February 6, 2007
After two weeks in which Senator Hillary Clinton (D) was pulling away from other contenders for the Democratic nomination, the latest Rasmussen Reports Election 2008 polling shows that the race has stabilized a bit.
Clinton now attracts 34% of the vote, up just a single point over the past week (see last week’s results). Barack Obama (D), the charismatic freshman Senator from Illinois, lost a single point and now attracts 18% support. That leaves him sixteen points behind the frontrunner. Three weeks ago, at the height of Obama-mania, the man from Illinois had pulled to within a single point of the frontrunner.
Despite the fact that the frontrunners in the Democratic Party are a woman and an African-American, 60% of voters believe that the Democrats will end up nominating a white male as their Presidential candidate in 2008.
Former North Carolina Senator John Edwards (D) earns support from just 10% of those polled. Edwards has consistently been in third place. However, now he shares that spot with former Vice President Al Gore. For Gore that reflects a slight gain from the 8% level of support he enjoyed a week ago. Gore has not indicated that he is running. Senator Joe Biden (D) and General Wesley Clark (D) each earn 3% of the vote. No other candidates top 1% at this time.
While Clinton is the frontrunner within the party, Obama and Edwards do a bit better in general election match-ups against leading Republicans. Obama and Edwards both lead John McCain (R) while Clinton is essentially tied with the Arizona Senator. John Edwards is within two points of Rudy Giuliani (R) , closer than any other Democrat. See match-ups and favorability ratings for all Democratic candidates.
Eight-out-of-ten Americans say they are willing to vote for a woman Presidential candidate and a similar percentage say the same about an African-American candidate. However, in each case, just over 50% believe their peers are likely to do the same. There is a significant difference of opinion on these questions by age. Just a third of senior citizens believe their peers would vote for a woman or an African-American.
It is clearly very early in the nomination process and much could change between now and the time when votes are cast in Iowa and New Hampshire. However, given the front-loaded nature of the Primary schedule, perceptions of the candidates and their competitiveness could become very important in determining the nominees for Election 2008. If a candidate is unable to raise serious money and build a solid organization early, they may find themselves unable to compete in what is shaping up to be almost a national primary on February 5.