Poll Shows Dean's Strength, and Weakness

Discussion in 'Politics' started by MtnBiker, Dec 22, 2003.

  1. MtnBiker
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    MtnBiker Senior Member

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    December 22, 2003 09:54 PM EST


    WASHINGTON - Howard Dean is gaining ground as the leading candidate in the Democratic presidential contest but he appears to be a substantial underdog in a hypothetical matchup against President Bush, a national poll released Monday says.

    The ABC News-Washington Post poll found Dean, a former governor of Vermont, backed by 31 percent of Democrats and those who lean Democratic. All other candidates were in the single digits.

    Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman and Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt were at 9 percent, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry at 8 percent, retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark at 7 percent, North Carolina Sen. John Edwards at 6 percent, activist Al Sharpton at 5 percent, Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich at 2 percent and former Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley Braun with less than 1 percent. Fourteen percent were undecided.

    When all respondents were asked who they would trust more with national security, 67 percent said Bush and 21 percent said Dean. When asked who they would trust more to handle domestic issues like Social Security, health care and education, they picked Bush by 50 percent to 39 percent.

    In a head-to-head matchup, Bush led Dean by 55 percent to 37 percent. Few in the poll, including Democrats, knew a great deal about Dean and his positions.

    According to state polls, Dean is battling for the lead with Gephardt and Kerry in Iowa and has a big lead in New Hampshire. He's showing increasing strength in other states as he picks up endorsements and attention. Al Gore, the 2000 Democratic presidential nominee, endorsed him Dec. 9.

    As Dean has gained strength, Democratic insiders have grown more concerned that he would have a difficult time in a general election matchup against Bush. Aides counter that Dean's strength in motivating new voters and using the Internet as a tool will be valuable.

    The ABC-Washington Post poll of 1,001 adults was taken Dec. 18-21 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points, larger for subgroups like Democrats.
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    Will be interesting to see how the polls shape up after the primaries.
     
  2. acludem
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    acludem VIP Member

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    Those poll numbers don't surprise me, nor do they scare me. People are inclined to go with what they know. Right now, Dubya is the known quantity. I dare say that if around New Year's 1992, you'd have asked these questions between Clinton (or any other Democratic candidate) and Bush I, you'd have had the same result. I think Howard Dean can compete with Bush nationally. However, I honestly haven't decided who to vote for in the primary. It's a tough choice.
     
  3. MtnBiker
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    MtnBiker Senior Member

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    It may be much easier for Dean to recieve a pularity of the primary vote than then a majority of the electoral college vote.

    The Dean dilemma
    Robert Novak

    December 22, 2003

    WASHINGTON -- Before a single vote has been cast anywhere, thoughtful Democrats across the country are reaching a melancholy conclusion. Howard Dean is close to clinching the nomination. The question is not merely whether he can be stopped but also whether he should be stopped.

    This poses a dilemma that was discussed during a small, private dinner party last week attended by people actively engaged in politics for much of the last half-century. They viewed Dean's increasingly probable nomination with loathing and fear that it benefits George W. Bush. But to try and stop him now, they agreed, may open a bloody split in the Democratic Party not seen since the great divide of 1972.

    This situation is made possible by Democratic reforms following the tumult of 1968. In 1972, at least, the party establishment fought to the bitter end attempting to block the nomination of George McGovern, because his loss of 49 states was widely anticipated. The final touch to the reforms has been added in this cycle by Democratic National Chairman Terry McAuliffe, whose front-loading of primaries was designed to pick an early nominee.

    The Dean dilemma was spelled out to me by a sage Democratic practitioner whose views I have sought since 1968. He has felt for months that the former Vermont governor faces horrendous defeat against President Bush. Last week, this party loyalist told me he felt Dean will be nominated unless an act of intervention stops him. He added that he is sure Dean can be stopped but at the cost of unacceptable carnage. Implicitly and reluctantly, therefore, he is swallowing Dean.

