shock: since she is a black Republican, many blacks will wonder if Condi is really black. At present, Condi runs behind W's 2004 numbers with blacks. It will be very difficult to keep Condi below W's numbers in any real campaign. Most likely Condi will get at least 25% of the black vote in any general election, and the chances of her getting a majority of the black vote are excellent. In that case, Hillary's 13 point overall lead collapses like a house of cards.

Hispanics support Hillary 56-27. That leaves 17% undecided. The truth is Hispanics just don't know what to make of Condi right. Nor is it easy to predict how this figure will change in a real campaign.

Married women support Hillary 45-43. Condi as a single woman will need to connect with the married women that are the core of the GOP coalition. Hillary's support level here may represent a ceiling--which would leave Hillary in serious trouble.

In all, this kind of poll raises real worries for Democrats: Hillary's 50% figure, initially encouraging, may well represent the ceiling of her support in any race against Condi--in which case, Senator Clinton can head back to her NYC town house, and Condi can worry about picking out the drapes in the Oval Office.

But last--look at IBD's cheerleading in this piece: "The contest is delicious to contemplate: Hillary Clinton, who, not withstanding her gestures to the right, cannot give up the shrill, Eleanor Roosevelt-inspired rhetoric of the divisive left. And Condi Rice, brilliant, ladylike, untarnished, triumphant as democracy takes hold in the Middle East. Both awesomely articulate. And one reaching deep into the American conscience as no political figure since Abraham Lincoln." [Italics added].

Holy smokes. So IBD--the rich white capitalist oppressor class--is now hailing as Condi as a figure who touches the American conscience as no political figure "since Abraham Lincoln"!?!

Now leaving aside how one feels about this as neutral journalism, what does it tell you about Condi's ability to electrify her party? Among exactly the part of the party that might be expected to be most suspicious of her, she seems to excite--well, dare I say, near-Reaganite enthusiasm?

2008 is a long way away, but if Condi keeps igniting this kind of wildfire passion among the Republican core, she will head into 2007 as the GOP front-runner for 2008.

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