Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Electability: Clinton Ahead in Florida for General Election, Other Dems Fare Worse

So much for the electability argument. I posted a lengthy comment last week about the vitality of a Guiliani nomination in the Northeast. My thesis was that Clinton was the only Democrat, based on polling, that could retain the New York / New England Presidential base. Now, very similar numbers from Florida. These are SurveyUSA polls conducted 10/1. By far, Clinton is our most electable candidate in the Sunshine State.

Summary of Results Florida (follow link above for detailed results):

Clinton defeats Guiliani
Guiliani defeats Obama
Guiliani defeats Edwards

Clinton defeats Thompson
Thompson defeats Obama
Edwards defeats Thompson

Clinton defeats Romney
Romney defeats Obama
Edwards defeats Romney.

This electability argument is interesting. At first blush, it is easy to be compelled by the "Hillary-is-so-disliked-and-most-men-will-never-vote-for-her-and-she-could-never-win" mantra. The only problem with this tired framework is that it just isn't so. It is fine to be motivated by electability. I, too, was disheartened to see two great potential Presidents- Gore and Kerry- go down to defeat to a lackluster Republican candidate. But, if we are going to use electability as our paradigm for choosing a nominee (again, perfectly valid in my view) we should at least know the facts. The election is a long way off and a great deal could happen, but right now, based on the only evidence we have (polling) Hillary Clinton wins the electability debate hands down. There are some good reasons to believe that Edwards and Obama would underperform their already lackluster polling numbers in swing states.

The electoral college is the whole enchilada in presidential politics. If the Democrat loses NY (for example) in any given election, it is more or less a definate loss. Competitivness in Florida is icing on the cake at this point, but it is an electoral vote rich cake.

Post on Guiliani and Northeast

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