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Old 03-13-2006, 02:46 PM   #46
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Originally posted by Irvine511




but this approval rating has been below 40% for well over a year at this point. further, we're dealing with an increasingly polarized country, so it would be difficult for a president in this climate, of any party, to fall below 30%, and it's statistically impossible, really to fall below 10%. what's telling is how far Bush has tumbled with independents, and how Republicans are choosing to distance themselves from him for the 2006 elections -- look at their xeneophobic reaction to the Dubai port issue.

there's much more to all this than Clinton at 37% early in his first term -- i think you make a mistake by comparing overall low-approval ratings and the comparison would be much more accurate were you to compare W with other 2nd term presidents, (and let's note the trumping by certain administration mouthpieces on this board of "Bush is the first president to receive a majority of votes" which would mean that anything below 50% spells disaster) which would put him far, far lower than Reagan and Clinton, and do note that most of those presidents who had poll numbers as bad as Bush were kicked out of office (Bush 1, Carter) or resigned (Nixon) or chose not to see re-election (LBJ).

in sum: this is bad news, and it might be uniquely bad news for a president at this point in his 2nd term *especially* with troops in harms way (there's always a rally-around-the-flag effect that Bush can't seem to hold onto).

Bush did not have an approval rating below 40% prior to Katrina which was 6 months ago. You can't ignore the fact that nearly every President has had opinion polls this low or lower and that Presidents current low is higher than nearly all previous Presidents. Its also true that the Presidents approval numbers have rarely been above 50% since the first day he entered office, but that has not stopped him from moving his agenda foward, especially when it comes to foreign policy.

Zogby based his prediction of the 2004 Presidential election on Bush's mid 40s approval ratings numbers throughout 2004. He said no President had ever been re-elected with such low approval numbers. But Bush was re-elected in a very convincing way compared to more recent presidential elections. This further shows that the polls do not necessarily reflect the pulse of the country. Bush opinion numbers are in the high 30s, but he only has to get back to the mid 40s to be in the same position he was a few months prior to the 2004 election.

More important than all of this though is what can Democrats really do at this point with Bush re-elected to a second term and the Republicans entering a 6th year with control of the Senate and House? Nothing significant. With the November 2006 election, only a fraction of Senate seats are up for re-election, and even in a worst case senerio, the Republicans would still maintain 50 seats in the Senate with Cheney casting the tie breaking vote, so still a Republican majority.

In the House, the Democrats do have a shot at getting the majority back. But what is the Democrats record on being united and pushing foward an agenda in opposition to a sitting president of another party? If they get the majority back here, they will have 2 years left of a Bush Presidency to try to change things, but what is their plan? What can they really do against a President that is not running for re-election? Clinton was certainly effected in 2004 by the Republican victories in both the House and Senate, but this happened in the middle of his first term, so naturally he had to react and change if he wanted to politically survive. In contrast, any change in control of the House happens with Bush only 2 years away from leaving office, to little to late.

If this was the situation in 2002, things would be a lot different. Democrats are unlikely to seriously challenge the President on his biggest issue, the war in Iraq. Even if they did, what can they do with a small majority in the House? Would Democrats really band together to cut off funding for the war? I don't think so.
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Old 03-13-2006, 03:57 PM   #47
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Old 03-13-2006, 04:07 PM   #48
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[B][q]Zogby based his prediction of the 2004 Presidential election on Bush's mid 40s approval ratings numbers throughout 2004. He said no President had ever been re-elected with such low approval numbers. But Bush was re-elected in a very convincing way compared to more recent presidential elections. This further shows that the polls do not necessarily reflect the pulse of the country. Bush opinion numbers are in the high 30s, but he only has to get back to the mid 40s to be in the same position he was a few months prior to the 2004 election. [/q]


while it is of course common knowledge that presidential ratings go up and down over the course of one's term in office, you simply get a more accurate picture when you compare 2nd term presidents to 2nd term presidents.

i could also debate "very convincing" re-election, but that's another topic. i also think you're wrong to equate voting for someone as approving of the job someone is doing. when there's a 2 party system, one has only two options.

what is most telling about Bush's approval numbers is not even how bad the 34% looks, but at other numbers that aren't fitted into a headline, but spell even more darkness for the current adminstration. since we're using Zogby, here's what he has to say:

[q]On Bush, his overall approval/disapproval rating is 40%-60%, but he has his lowest support yet from those groups who make up his political base. Among both conservatives and those who consider themselves very conservative, 61% approve of the job he is doing. He gets only 32% of independents, and only 73% among Republicans – his lowest rating yet. Even rural voters give him just 50% approval, and 59% among those who say they are born again spiritually – marking the lowest ratings from both of these demographic groups. And Bush remains low among men, married voters and investors.

