Thursday, January 24, 2008

New Poll Shows GOP Challenges Ahead

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll indicates troubled waters ahead for the Republicans in the November election:

Just when it seemed Americans couldn't get any gloomier about the country's direction, they have. That finding, from the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, could leave Republicans the gloomiest of all, as prospects for their party darken further in a presidential election year.

Amid a weakened economy and market turmoil, President Bush's stock has fallen again as he prepares to deliver his final State of the Union address next week, underscoring the burden he could pose for his party's presidential nominee in the race to November's election.

As for his would-be successors, the remaining Republicans candidates have dropped further behind in hypothetical match-ups against potential Democratic standard-bearers Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. The exception is Arizona Sen. John McCain, who has revived his still-fragile candidacy and takes the lead in Republicans' contest for the first time in the poll.

He runs even with both Democrats in hypothetical contests -- 46% to 44% against Mrs. Clinton, and a 42% draw against Mr. Obama. Both results are essentially the same given the poll's margin of error.

In a Republican field that is down to five candidates from originally twice that, Mr. McCain is the top choice of Republicans, with 29% support versus 23% for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Mr. Romney, who tied former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani for the top spot in last month's poll with 20% support each, remains at that number.

But Mr. Giuliani, the Republicans' national poll leader for all of 2007, drops to fourth place with 15%, continuing a long slide that is reflected, more ominously, in state polls in Florida. He has staked his candidacy on winning the Sunshine State's Republican primary on Tuesday, but now trails Messrs. McCain and Huckabee, who are splitting the votes of, respectively, Florida's moderate Republicans and Christian conservatives.
I've said many times that 2008 is shaping up as a Democratic year.

Fortunately, GOP near-frontrunner John McCain runs evenly against either prospective Democratic nominee. Indeed,
recent surveys have found the Arizona Senator most respected in the electorate on leadership qualities and fitness to step into the nation's top job.

See more analysis at