New Polls: Romney leads in IA and NH, Clinton leads in SC, FL

Insider Advantage came out with many polls from the 5 early voting states (except Nevada, which, for some reason, is never polled).

Full poll and full analysis here, on Campaign Diaries.

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Mike Huckabee's Not Doing Well - Good News

The Republican Party seems to be walking away from Governor Huckabee politically.  This is good news for Democrats.  This candidate could have had a very good chance of beating any Democrat's nominee, whether it be Hillary, Obama, Edwards or Richardson.  He's got a touch of each candidate in him that is currently running for office.

Mike was Governor of Arkansas for over 10 years.  He was their lieutenant governor before that.  These two things alone would have made those concerned about experience and judgment satisfied.

Mike spent part of his adult life as a pastor and denominational leader.  This would have attracted the religious right as well as any church going voter.  He's pro-life and believes Roe v. Wade should be over-turned..

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Favorable Ratings of All Candidates; Plus GE Recap

Favorable ratings are a good measurement of a candidates standing among the general public and could be a good indicator of their electability when compared to the opposition and the incumbent.

The following are favorable and unfavorable ratings arranged by NET favorability along with several general election matchups, which were posted earlier for reference.

All numbers are from Rasmussen Reports

Democratic favorable ratings can be found here.
Republican favorable ratings can be found here.
General election matchups can be found here, here, and here.

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Weekend Calendar Preview (September 14-16, 2007)

[Re-published from 2008Central.net]

It's the weekend of Democratic Senator Tom Harkin's steak fry in Iowa, and most of the Democratic candidates will be there. Republicans are also campaigning hard this weekend.

Barack Obama...

  • Obama willl attend the steak fry on Sunday.

Bill Richardson...

  • Richardson campaigns in Iowa all weekend before attending the steak fry on Sunday.

Chris Dodd...

  • Dodd has campaign events scheduled on Saturday in Iowa before attending the steak fry on Sunday.

Dennis Kucinich...

  • Kucinich wraps up a four day 'campaign swing' to Hawaii.

Hillary Clinton...

  • Clinton has a campaign event and fundraiser scheduled with Magic Johnson tomorrow; she is keynoting a NAACP event on Saturday, before also attending the steak fry on Sunday.

Joe Biden...

  • Biden campaigns in Iowa this weekend before also attending the steak fry.

John Edwards...

  • Edwards is scheduled for the steak fry on Sunday, while Elizabeth Edwards campaigns in Iowa the rest of the weekend.

John McCain...

  • McCain wraps up a campaign swing in New Hampshire today before heading to South Carolina on Saturday and Sunday.

Mike Huckabee...

  • Huckabee campaigns in Iowa today and fundraises in Florida on Saturday.

Mitt Romney...

  • Romney fundraises in Massachusetts today.

Ron Paul...

  • Paul campaigns and fundraises in Seattle today, and in Salt Lake City on Saturday.

Rudy Giuliani...

  • Giuliani has campaign events scheduled for today in Lousiana and Texas, and attends the Nascar race in New Hampshire on Sunday.

Sam Brownback...

  • Brownback campaigns in Iowa tomorrow.

Tom Tancredo...

  • Tancredo campaigns in Iowa all weekend.

Visit our up-to-date campaign calendar section for complete schedules.

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Electability On The Right

In their apparent on-going mission to will a Clinton nomination into being (see also Rove, Karl) Republicans continue to define electability as "best able to defeat Hillary Clinton."

If you watched the petulant Mary Matalin on Meet The Press yesterday, you heard her advocate on behalf of her candidate, Fred Thompson, as follows:

The main superior rationale [for voting for Fred Thompson] is that he'll be better in the general election, he's better than any of these guys against Hillary, he's not afraid of Hillary, he's a better politician than her [sic] and he'll get more blue states.

Putting aside for a moment the fact that Matalin didn't appear for a second to believe the spin she was spouting, nor did she provide any evidence for these claims, it is interesting that Republicans are using a candidate's perceived ability to win in the general as the number one reason to support him. They know that half of what Elizabeth Edwards said in Time Magazine is true:

"Their nominee won't energize them, Bush won't...

And they're desperately hoping the other half is:

...but Hillary as the nominee will.

The problem for Matalin is that Republican voters tend to see who is most electable quite differently.

The latest Diageo/Hotline poll finds that while 27% of Republicans support Giuliani for the nomination, 38% see him as the candidate with "the best chance of beating the Democratic nominee" and a full 42% see Giuliani as the candidate with "the best chance to beat Hillary Clinton." And the case that Mike Huckabee makes for his own candidacy, again, against Hillary Clinton, perhaps best illuminates why this is: Giuliani is seen as Democratic-lite.

"Quite frankly, Americans are going to look at a contest where there's contrast. That's what I bring to the race, someone who can contrast in terms of philosophy and record, but also who's going to be able to challenge her on key fundamental issues like education and health care," Huckabee said.  [...]

"Hillary is a strong, strong candidate, much stronger than a lot of Republicans want to accept," Huckabee said. "But the reality is that if we put someone up whose views on some of the issues that rally our base don't rally our base, then we're going to be in big trouble."

What Huckabee is doing, of course, is reframing electability altogether not as an electoral calculation but rather as a battle of ideas, echoing the strategy of contrast that the left has urged our politicians to embrace. Huckabee seems to have learned an important lesson from the Kerry campaign of 2004: that while defining electability as perceived electoral strength AGAINST another candidate may be a proven path to the nomination, it's also a proven loser in the general.

So which strategy will ultimately win the Republican nomination? If the Diageo/Hotline poll is an accurate gauge of the mood of the Republican electorate, Huckabee may be on to something. When asked why they are supporting the candidate they do, 47% said because they agree with him on the issues, while only 16% said because he has the best chance in the general election. And certainly Huckabee's campaign model is already paying dividends for him against Giuliani in Iowa and to a lesser extent in New Hampshire and South Carolina. But the fact that the pundit class sees the best argument for a candidate as the ability to change the map and take blue states (see Matalin; see also concern troll Dave G at Race42008,) demonstrates not only that they are on the defensive, but also is an acknowledgement that their base has no confidence that a battle of ideas will actually be a winner for them in 2008 (duh) and in fact that their base has virtually already conceded defeat.

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