As for Iraq, his approval/ disapproval rating stands at 37%-63%; just 12% of Democrats approve of his handling of the war, compared to 88% who disapprove, which are percentages similar to our last poll. Among independents, 26% approve of his war leadership, while 74% do not, which is down slightly from our last survey. Only 68% of Republicans support his handling of the war.

On his management of the war on terror, Bush wins 43% approval, down from 67%at the time of his re-election almost 16 months ago.

In a recent Zogby International telephone survey of likely voters nationwide, Mr. Bush ranked in the bottom half when respondents considered the “greatness” or “near-greatness” of the presidents of the modern era, stretching back to Franklin D. Roosevelt. While the incumbent ranked just under President Carter and his father, George Herbert Walker Bush, President Kennedy topped the list, considered “great” or “near-great” by 73%.
[/q]









the bad news of the growing likelihood of an all-out Civil War in Iraq has transformed this issue from his biggest strength into his biggest weakness -- most american were convinced to support going to war because they bought the administration's case that the WMD's possessed (or not possessed) by Saddam constituted, not quite a clear and present danger, but a growing and gathering danger to the United States itslef. as the mission wears on, as the initial reasons for going to war have turned out to be at the very least poor information (and at worst outright, willfull deception), it's quite likely that Bush will fall even further in the minds of his strongest supporters as more and more bodybags return to Red States.

what does this mean for the president and his agenda? it means that his 2nd term will be judge a failure, that history will be far from kind, that Republicans seeking re-election in 2006 and 2008 will seek distance from him (look at what happened in Virginia this past fall), that his influence within Congress to pass his legislation will weaken fruther, that all eyes will turn to the Republican successor in 2008.

this is a big test for the Democrats. recent history has not shown them to be any sort of effective opposition. in fact, one could argue that 2004 was about Kerry's failure rather than Bush's victory.

the other thing to consider is how Republican "mavericks" like Giuliani and McCain are going to profit from this. there's no question that the only reason that Bush won in both 2000 and 2004 was that he benefited from greater turn out among self-described evangelical Christians -- people who, in aggregate, could never support a pro-choice candidate like Giuliani.

so this poses an interesting dilemma for the Republican Party: where do they go next? the man who was able to get the fringe of the party (the evangelicals, for lack of a better word) to go out and vote for him has also done much to alienate the Main Street and mainstream Republicans over the past 18 months. the power structure that Karl Rove has built over the past decade or so that relied upon the Religious Right support is starting to collapse under it's own inability to effectively govern -- as was seen with Katrina, and is now starting to be understood as the major problem in Iraq.

after Bush, who? especially when he has done so much to damage Republican credibility in traditional areas of strength such as national defense and spending. the next Rovian candidate (Frist? George Allen?) will have to shake off an enormously unpopular president, and the "maverick" candidate will have to mobilize the Religious Right in order to win a national election, for without the Religous Right, we'd be in the 2nd term of President Gore, or the first term of President Kerry.
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Old 03-13-2006, 04:28 PM   #49
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I agree, 2004 was more about Kerry's failure than it was Bush's success. Kerry didn't even get a post-convention bounce. Bush only got 51% of the popular vote, low for an incumbent. So now, he can ill afford such anemic ratings. Iraq has turned into a political albatross for him. So has New Orleans. This is bad news for an embattled president.
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Old 03-13-2006, 05:10 PM   #50
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Republicans up for re-election in 2006 are going to feel increasingly bold about breaking away from the White House agenda and distancing themselves from an embarassingly unpopular president.
Republicans breaking away in which direction though? Plenty of the argument against Bush from the Right, it seems, is that he isn't conservative enough, and you look at the Ports argument and realise that if they are going to break away by chasing that sentiment, well, it's still a very very dark tunnel you're heading down.

