Everyday we hear more and more about Hillary angling for a presidential run in ’08. Monday, I noted here that Jeanine Pirro is poised to run against Hillary in the ’06 Senate race. Personally I think it’s a bit early for Hillary to be pushing for ’08, it appears I’m not alone…
Nearly all Americans have an opinion about Hillary Rodham Clinton, the junior senator from New York, and if she runs for president, as expected, she will begin her quest for the Democratic nomination well ahead of her rivals. On one point, still with 2-1/2 years to go before the first caucuses or primaries, political analysts agree: The nomination is hers to lose.
She could yet lose it, they add. Just as Democratic voters had second thoughts about Howard Dean’s “electability” on the eve of the 2004 Iowa caucuses, so, too, could the earliest primary voters in 2008 get collective cold feet and opt for a safer choice. “There may be a ‘eureka!’ moment early in 2008, when Demo- crats find a more moderate candidate who can actually win in November,” says Larry Sabato, a political scientist at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.
Hillary, while having name recognition, comes with a lot of baggage–most pollsters agree with that…
“She’s got name recognition, she has a solid constituency, and she has a targeted women’s constituency,” says John Zogby, an independent pollster based in Utica, N.Y., who has watched Clinton campaign. “As first lady, she started out with being a hero to women working outside the home. During the latter part of the ’90s, during [the Monica Lewinsky scandal] and impeachment, she became a hero to traditional wives. Whether she orchestrated it or not, she got people to admire her.”
Still, her challenge in the general election would be stark: While most nonincumbent candidates start as a bit of a blank slate, Clinton would come out of the gate with high negatives baked into a significant portion of the American psyche during her 14 years in the national eye. The latest Gallup numbers on her, from May, showed that 39 percent of the public viewed her negatively. That same poll found 47 percent of registered voters either “not very likely” or “not at all likely” to vote for her in the 2008 general election.
I’m personally not at all ready to start thinking about ’08 and as much as I would love to see a woman in the White House, I just can’t imagine that some “red state” voters are ready for that prospect, particularly the fundamentalist types that are still stuck with the notion that a woman’s place is in the home. Again I am not alone in my thinking…
As a national candidate, though, Clinton would have to adapt to the more TV-oriented, tarmac-to-tarmac format of general elections. Another challenge: Stumping in the “red” Republican parts of New York isn’t the same as venturing into the red states of the South or Mountain states where Democrats have struggled.
“I kind of doubt she’ll be able to” win over red America, says James Campbell, a political scientist at the University at Buffalo.
We Democrats have a lot of work of work to do if we are to gain ground in ’06. All these projections about ’08 before ’06 has even come to pass are a bit much. Let’s keep our eyes on the ball.