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Sunday, September 23, 2007
posted by SteveT | 11:43 AM | permalink
Are you basing who you support today on who is the most electable according to national polls?

If you are, perhaps a little electoral history might help you to reconsider –

Kathyrn Lopez at National Review Online helps bring a little reality into the situation:

January 10, 1980 Gallup Poll

Carter 63%
Reagan 32%

There is also an interesting quote from that time that sounds so eerily similar to what we hear today from so many,

“Republican candidate John Anderson, a dark horse, said the other day that if the Republicans nominate Mr. Reagan it's political suicide. He's right. Most polls show that, going head-to-head against Mr. Carter, Mr. Reagan would lose by 2-1. The former California governor would be the Barry Goldwater of 1980.”

Just in case you missed it here are the results of that election:

November 1980 Presidential Vote

Reagan 50.7%
Carter 41.0%
Anderson 6.6%

In my lifetime, I can recount many instances where early national polling has shown itself to be less than useful. In the summer and fall of 1991, George H. W. Bush was leading all Democrats by 20 points or more. The pundits all saw Bush cruising to reelection the following year. Obviously, Bush’s second term never arrived.

In 1995, US Senator Robert Dole continuously led President Clinton in head to head matchups. Throughout that year we were subjected to arguments from Dole supporters, “Bob Dole can beat Clinton. Let’s win this thing!” Even as late as January of 1996, one poll had him ahead by several points. Of course, Dole lost that race by about 8 percent that November.

When, in 1999 the Presidential race was heating up, many saw George W. Bush as the only hope. He led the polls over Al Gore all year and even had a substantial lead in the summer of 2000. As almost all of us now know, he won that race by perhaps the smallest margin possible. Perhaps a less well known, but stronger candidate might have been able to win a clear victory against the hapless Al Gore?

Even polling a few months out can be less than valuable. In August 1988, Mike Dukakis was leading George H. W. Bush by 17 points in one poll. Of course Bush went on to win that race by 8 percent.

As national polling measures little more than name recognition at this point in the game, it is important to look at other indicators to gage electablity. When the decision comes down to who I support, current head to head poll numbers do not factor in. I look for someone who has shown proven leadership, projects optimism, fights for things that I believe in, and can unite the party. In my view, the one candidate that matches all of the criteria is Mitt Romney.


Link to Lopez article:

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