Plus, do you trust that the Democrats can do anything right in this situation, or just trust them to research what it is that has Bush polling so low, and then just promise to do the opposite?
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Old 03-13-2006, 05:13 PM   #51
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Old 03-13-2006, 05:21 PM   #52
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[B]

Republicans breaking away in which direction though? Plenty of the argument against Bush from the Right, it seems, is that he isn't conservative enough, and you look at the Ports argument and realise that if they are going to break away by chasing that sentiment, well, it's still a very very dark tunnel you're heading down.

i think the ports issue isn't, on the whole, terribly important in terms of Bush's conservative credentials -- where he's lost those is in his enormous fiscal irresponsibility and the explosion of right wing nanny-state spending over the past 6 years. other than that, Bush has retained his "conservative" labels rather well. where he's getting killed amongts traditional conservatives is his inability to simply govern.

i do think it's a very dark tunnel, and i think the Republicans are scared, because i would wager that they might win with a McCain or a Giuliani candidate, but i don't know that either of those men could get past the Republican primaries, and if they do, that the evangelical vote will sit on their hands in November 2008 and the Democrat (whoever that might be) will win because, without the 4m evangelical voters that Rove has structured the administration's domestic policy around, it will be very difficult for a Republican to win.

essentially, if you are conservative enough to move the evangelicals, you're too conservative for the mainstream/middle-of-the-road (who's numbers are shrinking, while the fringe continues to grow). so it comes down to whether or not you can move enough of the fringe to make up for the middle-of-the-roadies you're going to scare the life out of.

or, you could tell those people that they are going to be attacked if they don't vote for you, or that a vote for the other guy is a vote against the troops, and you've got a good chunk of the public over a barrel.


[q]Plus, do you trust that the Democrats can do anything right in this situation, or just trust them to research what it is that has Bush polling so low, and then just promise to do the opposite? [/q]


i have no idea what the Democratic strategy is at this time.

that's probably the problem. they are incredibly frustrating.
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Old 03-13-2006, 05:29 PM   #53
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It's hard to have a strategy, much less implement one when you're so deeply stuck in the minority.
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Old 03-13-2006, 05:50 PM   #54
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Old 03-13-2006, 06:23 PM   #55
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Originally posted by Irvine511
[B][q]Zogby based his prediction of the 2004 Presidential election on Bush's mid 40s approval ratings numbers throughout 2004. He said no President had ever been re-elected with such low approval numbers. But Bush was re-elected in a very convincing way compared to more recent presidential elections. This further shows that the polls do not necessarily reflect the pulse of the country. Bush opinion numbers are in the high 30s, but he only has to get back to the mid 40s to be in the same position he was a few months prior to the 2004 election. [/q]


while it is of course common knowledge that presidential ratings go up and down over the course of one's term in office, you simply get a more accurate picture when you compare 2nd term presidents to 2nd term presidents.

i could also debate "very convincing" re-election, but that's another topic. i also think you're wrong to equate voting for someone as approving of the job someone is doing. when there's a 2 party system, one has only two options.

what is most telling about Bush's approval numbers is not even how bad the 34% looks, but at other numbers that aren't fitted into a headline, but spell even more darkness for the current adminstration. since we're using Zogby, here's what he has to say:

[q]On Bush, his overall approval/disapproval rating is 40%-60%, but he has his lowest support yet from those groups who make up his political base. Among both conservatives and those who consider themselves very conservative, 61% approve of the job he is doing. He gets only 32% of independents, and only 73% among Republicans – his lowest rating yet. Even rural voters give him just 50% approval, and 59% among those who say they are born again spiritually – marking the lowest ratings from both of these demographic groups. And Bush remains low among men, married voters and investors.

As for Iraq, his approval/ disapproval rating stands at 37%-63%; just 12% of Democrats approve of his handling of the war, compared to 88% who disapprove, which are percentages similar to our last poll. Among independents, 26% approve of his war leadership, while 74% do not, which is down slightly from our last survey. Only 68% of Republicans support his handling of the war.

On his management of the war on terror, Bush wins 43% approval, down from 67%at the time of his re-election almost 16 months ago.

