Wednesday, August 03, 2005

More Presidential Politics - Hillary's Dilemma

Hillary Clinton, New York's junior Senator, seems to have nothing standing between her and the Democratic nomination for President in 2008. Between April and June, she raised $6 million and now has $12 million in campaign funds on hand. Every single poll conducted by an established group - Zogby, Fox News, Marist, Gallup - since the November election has shown her atop the potential Democratic candidates. The latest Zogby poll shows her ahead of runners-up John Kerry and John Edwards (each with 14%) by 19 percentage points and a Fox survey from the middle of June yields the former First Lady a 27-point advantage.

For Hillary fans, this is all good news. But there is one potential stumbling block, and it - like the reasons she has for feeling confident about a potential Presidential run - is made evident by polling. A Quinnipiac University poll released today shows that New Yorkers overwhelmingly - by a 2-to-1 margin - would want Hillary to pledge to serve her full six-year term if she is re-elected in 2006. Now, this is understandable. As Senator, she has secured tremendous amounts of homeland security money for the state and has a 63% approval rating. But what's curious is that nearly as many New Yorkers who want Mrs. Clinton to serve out the full term also acknowledge that she is likely to run for President in 2008 and say that they'd be likely to vote for her if she were the Democratic nominee.

This is all confusing, to say the least. Do New Yorkers really, truly care whether she serves out the full term or not? Clearly they would like her to, but it seems that if she announced her Presidential candidacy after winning in 2006, they wouldn't be all that turned off to her. Republicans, who will no doubt pour cash into the Senate race next year, will likely use Hillary's presidential desires as ammunition against her, as they should. She'll be pressed hard to answer the inevitable question of whether or not she'll run for the White House and it could get uncomfortable and her response may be wishy-washy. But given the weak slate of names being tossed around as potential Hillary opponents, when it comes down to it, are New Yorkers really going to vote for a lesser candidate just because the incumbent is an ambitious politician?


At 1:52 PM, Blogger Jack said...

I think a lot of the confusion stems from a confusing question asked by Zogby. When asked if Hillary should serve out her term, the right answer seems to be "yes", because "leaving" sounds like abandonment.

Probably the most indicative poll would be one done of registered Democrats in NY: "Would you rather another Democrat get the nomination?"

I don't doubt that Hillary would still get favorable polls though, since there are no other big discussions of other candidates.

From your production, it looks like a busy day at the office.

At 2:12 PM, Blogger Sam said...

It's nonstop action here in Brick City. OK, so maybe not. For the first time in my experience here, I've actually cracked open a book I brought from home at my desk. I make the rounds every half-hour or so and ask staffers if they have work, but there is simply nothing to do.

At 2:19 PM, Blogger Sam said...

About Hillary - That's a good point about the poll question, but I'm not sure that people look so deeply into the wording of the question. A majority of the people they asked have surely heard about the controversy of the potential "abandonment" and have thought about it and formulated an opinion on the issue. Therefore, I don't think a slight change in the wording would cause a great swing in the poll results.


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