Monday, January 14, 2008

Were we stand now in the races

From The Washington Post:

The Democrat side:

As the campaigns head into the next round of voting this week, the competitive contests in both parties have captured the public's attention. Four in five are closely tuned in, and a third are "very closely" following the races, a sharp increase from a month ago, and well higher than the proportions saying so at this stage in 2000 or 2004.

Clinton had dominated in national polls from the outset, holding a 30-point advantage as recently as a month ago, but the competitiveness of the first two contests appears to have reverberated among Democrats across the country.

In the new poll, 42 percent of likely Democratic voters support Clinton (N.Y.), and 37 percent back Obama (Ill.). Clinton's support is down 11 percentage points from a month ago, with Obama's up 14. Former senator John Edwards (N.C.) held third place with 11 percent, followed by Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (Ohio) at 2 percent.

All it took was one crack in Mrs. Clinton's illusion of invincibility to make people abandon her. The truth is that while many people would be willing to vote for her very few actually like her.

On the Republican side McCain has moved into the lead in the national polls.

The Republican side:

The big gains by McCain (Ariz.), which come after his victory in the New Hampshire primary, mark the first time he has topped the Republican field in a Post-ABC News national survey. His rise mirrors a dramatic tumble for former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, who led most national polls throughout 2007.

Giuliani, who finished well back in both Iowa and New Hampshire, ranks fourth in the new poll at 15 percent. McCain, meanwhile, has more than double the support he had a month ago and now stands at 28 percent among likely GOP voters. Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who scored a big victory in the Iowa caucuses, and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, the runner-up in both early contests, sit just above Giuliani, at 20 and 19 percent, respectively.

Former senator Fred D. Thompson (Tenn.) registers 8 percent, in single digits for the first time, with only half the support he had in early November. Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.), who got 10 percent of the votes in Iowa and 8 percent in New Hampshire, is at 3 percent; Rep. Duncan Hunter (Calif.) is at 2 percent.

McCain's support has grown 16% since December. Huckabee's has grown 1% and Romney's has grown by 2%. These gains have been at the expense of Rudolph Giuliani who has fallen 10% since December and Fred Thompson who has seen his support shrink by 6% in that same time period.

Two lessons become clear when looking at these numbers. One is that Giuliani was wrong in his belief that he could blow off the early votes and depend on his large lead to allow him to sweep Super Tuesday. If he emerges from the Feb. 5 primaries with a delegate lead, or even still viable, it will only be because of a hard (and expensive) uphill fight to regain lost ground.

The other lesson is that Fred Thompson's idea that it would be possible to run an unconventional low-key campaign for the presidency was a serious miscalculation. From his apparent dithering about making his announcement to the fact that he apparently places more value upon his dignity than he does the future of the Republic he has succeeded in squandering an enormous reservoir of good will (remember he was in the lead at one point before he even announced).

The fact is that of all the people in the race on both sides Fred has the best ideas. He is the only true conservative in the race and is the only man (or woman) running who truly deserves to wear the mantel of Ronald Reagan. However at the end of the day if one proves oneself unwilling to do what is required to attain a goal then one never really deserved to reach that goal in the first place. Fred Thompson's unwillingness or inability to step very far outside of his comfort zone on the campaign trail is at heart a character flaw which is in its own way as serious as Giuliani's serial sexual immorality and adultery, McCain's backstabbing and volcanic temper or Huckabee's deceitfulness.

I continue to support Fred because he is the only true conservative in the race, at least the only one whose record shows consistent conservatism over the course of years. I hope that he somehow pulls off a victory in South Carolina but if he doesn't then I hope that he has the good sense to withdraw from the race before the Feb. 5 primaries and endorse Romney rather than his "friend" McCain.