    The hope inside the Democratic establishment has been that once Dean perceived himself on the road to the nomination, he would pivot sharply toward the center. He may be unable to perform or even attempt this maneuver. He is no ideologue, but he has not outgrown being the smart-aleck kid from Park Avenue with a hard edge. The Democratic savants I have contacted can only shake their heads over his stubborn insistence that Saddam Hussein's capture has not made the country safer.

    This discomfort was behind the Democratic group that last week put on television a tough ad depicting Dean as unable to cope with terror or "compete with George Bush on foreign policy." Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi immediately sent out an open letter to the party's other presidential candidates assailing this relatively restrained TV spot as "the kind of fear-mongering attack we've come to expect from Republicans." The ad was pulled off the air, suggesting limits to how far Democrats will go in confronting Dean. If nominated, he can expect much worse from the Republicans.

    Most Americans and, indeed, most Democrats are hardly aware of Howard Dean's existence. The national polls that have propelled him well ahead of any other candidate still give him support from only one of four Democrats (slipping slightly after Hussein's capture). He runs far behind Bush in any one-on-one poll. However, the McAuliffe-shortened primary campaign is all in Dean's favor.

    If Dean is the clear winner in Iowa and New Hampshire, he would seem assured of the nomination. Even if he is upset in Iowa by Rep. Richard Gephardt, it is hard to imagine Gephardt with enough money in the bank to battle Dean down the long primary election trail. Sen. John Kerry is seen as the only Democrat with the potential wherewithal to contest the money-heavy Dean, but Kerry's performance has been one of the year's great political disappointments.

    As the economic outlook brightens, Democrats depend on the situation in Iraq to defeat Bush. That only deepens the party's dilemma. Surveys taken after Saddam Hussein's capture for the CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll show just 37 percent of Democrats think Iraq was worth going to war. But among all other voters, such support reached 70 percent (amounting to 61 percent nationally if Democrats are included).

    Joe Trippi last week said the anti-Dean ad on foreign policy "panders to the worst in voters." Actually, the Democrats and Dean are out of step on the issue they think will move the nation. That makes it even more difficult to stop Howard Dean.
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  4. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    Been going on for a bit though:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2003/12/19/politics/campaigns/19



    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    December 19, 2003
    Some Democrats Uneasy About Dean as Nominee
    By KATHARINE Q. SEELYE and ROBIN TONER

    ASHINGTON, Dec. 18 — Many leading Democrats say they are uneasy about Howard Dean's candidacy for president and are reluctant to cede him the nomination for fear that his combative style and antiwar stance will leave Democrats vulnerable in November.

    They acknowledge that Dr. Dean has run a strategically savvy campaign that has made him the candidate to beat. But their worry has been heightened anew, they say, by Dr. Dean's statement this week that the capture of Saddam Hussein "did not make America safer" and by his suggestion that Saudi Arabia warned President Bush about Sept. 11 even though "I did not believe the theory I was putting out."

    Senator John B. Breaux of Louisiana, who has long sought to push the Democratic Party to the center, said Dr. Dean's remark about Mr. Hussein's capture was "not the smartest thing to say." Mr. Breaux added, "Most people in my part of the country think the world is indeed safer without a ruthless dictator."

    Joe Lockhart, who was President Bill Clinton's spokesman in the White House, suggested that Dr. Dean might lack the discipline for a general election campaign. "It's the unplanned, offhand comments that often seem to play a critical role," Mr. Lockhart said, adding, "You've got to be able to become a master of the game, not someone who just rails against the game."

    Interviews with dozens of Democrats, from elected officials to party elders, state Democratic chairmen and former Clinton officials, found many impressed with Dr. Dean's ability to raise money and inspire a large and dedicated following. And certainly, they said, he appears to be on his way to the nomination, a feeling that was underscored by the endorsement last week by former Vice President Al Gore.