In a recent Zogby International telephone survey of likely voters nationwide, Mr. Bush ranked in the bottom half when respondents considered the “greatness” or “near-greatness” of the presidents of the modern era, stretching back to Franklin D. Roosevelt. While the incumbent ranked just under President Carter and his father, George Herbert Walker Bush, President Kennedy topped the list, considered “great” or “near-great” by 73%.
[/q]









the bad news of the growing likelihood of an all-out Civil War in Iraq has transformed this issue from his biggest strength into his biggest weakness -- most american were convinced to support going to war because they bought the administration's case that the WMD's possessed (or not possessed) by Saddam constituted, not quite a clear and present danger, but a growing and gathering danger to the United States itslef. as the mission wears on, as the initial reasons for going to war have turned out to be at the very least poor information (and at worst outright, willfull deception), it's quite likely that Bush will fall even further in the minds of his strongest supporters as more and more bodybags return to Red States.

what does this mean for the president and his agenda? it means that his 2nd term will be judge a failure, that history will be far from kind, that Republicans seeking re-election in 2006 and 2008 will seek distance from him (look at what happened in Virginia this past fall), that his influence within Congress to pass his legislation will weaken fruther, that all eyes will turn to the Republican successor in 2008.

this is a big test for the Democrats. recent history has not shown them to be any sort of effective opposition. in fact, one could argue that 2004 was about Kerry's failure rather than Bush's victory.

the other thing to consider is how Republican "mavericks" like Giuliani and McCain are going to profit from this. there's no question that the only reason that Bush won in both 2000 and 2004 was that he benefited from greater turn out among self-described evangelical Christians -- people who, in aggregate, could never support a pro-choice candidate like Giuliani.

so this poses an interesting dilemma for the Republican Party: where do they go next? the man who was able to get the fringe of the party (the evangelicals, for lack of a better word) to go out and vote for him has also done much to alienate the Main Street and mainstream Republicans over the past 18 months. the power structure that Karl Rove has built over the past decade or so that relied upon the Religious Right support is starting to collapse under it's own inability to effectively govern -- as was seen with Katrina, and is now starting to be understood as the major problem in Iraq.

after Bush, who? especially when he has done so much to damage Republican credibility in traditional areas of strength such as national defense and spending. the next Rovian candidate (Frist? George Allen?) will have to shake off an enormously unpopular president, and the "maverick" candidate will have to mobilize the Religious Right in order to win a national election, for without the Religous Right, we'd be in the 2nd term of President Gore, or the first term of President Kerry.

Actually, there are more than two options, one does have the option to stay home, and many do. Considering the election of 2004 was one of the most divisive in recent history, I think we saw people who felt strongly about their particular vote more so than we have seen in past elections.

There were many theories and polls indicating that Bush was going to be a 1 term President. All the stuff about Iraq was already out in the open then, to include the fact that there were no WMD's. Michael Moore came out with a popular movie that did well in theaters all summer long that vividly tore up the Presidents agenda and convinced one that he had to be removed from office. Then there was a concert tour featuring Musics most popular artist encouraging people to vote against Bush.

The fact is, this President actually won and his party instead of losing seats picked up seats in both houses. As much as people would like to blame Christian Conservatives, they have never won an election in the past. If they had that much impact on a national election, Roe v Wade would have been overturned already.

I think what this points out is that it is not enough for Democrats to just criticize. Democrats have to have plans of their own that people find more appealing in order to win.

While the polling information is interesting, how significant really is it at this point? The whole history judgement is something that is a long way off and will not be dependent upon opinion polls of the time as we have seen with Harry S. Truman and George Bush Sr.

At this point, what can democrats really change in terms of the Presidents agenda? The polls don't set policy and the President is not up for re-election so the polls certainly won't influence anything he does.

