Electability issue pulls down Hillary
Dick Morris and Eileen McGann:
A NEAT bit of polling by the Gallup Organization shows that what's hurting Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential primaries isn't so much her vote on Iraq or even her flip-flops on the issue. What's undermining her support among liberals is doubts about her electability.Of course this same logic led Democrat voters to chose the deeply flawed John Kerry last time and ignore history and his betrayal of Vietnam veterans with his outrageous assertions against their honor and character in the war. Democrats have a way of ignore their own man's insult of others and focusing only on the return fire of groups like the Swift vets. They will probably make the same mistake again. None of this is to suggest that Howard Dean would have been a better candidate in 2004. His demagoguery had become too transparent by the time Kerry rose to the top, but they had a large field to pick from and made a poor choice.
The poll results suggest that many liberals see the primaries as a kind of audition where they assess not only whether they like or agree with a candidate, but whether she can lead them to the White House in 2008. This degree of pragmatism is often seen in Republican circles, but is relatively new on the other side of the aisle.
Gallup asked a national sample of Democratic primary voters from Jan. 5-7 if they'd vote for Hillary if the primary were today. About a third (34 percent) said they definitely would, and about half (52 percent) said they "might consider" voting for her.
The remaining 14 percent said they would "definitely not" support her in the primary.
Then Gallup followed up with the two-thirds of the sample that was not "definitely" voting for Hillary - asking why. The No. 1 reason? They felt she couldn't win.
Twenty-nine percent cited the fear that she would lose the general election; 16 percent mentioned her inability to win the nomination as a "major reason" for not voting for her. Many cited both.
(Only 26 percent said the major reason for their lack of support was disagreement on the issues; 11 percent cited personal dislike of her, and 10 percent said they didn't want "another Clinton in the White House.")