    "He doesn't have the nomination cinched by any means right now," said Robert S. Strauss, a one-time Democratic Party chairman and party elder statesman. But, Mr. Strauss added, "He is so strong that it is difficult to see how he can be stopped by any other candidate."

    Still, Dr. Dean's rivals are firing away at him with new vigor, and many Democrats are waiting to see how Dr. Dean adapts to the changed landscape after Mr. Hussein's capture. The latest New York Times poll showed that the capture improved Americans' view of President Bush and his handling of the war but also that 60 percent said the United States was as vulnerable to terrorist attack as before the capture.

    "It's not just Dean, but all of the candidates who ran against the war in Iraq are going to be weakened by the events of the last few days," said Leon Panetta, chief of staff in the Clinton White House. "For Dean in particular, it makes it even more imperative that he has to make an adjustment in terms of his positions so he's not viewed as weak on national security."

    Beyond that, Senator Breaux and others said they wondered whether Dr. Dean could broaden his appeal for a general election. They said they were concerned about where he might be taking the party.

    As Mr. Panetta said, Dr. Dean's foreign policy speech on Monday was "a beginning," but, he said, he cannot "go back to the politics of anger." He added, "What has happened over the weekend makes the Democratic race much more competitive."

    Gov. Edward G. Rendell of Pennsylvania, who described himself as a "fan" of Dr. Dean, said Dr. Dean was "like lightning in the bottle," something rare and bright — but unpredictable. He has captured the energy of new voters, Mr. Rendell said, but added: "He hasn't been on the national stage. I think he'll wear well because he's so honest and blunt, but who knows?"

    Some of the unease reflects anxiety by officials seeking re-election who worry about having to run with an unknown quantity at the top of the ticket. They say the nominating process has been so accelerated that they have little sense of Dr. Dean's political prowess and whether he is suited temperamentally to the challenge of a presidential campaign.

    Their unease also reflects a wrenching debate within the Democratic Party about what the party stands for and how it should define itself in the post-Clinton era. Even before Dr. Dean made his comments about domestic policy on Thursday some of the leading centrists of the Clinton years said they were dismayed by his rallying cry that "It's time to take our party back" — and wonder, From whom?

    "I assume he means the people who led it to this disastrous middle where 22 million jobs were created," said Al From, a founder of the Democratic Leadership Council, formed to push the party to the center after its landslide defeats in the 1980's.

    The Dean campaign rejected the idea that the candidate was dooming their party.

    Jay Carson, a spokesman for Dr. Dean, said: "There may be a few doubters within the party, but there are a half-million Americans signed on with this campaign and tons of people within the party, from Jesse Jackson Jr. to Al Gore, who believe Governor Dean is the only candidate who can beat President Bush."

    Despite the unease in the party, most Democrats said that early whispers of a stop-Dean movement were exaggerated. They said there was no real mechanism for stopping him, except for the delegate-selection process, which would be difficult to manipulate. More important, they said, no plausible alternative to Dr. Dean has emerged, and trying to stop him would only redouble the efforts of his followers.

    "There is some anxiety," said Pat Griffin, who was President Clinton's liaison to Congress.

    Such concern, Mr. Griffin said, was "a legitimate part of the process" but "it would be a mistake to say that people have drawn a conclusion that Dean's candidacy can't work."

    The Dean campaign had hoped that Mr. Gore's endorsement might have put these concerns to rest.

    Instead, Mr. Gore's declaration that the Dean candidacy promised to "remake the Democratic Party" highlighted the fissures between President Clinton's carefully structured centrism aimed at the middle and Dr. Dean's aggressive appeals aimed at the Democratic base, especially on the war in Iraq.

    Representative Cal Dooley, Democrat of California, said of Mr. Dean, "My concern is if he doesn't moderate some of those positions, if he is the Democratic nominee, he will be very successful at garnering 45 percent of the vote — which isn't enough to win."