Looking to 2008, the Republicans have McCain who while not the favorite of the Christian right is still pro-life and can win the nomination. The Democrats best current candidate is Hillary Clinton and she does poorly in the polls I have seen going against McCain. The Democrats need someone new who can breath new life into the Party. The only way I can see an angle against McCain is if the party can find someone who is not from inside the beltway. While people may cringe when I say this, Jimmy Carter I think had that appeal when he ran in 1976 against Ford. The simple peanut farmer from Georgia taking back the White House.
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Old 03-13-2006, 06:34 PM   #56
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It's hard to have a strategy, much less implement one when you're so deeply stuck in the minority.
From the outside it certainly looks like a complete and total lack of strategy is precisely why the Democrats are so far in the minority.
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Old 03-13-2006, 06:40 PM   #57
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[q]The fact is, this President actually won and his party instead of losing seats picked up seats in both houses. As much as people would like to blame Christian Conservatives, they have never won an election in the past. If they had that much impact on a national election, Roe v Wade would have been overturned already.[/q]


i think this is a misread of what happened in 2004 -- i think if you look at the 4m+ identified evangelical voters and the margin of victory for Bush in both 2000 and 2004, their vote had much to do with the outcome, and these were people who most likely stayed home in 1996 not finding anything in Dole or Clinton to get them into the voting booth.

abortion is not an issue that will get people to the polls to vote for or against such an issue, as one votes for candidates that have a stance on the issue, but there are pro-life candidates who are not in favor of repealing Roe vs. Wade.

what got many of these evangelicals to the polls in 2004 were the anti-gay initatives on the ballots in many states, including hotly contested Ohio -- had Ohio gone for Kerry, Kerry would have won the election. due to the voting in heavily evangelical southeastern Ohio, and the superior Republican ground game, Bush won.

i think it's quite clear that an appeal to any large and powerful fringe group will do much to sway an election in a nation that is fiercely divided and with a rapidly shrinking middle -- there are no "Bush Democrats" they way there were "Reagan Democrats." so, you swing to the fringe, and hopefully get people who have never voted before, or who vote infrequently because they feel marginalized by the system due to their fringe status, to vote for your candidate.





[q]I think what this points out is that it is not enough for Democrats to just criticize. Democrats have to have plans of their own that people find more appealing in order to win.[/q]


this i agree with.



[q] While the polling information is interesting, how significant really is it at this point? The whole history judgement is something that is a long way off and will not be dependent upon opinion polls of the time as we have seen with Harry S. Truman and George Bush Sr.[/q]


yes, time will tell, but Katrina and Iraq are long-term disasters, filled with vivd imagery that will stick in the minds of the public for decades.


[q]At this point, what can democrats really change in terms of the Presidents agenda? The polls don't set policy and the President is not up for re-election so the polls certainly won't influence anything he does.[/q]

as the port issue demonstrated, the polls suggest that Republican members of Congress can deviate from the president's agenda and not fear retribution from an increasingly ineffectual White House.



[q]Looking to 2008, the Republicans have McCain who while not the favorite of the Christian right is still pro-life and can win the nomination.[/q]

why do you think he can win the nomination? he couldn't in 2000, and was the victim of perhaps the nastiest attack campaign in a primary while campaigning in South Carolina. what makes you think he'll suddenly be a favorite, despite all the ass-kissing he did with Bush in 2004?


[q]The Democrats best current candidate is Hillary Clinton and she does poorly in the polls I have seen going against McCain.[/q]


this seems more opinion than fact -- HRC does not poll highly amongst Democrats as a presidential candidate, though she is widely admired as a Senator. it's far too early to tell who the Democrat nominee will be. i think you overestimate both HRC's and McCain's chances.

i think the Republicans will go with Sen. George Allen, and i think the Dems will wind up with Mark Warner.

that's my wild speculation at this point.
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Old 03-13-2006, 06:44 PM   #58
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From the outside it certainly looks like a complete and total lack of strategy is precisely why the Democrats are so far in the minority.


it looks like that from the inside as well, and while there is a clear Republican majority, in actuality, Congress is fairly evenly balanced especially from a historical perspective.

there are 231 republicans and 201 democrats in the house.

it's still a 50/50 country, and the elections in 2000 and 2004 were extremely close (539 votes in Florida, anyone?).
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Old 03-13-2006, 07:19 PM   #59
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But Bush was re-elected in a very convincing way compared to more recent presidential elections.
I agree with most of your post, but lets not kid ourselves here, that's just not accurate. If you mean by "more recent Presidential elections", the 2000 election by itself, then fine.

