John McCain's Democratic Admirers

A new Diageo/Hotline poll released today has some eye-opening numbers about Democrats—and Republican Sen. John McCain. Over at National Journal’s Hotline on Call, there’s a detailed breakdown of the poll, which surveyed 603 registered Democrat voters.

Here are a couple of my observations about the numbers:

  1. How is it possible that McCain is more popular than Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi?

    In fairness to Reid and Pelosi, a significant number of Democrats don’t even know who they are. (When asked their opinion of Reid, 54% of respondents hadn’t heard of him; 42% said the same about Pelosi.) Dean doesn’t have that excuse. He has a favorable rating of 48% compared to McCain’s 54%. Something is wrong with your party when a Republican politician outpolls the party chairman.

    I don’t know exactly what this means for 2008, but it’s becoming increasingly clear to me that McCain is the only Republican at this point who could topple Hillary. That doesn’t mean the GOP won’t find someone else in the next two years who could beat her, but I’m certainly not seeing that candidate today.

  2. Former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, who is trying to be the anti-Hillary, has a lot of work to do. Warner’s numbers were absolutely terrible in this poll. Not only does he get clobbered in a one-on-one match-up with Hillary, but he also lags behind two has-beens: John Kerry and John Edwards.

    When asked what Democrat they would support in a 2008 primary, Hillary collected 38%, followed by Kerry at 14% and Edwards at 13%. Warner is tied for seventh place at an astonishingly low 2% with New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. Senators Joe Biden (5%) and Russ Feingold (3%) and former Gen. Wesley Clark (3%) are all polling higher.

    And even when asked who they would support as a second choice—presumably after Hillary—Warner places sixth with a measly 4%.

    Warner ranks about the same when respondents were asked which Democrat has the best chance of beating the Republican nominee. In that case, Hillary (32%), Kerry (15%), Edwards (14%) and Biden (7%) all top Warner’s 3% (tied with Clark).

Overall, these poll numbers bode well for Republicans. Even though McCain is a maverick, it’s encouraging to know that he can outpoll Dean. On the other hand, Republicans will be disappointed that Democrats don’t know Reid and Pelosi. Perhaps if they did, they’d see just how out of touch their party leaders have become.