Conventional wisdom says that Presidential Polls two years out are meaningless - but conventional wisdom is wrong because a remarkable story is emerging regarding what the Democratic Nomination process will look like. In the most recent full field poll of potential 2008 Democratic candidates, Al Gore emerges in a strong second place, trailing Hillary Clinton, but ahead, and in some cases, far ahead of potential candidates who are spending all their time and money laying the foundation for their runs.
As John Kerry, Evan Bayh, Mark Warner, John Edwards, Clark, Biden, Richardson have meetings, sit down at private dinners, attend fundraisers, and micromanage cash-on-hand numbers, Al Gore follows his dual passions (Global Warming and ending the War in Iraq) finally dancing to his own drum and not the beat of the inner DC circle.
Publicly, Al Gore states that he is not running. Privately, Al Gore states that he is not running. His friends say he's not running and his enemies concur. My opinion? He's not running - yet.
So what's going on? Real peope are emerging as a viable political force far earlier in the process than ever before- using the progressive online community to solidify their influence and emerge as true second world in the political arena - offsetting, and in some ways, eclipsing The Legacy World. The proof is in this poll. Al Gore's presence in the traditional legacy inside-the-beltway world is exactly zero. No PAC, no Senate Staff helping out, no consultants and no structure. Absolutely nothing.
But in The Real World, his support is considerable and growing. People are concerned about Global Warming and Al Gore is our leader on that issue. People want out of the War in Iraq, and Al Gore is, and more importantly, has been, the leader on that issue. So when potential voters are asked who they would vote for, they want to vote for a man who isn't running - over many men who are. (How far could Al Gore take this wave of Real World support? Well, don't forget, the former Governor of Vermont raised $50,000,000 virtually all of it before the first 2004 primary by igniting the passions of The Real World.)
Will Al Gore run? Perhaps. He is more than astute enough to know that running would put his passion, ending Global Warming, on the largest possible stage. Will his continued presence in the polls tell us something? Absolutely. 2008 is a different world, or actually worlds, in politics.