If you’re an angry liberal Democrat former governor of Vermont running for President and leading the current pack of nine shrill Leftists seeking the nod from the party of Bill Clinton — and you pay attention to the Gallup polls — this was not the greatest week you’ve ever had.
This week, Gallup released four poll analyses that did not bode well for the incensed former leader of the home state of Sen. Jim Jeffords, the man without a party, and Sen. Patrick Leahy, the lead obstructionist of President Bush’s judicial nominations.
Angry Campaign in a Happy Country
On Monday, Gallup released a poll that found that we are “A Nation of Happy People.” The poll revealed that 95 percent of Americans are happy (55 percent “very happy” and 40 percent “fairly happy) and only 4 percent say they are unhappy.
Poll results also showed that 88 percent of people are satisfied with “the way things are going in [their] personal [lives] at this time” opposed to only 11 percent who claimed to be dissatisfied.
When your campaign is based on the anger of your party’s liberal base but the rest of the country is reportedly happy and satisfied, where do you go?
Good Bush Numbers Bad for Dean
Dean and the rest of the nine Ringwraiths seeking the nomination have been trying to get voters to see President Bush in an increasingly negative light. However, another poll released by Gallup this week shows Bush’s approval rating to be at 60 percent, which, at the outset of the year in which a president has sought re-election, is “the highest for an incumbent seeking re-election since Lyndon Johnson’s in 1964.” It is also an improvement since early December, despite the efforts of the Democratic candidates.
Even worse for Dean are the results of a question in the same poll pitting Dean and Bush head to head. According to Gallup, “57 percent of registered voters opt[ed] for Bush and 37 percent for Dean. (Among likely voters, the margin is 59 percent to 37 percent.)” Bad news for Dean who, in mid-November trailed Bush 53 percent to 44 percent and in mid-September was only three points behind the President, 49 percent to 46 percent.
Here Comes Clark
Now Dean, who was blowing out his Democratic competition in December, has to worry about the Clintonite candidate, retired Gen. Wesley Clark.
Dean’s lead over Clark in two separate December polls of Democratic voters was 15 and 21 points. However, according to the latest poll, he now leads Clark by a meager four points, 24 percent to 20 percent. Also, among Democrats, Dean and Clark both have a “favorable” image rating of 45 percent, but Dean’s “unfavorable” rating is 22 percent, seven points worse than Clark whose “unfavorables” are at 15 percent.
Then There’s the History of the January Front-Runners
In an analysis titled “History Shows January Front-Runner Often Does Not Win Democratic Nomination,” which was released on January 6, Gallup noted that “only four out of 10 January leaders over last half-center have won [the Democratic] nomination.”
From the report:
“There have been 10 races over the last 50 years in which there was a significant contest for the Democratic nomination: 1952, 1956, 1960, 1968, 1972, 1976, 1984, 1988, 1992, and 2000. (The omitted years of 1964, 1980, and 1996 were ones in which a Democratic incumbent president ran for re-election with little or no opposition.)
“The nature of these contests has changed over the years, of course, but the comparison of early national poll results with the eventual nomination outcome provides us with a track record of sorts in our attempt to answer the “prediction” question. And the answer is clear: there is no clear relationship between the candidate leading in Gallup’s national trial heat surveys among Democrats at the beginning of an election year and the eventual winner of the party’s nomination. In fact, in only 4 out of the 10 elections (Adlai Stevenson in 1952, John F. Kennedy in 1960, Walter Mondale in 1984, and Al Gore in 2000) did the front-runner in late December/early January win the Democratic Party’s nomination. In all other instances, someone else came from behind as the primary season unfolded.”