    Mr. Dooley, a longtime ally of the Democratic Leadership Council, is backing Senator Joseph I. Lieberman.

    Some saw Dr. Dean's remark on Mr. Hussein's capture as a sign that he would remain defiant toward President Bush, a quality that his supporters greatly admire.

    "We don't want a wimp in this part of the country," said Representative Marcy Kaptur, Democrat of Ohio. "Everything I've read that Dean has said about Saddam seems to be right on point. Our people have struggled to make a living and they want a fighter. They don't want some kind of Hollywood production with hair spray."



    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company
     
  5. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    Even the NYT, that bastion of liberalism, is admitting that Dean's nomination will split the Democrats. They are in real trouble if he wins the nomination.
     
  6. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    and more from NYT:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2003/12/23/politics/campaigns/23DEAN.html?pagewanted=print&position=

    After reading, check out this archived Drudge scoop:

    http://www.drudgereport.com/dean9.htm

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    December 23, 2003
    Dean Rebuked for Statement Implying Brother Served in Military
    By JODI WILGOREN

    EMBROKE, N.H., Dec. 22 — Howard Dean came under criticism from an Iowa newspaper last weekend for an answer to a questionnaire in which he implied that his brother was serving in the military when he disappeared in Laos 29 years ago. His brother had been traveling in Southeast Asia as a tourist.

    Asked by The Quad-City Times, which is based in Davenport, Iowa, to complete the sentence "My closest living relative in the armed services is," Dr. Dean wrote in August, "My brother is a POW/MIA in Laos, but is almost certainly dead."

    The brother, 23-year-old Charles Dean, whose apparent remains were recovered by a military search team last month in Laos, was classified as missing in action, along with other civilians captured or killed in the area during the Vietnam War. But Charles Dean never wore a uniform, and while some family members at times suspected that he was working as a spy, Dr. Dean said he never believed that.

    His answer to the newspaper's question, published on Dec. 14 as part of a regular feature on The Quad-City Times's editorial page in which the Democratic presidential candidates respond to questions intended to probe their persona, drew complaints from readers and a rebuke from the newspaper's editorial board on Sunday. The editorial was circulated to a handful of reporters on Monday by a rival campaign.

    Dr. Dean was asked about his answer by a reporter after a town hall meeting here on a day when he took aim at President Bush for what he called a "callous" refusal to press Congress for an extension of unemployment benefits.

    "The way I read the question was that they wanted to know if I knew anything about the armed services from a personal level," he said. "I don't think it was inaccurate or misleading if anybody knew what the history was, and I assumed that most people knew what the history was. Anybody who wanted to write about this could have looked through the 23-year history to see that I've always acknowledged my brother's a civilian, was a civilian."

    Mark Ridolfi, editor of the paper's editorial page, noted that the question had specifically asked about the armed services and said of Dr. Dean's reply, "It certainly is not an accurate response."

    Mr. Ridolfi said the question, one of 20 that the candidates answered in writing in August, was intended to get at candidates' personal connections to the military. "When you have a family member currently involved in the military," he said, "you think of things differently."

    After hearing Dr. Dean's explanation during a meeting at the newspaper's office on Friday, Mr. Ridolfi ran an editorial in Sunday's editions describing Dr. Dean's original answer as "unusually revealing."

    "Charlie Dean's capture and death in Southeast Asia certainly shaped his brother's opinion about the American military," read the editorial, which pointed out that the younger Dean opposed the Vietnam War, worked on George McGovern's 1972 presidential campaign and visited Laos during a yearlong trip around the world.

    "Knowing that story tells us something about the candidate," it continued. "So does inaccurately implying a direct family connection to the armed services for the 72,000 Quad Citians who received Sunday's newspaper."

    Dr. Dean called the editorial, which referred to his brother as a "renegade," "one of the greatest cheap shots I've ever seen in journalism."

    "It's offensive and insensitive not to understand what the impact of this is," he said, "writing about this in such a tawdry way."

