With the news today that John Kerry would not seek the
Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, CNN was first to release results
of a presidential primary poll without Kerry in the race.
On their recently completed national survey, CNN asked the
"467 registered voters who describe themselves as Democrats or as Independents
who lean to the Democratic Party" who they would be most likely to support for
the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.
They also asked Democrats for their second choice, which allows the
calculation of the vote without Kerry (and without any of the other candidates
With Kerry included, 5% of the Democrats prefer the
Massachusetts senator, while Hillary Clinton receives 34%, Barack Obama 18%,
John Edwards 15% and Al Gore 10%. With
Kerry out, Clinton
and Gore each gain two percentage points (receiving 36% and 12% respectively),
while John Edwards gains one point (16%).
Some have speculated that while Clinton leads on these national horserace
polls, her percentage of the vote (typically in the 30's to low 40s) suggests a
larger number of Democrats who prefer anybody-but-Clinton. These results argue otherwise. Notice that Clinton is the second choice of roughly a
third of those who initially support Kerry, Gore, Obama and Edwards. So, for the moment, should other candidates
drop out, her share of the vote will increase.
The CNN survey also includes some questions that test the
"anybody but" theories directly. When
asked about Clinton,
75% would like to see her run, 23% would not.
The "anybody but" sentiment looks to be more pronounced for Kerry (51%
would not like him to run) and Gore (40% would not).
Separately, an analysis posted earlier
today by Gallup's Lydia Saad, as well as Frank
Newport's daily video
commentary, provide results from a similar question asked about Clinton. Among Democrats and Democratic leaners, 35%
say they would definitely support her, 52% say they might consider supporting
her, while only 14% say they will definitely not support her.
Gallup also asked a set of
follow-up questions of those who are either just considering Clinton or who say
they cannot support her, to evaluate theories about "why Clinton may not succeed." Their conclusions:
The paramount [doubts] are her
perceived chances of winning in the general election, and her issue positions.
Contrary to conventional wisdom about the liability of her support for the Iraq war among liberals, Clinton's issue positions are more often
raised as a concern by conservative and moderate Democrats than by liberal
My quick and bloggy summary does this analysis little
justice. Read it all.
Follow Mark Blumenthal on Twitter: www.twitter.com/MysteryPollster