1980 Reagan won by 440 electoral votes
1984 Reagan won by 512 electoral votes
1988 Bush won by 315 electoral votes
1992 Clinton won by 202 electoral votes
1996 Clinton won by 220 electoral votes
2000 Bush won by 5 electoral votes
2004 Bush won by 35 electoral votes

in fact 2004 was the 2nd closest electoral college in almost 100 years (1916). Second only to 2000. It's also the 5th closest of all time.

In America, this is how we choose Presidents, forget the popular vote. That's like arguing who had more rushing yards in a football game, the (electoral) scoreboard is all that matters. In terms of the popular vote, 2004 is even the 2nd closest in recent memory as well.

35 electoral vote margin basically means any state with at least 18 electoral votes going to Kerry's side, wins him the election. So, that alone to me, all numbers aside, means it was about as thin of a margin as you could expect. Essentially one large state decided it.
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Old 03-13-2006, 07:21 PM   #60
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[q]The fact is, this President actually won and his party instead of losing seats picked up seats in both houses. As much as people would like to blame Christian Conservatives, they have never won an election in the past. If they had that much impact on a national election, Roe v Wade would have been overturned already.[/q]


i think this is a misread of what happened in 2004 -- i think if you look at the 4m+ identified evangelical voters and the margin of victory for Bush in both 2000 and 2004, their vote had much to do with the outcome, and these were people who most likely stayed home in 1996 not finding anything in Dole or Clinton to get them into the voting booth.

abortion is not an issue that will get people to the polls to vote for or against such an issue, as one votes for candidates that have a stance on the issue, but there are pro-life candidates who are not in favor of repealing Roe vs. Wade.

what got many of these evangelicals to the polls in 2004 were the anti-gay initatives on the ballots in many states, including hotly contested Ohio -- had Ohio gone for Kerry, Kerry would have won the election. due to the voting in heavily evangelical southeastern Ohio, and the superior Republican ground game, Bush won.

i think it's quite clear that an appeal to any large and powerful fringe group will do much to sway an election in a nation that is fiercely divided and with a rapidly shrinking middle -- there are no "Bush Democrats" they way there were "Reagan Democrats." so, you swing to the fringe, and hopefully get people who have never voted before, or who vote infrequently because they feel marginalized by the system due to their fringe status, to vote for your candidate.





[q]I think what this points out is that it is not enough for Democrats to just criticize. Democrats have to have plans of their own that people find more appealing in order to win.[/q]


this i agree with.



[q] While the polling information is interesting, how significant really is it at this point? The whole history judgement is something that is a long way off and will not be dependent upon opinion polls of the time as we have seen with Harry S. Truman and George Bush Sr.[/q]


yes, time will tell, but Katrina and Iraq are long-term disasters, filled with vivd imagery that will stick in the minds of the public for decades.


[q]At this point, what can democrats really change in terms of the Presidents agenda? The polls don't set policy and the President is not up for re-election so the polls certainly won't influence anything he does.[/q]

as the port issue demonstrated, the polls suggest that Republican members of Congress can deviate from the president's agenda and not fear retribution from an increasingly ineffectual White House.



[q]Looking to 2008, the Republicans have McCain who while not the favorite of the Christian right is still pro-life and can win the nomination.[/q]

why do you think he can win the nomination? he couldn't in 2000, and was the victim of perhaps the nastiest attack campaign in a primary while campaigning in South Carolina. what makes you think he'll suddenly be a favorite, despite all the ass-kissing he did with Bush in 2004?


[q]The Democrats best current candidate is Hillary Clinton and she does poorly in the polls I have seen going against McCain.[/q]


this seems more opinion than fact -- HRC does not poll highly amongst Democrats as a presidential candidate, though she is widely admired as a Senator. it's far too early to tell who the Democrat nominee will be. i think you overestimate both HRC's and McCain's chances.

i think the Republicans will go with Sen. George Allen, and i think the Dems will wind up with Mark Warner.

that's my wild speculation at this point.
Well, McCain is pro-life, and while he did not win in 2000 against Bush, it was a lot closer than people remember.
Also if the Democrats do well in the fall elections, the Republican Party will be more obsessed in insuring a win in 2008, that benefits McCain because he polls so well in national elections. In fact, the Presidents current troubles in the polls make it more likely the Republicans will pick a candidate in 2008 who is the most electible as opposed to one who agrees with all their views.
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