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Edwards Emerges Giuliani's Strongest Opponent

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Despite running third behind Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in every national poll to become the Democratic presidential nominee, John Edwards has emerged as the only candidate poised thus far to defeat leading GOP contender, Rudy Giuliani.

Earlier this week, SurveyUSA released polls in 11 states of head-to-head candidate matchups between Giuliani and each of these three Democratic Party frontrunners. The eleven states surveyed in mid-April included 6 that went to George W. Bush in 2004 (Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, and Virginia) and 5 that were carried by John Kerry (California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, and Wisconsin).

John Edwards leads Giuliani in an early hypothetical matchup in 9 of these 11 states—only trailing the former New York City mayor in his home state of New York (by just 5 points) and New Mexico (by 3 points, within the margin of error). Edwards' average advantage over Giuliani in the 9 other states is 7 points, including double digit leads in the battleground states of Iowa (+10) and Wisconsin (+14). Edwards' lead was within the margin of error in only two of these states: Massachusetts (+1) and Kentucky (+3).

Hillary Clinton, however, has fallen behind Giuliani in 6 of the 11 states, trailing in Virginia (-5) and 5 states within the margin of error: Wisconsin (-1), Kentucky (-2), New Mexico (-2), Iowa (-3), and Missouri (-3). Clinton has opened up double digit leads in California (+12), Massachusetts (+12), and the battle for New York (+11).

Barack Obama emerges as the least competitive of the "Big 3"—leading Giuliani in only 2 states: Iowa (+5) and California (+1, within the margin of error). Obama trails Giuliani by an average of 9 points in the remaining 9 states, with only one within the margin of error (Wisconsin, by 2 points). Obama is looking up at double-digit deficits in four key states that all went Republican in the 2004 presidential race: Kentucky (-16), Virginia (-15), Ohio (-11), and New Mexico (-10).

To this point, Edwards clearly has the advantage in terms of "electability" versus the powerhouse Giuliani. Whether or not the Democratic base takes this into consideration when picking their nominee next year is an open question.

Previous post: McCain Opens Up First Lead Over Giuliani in Iowa
Next post: Who Is Driving Upper Midwest Support of Edwards?

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Remains of the Data

Gender Equality in the US House: A State-by State Quarter-Century Report Card (1989-2014)

A study of 5,325 congressional elections finds the number of female U.S. Representatives has more than tripled over the last 25 years, but the rate at which women are elected to the chamber still varies greatly between the states.

Political Crumbs

Small Club in St. Paul

Mark Dayton is one of just three Minnesotans ever elected to three different statewide offices. Dayton, of course, had previously served as State Auditor (1991-1995) and U.S. Senator (2001-2007) before winning the governorship in 2010. At that time, he joined Republicans Edward Thye and J.A.A. Burnquist on this very short list. Burnquist was elected lieutenant governor in 1914 but then became governor after the death of Democrat Winfield Hammond in 1915. He then won the gubernatorial elections of 1916 and 1918 and eight terms as attorney general two decades later (1939-1955). Thye was similarly first elected lieutenant governor of the Gopher State and became governor after the resignation of fellow GOPer Harold Stasson in 1943. Thye won one additional full term as governor in 1944 and then two terms to the U.S. Senate (1947-1959). Twenty Minnesotans have been elected to two different statewide offices.


Respect Your Elders?

With retirement announcements this year by veteran U.S. Representatives such as 30-term Democrat John Dingell of Michigan, 20-term Democrat George Miller of California, and 18-term Republican Tom Petri of Wisconsin, it is no surprise that retirees from the 113th Congress are one of the most experienced cohorts in recent decades. Overall, these 24 exiting members of the House have served an average of 11.0 terms - the second longest tenure among retirees across the last 18 cycles since 1980. Only the U.S. Representatives retiring in 2006 had more experience, averaging 11.9 terms. (In that cycle, 10 of the 11 retiring members served at least 10 terms, with GOPer Bill Jenkins of Tennessee the lone exception at just five). Even without the aforementioned Dingell, the average length of service in the chamber of the remaining 23 retirees in 2014 is 10.2 terms - which would still be the third highest since 1980 behind the 2006 and 2012 (10.5 terms) cycles.


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