    Dr. Dean also wrote a letter to the paper, saying he was "deeply offended" by the editorial.

    This is the latest in a string of incidents in which Dr. Dean, the former governor of Vermont, who has drawn support with his blunt remarks, has attracted controversy with imprecise statements. His rivals have frequently turned his own words against him to argue that he has switched positions on critical issues like Medicare or trade, and to question whether he is ready for the presidency. Earlier this month, he offered "an interesting theory" about whether President Bush had warning of the Sept. 11 attacks, something he later said he never believed. And he apologized last month for the way he phrased his desire to reach out to Southern white voters who have deserted the Democratic Party. He had said he wanted to be the candidate for "guys with Confederate flag decals on their pickup trucks."

    At a town hall meeting in Exeter, N.H., on Monday afternoon, Dr. Dean referred to the centrist Democratic Leadership Council as "the Republican part of the Democratic Party" even while talking about the need to bring unity among Democrats.

    Jay Carson, a Dean spokesman, said the candidate was "joking," noting that the leadership council has been among the most aggressive opponents of the Dean candidacy.

    When voters arrived at a high school here on Monday evening, they were greeted by volunteers for one of his opponents, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, giving out doughnut holes and a three-page handout criticizing Dr. Dean's record on foreign policy. The stunt capitalized on Dr. Dean's statement on Sunday that if nominated he would seek a running mate with international experience because "I need to plug that hole in the résumé."

    Seven other candidates responded to question about the armed services. Mr. Kerry said, "They're all retired now," while Senator Bob Graham of Florida, who has since dropped out, cited his brother, Bill, who was in the Air Force in World War II. Senator John Edwards of North Carolina mentioned his father-in-law, a retired Navy pilot, and Senator Joseph I. Lieberman named his nephew, Adam Miller.

    Former Senator Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois wrote, "I come from a small family and I do not currently have a relative in the armed forces."

    Representative Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio listed his brothers Frank (Vietnam) and Gary (Japan) as well as his sister Beth, who "served stateside." Representative Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri noted that he himself had been in the Air National Guard, "but currently I don't have any relatives in the service."



    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company
     
  7. MtnBiker
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    MtnBiker Senior Member

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    .......Asked by The Quad-City Times, which is based in Davenport, Iowa, to complete the sentence "My closest living relative in the armed services is," Dr. Dean wrote in August, "My brother is a POW/MIA in Laos, but is almost certainly dead." ......

    ......"The way I read the question was that they wanted to know if I knew anything about the armed services from a personal level," he said. "I don't think it was inaccurate or misleading if anybody knew what the history was, and I assumed that most people knew what the history was. Anybody who wanted to write about this could have looked through the 23-year history to see that I've always acknowledged my brother's a civilian, was a civilian.".......

    Dean wants to be the president and commander in chief. Does he know what POW/MIA mean? Was his brother ever in action?
     
  8. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    Nope, disgusting behavior, but for those that want something very bad, I guess they'll just ignore. Sure you won't be seeing it on the networks, CNN, PBS, or MSNBC. Pretty sure you won't see it on FOX either.

    Did you check out that Nov. Drudge? Those guys were not happy.
     
  9. MtnBiker
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    MtnBiker Senior Member

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    Yeah I did check that out, I actually posted it back in November. It does seem very wrong to give military honors to someone not in the military.:(
     
  10. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    Yep. My guess though, it will make its way around the blogosphere pronto. I don't know if it's so good for Bush, but I think Dean maybe imploding. Here's a few links I found today:

    http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/bminiter/?id=110004466

    http://www.boston.com/news/globe/ed...2003/12/23/deans_campaign_depends_on_enemies/

    http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?pt=u4BDXy1QP9wDtyBarRdMvg==

    http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/opinions/articles/1223pimentel23.html

    Different ends of political spectrum, different topics, all contain warnings on Dean. (One even mentions 'implode' I just noticed.)
     

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