The three most popular Democrats vs. the two poll-leading gopers
McCain: 51, Kerry: 41
McCain: 50, Hillary: 42
McCain: 46, Edwards 43
Wow! Edwards is doing by far the best and within margin of error. Plus, look how Edwards takes down McCain's numbers (probably key swinging independents willing to give JRE a listen).
Giuliani: 48, Kerry: 46
Giuliani: 47, Hillary: 46
Giuliani: 45, Edwards 48
So, ONLY Edwards could beat Giuliani.
As Marist concludes, "For the Democrats, it's John Edwards, not ... Kerry or Clinton who runs strongest against the top Republicans."
More below the fold:
If the 2008 Democratic Presidential primary were held today, whom would you support:
Hillary Clinton: 40%
John Kerry: 18%
John Edwards: 16%
Joe Biden: 7%
Wesley Clark: 4%
Others (Feingold, Richardson, Warner, Bayh, Vilsack): 2% or less
These numbers probably are at least 50% based on simple name recognition, but the interesting part was what else the poll found:
Now I know that some (maybe many) here are skeptical of Edwards, but given that Democrats are unlikely to make the same mistake twice with Kerry or make the mistake of nominating a polarizing figure (without appeal to swing-voters and with a definite perception problem) like HRC, one needs to look at the Democrats further down this list.
I think that Edwards was the ideal candidate to run against GWB, and this time around we probably won't be able to vote on who we think can best beat a particular goper. Still, I'll give my reasoning behind my support for John Edwards (should he choose to run) in 2008 (this taken in part from a 2004 list I developed):
1. Biography: Living Proof of the American Dream
John has an American Dream biography - he grew up the son of textile mill and post office workers and was the first in his family to go to college. Therefore, the concerns of regular Americans are not hypothetical to him, they're real - he's lived them - and people correctly feel that he genuinely "cares about people like me." Edwards himself was a product of solely public schools and all of his children have gone to public elementary and secondary schools. Contrast that with many other candidates who are likely to have attended elitist prep schools and have sent their children only to private schools - how can they truly know much of anything about where most Americans send their kids to school? As with Clinton, Democrats do best with candidates who can contrast their working, middle-class background to a goper's aristocratic life of privilege. Edwards' message comes from his own life experience, they are not conjured up by political consultants.
2. Electability: Geography
In general elections since 1960, Southern Democrats are 4-1-1 while Northern Democrats (Humphrey, McGovern, Mondale, Dukakis and Kerry) are 0-5. No Democrat has won the White House without winning at least 5 Southern states. To win the Electoral College the Democratic candidate will have to be able to dominate in the Midwest and win several key battle-ground states in the South. In the last 40 years, only Southern moderates have been able to move outside of the Democratic core and win in the suburbs and in key states such as Tennessee, Arkansas, West Virginia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania. A SurveyUSA poll February 2004 in North Carolina shows Bush defeating Kerry 53% - 42%, while Edwards defeats Bush 50% - 47%. Edwards can campaign in most every state and thus put the goper on the defensive and make him campaign and spend money in states they won in 2000 and 2004
3. Electability: Campaigning Ability
Unlike other Democrats, Edwards is a charismatic, likeable and effective campaigner who reaches voters on a personal level because he comes from a regular working family background and has a vibrant, engaging, warm personality. He wins over independents and moderate Republicans (according to primary exit polls - especially in Wisconsin - he has a big lead over the other candidate in attracting these swing voters vital to Democrats in November) while he energizes the party's base with an optimistic vision. That's how he was able to win an upset victory over an incumbent Republican senator in a state previously dominated by Jesse Helms. Edwards believes the most effective strategy is to run against an incumbents weakness (the economy) and not against his perceived strength (foreign policy). [This, to me, was the key mistake of the Kerry GE Campaign in 2004]
4. Not a Washington Insider
John is not a career politician; he was very successful in private life before going into public service. He has been in government long enough to know how it works, but not so long as to become entangled in the Washington's webs. Of the top two candidates, only Edwards can legitimately be considered a reformist outsider - a role that worked for Clinton and Carter. This is even more the case in 2008.
5. Independence from Special Interests
Unlike other possible candidates, John Edwards has NOT accepted money from PACs or corporate lobbyists in his Senate campaign and this presidential campaign. Therefore, Edwards can contrast himself with the special interest financing of the Bush campaign - there are now skeletons in his closet. [this was something Kerry couldn't do because of his special-interest money ties]
In addition to electability, Edwards has a strong set of key policies.
Edwards put forward a "College for Everyone" plan where bright students from high school can earn free tuition at colleges during their first year in return for doing 10 hours of community service a week.
His "American Dream," tax credit provides up to $5,000 toward the down payment on a first home and paying to send kids to college.
John's for keeping the tax-cut for the middle-class, but repealing those that went to the wealthiest 2% of taxpayers in order to shore up Social Security and build-down Bush's massive, economy-stifling debts.
7. Message Marketing
As Kos said a few days ago "Edwards had the best message of all, talking about the Two Americas." And, I might add, his optimistic, future-oriented One America theme as well. [Kerry was hampered by a weak slogan - "Stronger at Home, More Respected Abroad"]
8. Effective Experience
Despite what I hear around here sometimes, John Edwards has something to show for his time spent in the Senate. In a time of crisis for our country, John Edwards was chosen by his Senate colleagues to successfully lead the final floor defense of the President during the 1999 impeachment trial. John McCain (whose vote was critical) stated that he voted against a guilty verdict in large part because of Edwards' eloquent and persuasive defense.
In 2001, with Senators Kennedy and McCain, John Edwards successfully led the passage of the Patient Bill of Rights and legislation that made it legal to buy drugs from Canada - both core issues to regular Americans.
Edwards has foreign policy experience as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee for the last 5 years.
Also, note that although he may not look it, Edwards is 50 years old.
Now I'll address the two biggest critiques of Edwards I find on dkos:
1. Lack of Experience
Also: Political experience and a long resume don't get one elected to the White House.
Ask Gore (VP, Senate, House) v Bush (one-term weak governor)
Ask Bush Sr (Pres, VP, CIA, China, etc etc etc) v. Clinton (gov from the 49th best state in the union).
2. "Edwards didn't help Kerry in 2004 and couldn't even win North Carolina."
The problem with this is that the Kerry campaign never made even a cursory attempt to win NC (though some polls showed only a 5% Bush lead in September).
The Kerry campaign sent Edwards to NC only twice, once in July after the VP announcement and once in October, for a total of 2.5 days.
This is from memory, but I believe Kerry only visited NC once, in July, for a total of about 6 hours.
The total amount of days that the Kerry campaign advertised in NC was only 5 (in July).
So, the Kerry campaign wrote off the South just like they said they would and we paid for it with a loss and the loss of 5 senate seats. You simply cannot blame JRE for not doing something he wasn't allowed to try to do.
What Edwards was set out to do was win over small and medium size towns. And ... according to Charlie Cook from Cook Report a week after the election as reported in the National Journal.
"In smaller towns with populations of between 10,000 and 50,000 which represent 8% of the vote, Kerry actually picked up 10 points over Gore, moving from 38% to 48%, while President Bush dropped 9 points, from 59% to 50%. Among the 16% in rural America, Kerry improved there points over Gore."
So, where Edwards was used, he was quite successful. The Kerry campaign sent Edwards to small towns and this just happens to be one of just a few places where Kerry did better than Gore.