Monday, December 19, 2005

National Journal Insiders Poll

National Journal released its Presidential insider poll on Saturday. Mark Warner jumped one spot to slide into a fairly comfortable number two position behind Hillary. While insiders still think Hillary is the candidate to beat, Warner has become the viable alternative. John Edwards continues his fall to the number three position, while John Kerry drops three more positions to number eight.

Candidate / Points / 1st Place Votes
1.Hillary Clinton / 440 / 76
2.Mark Warner / 283 / 10
3.John Edwards / 170 / 5
4.Evan Bayh / 105 / 3
5.Tom Vilsack / 100 / 1
6.Joe Biden / 79 / 1
7.Bill Richardson / 72 / 1
8.John Kerry / 69 / 0
9.Al Gore / 46 / 1
10.Wesley Clark / 34 / 0

The Insiders Poll listed Sen. George Allen of Virginia in the number one spot for Republican Presidential favorite in 2008. If you didn't see it last week, Warner Watch linked to a Rasmussen poll showing Warner beating Allen 49% to 44% for President among the voters of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Here is National Journal's commentary about Gov. Warner:

He has some personal wealth, and has received a strong response from the Virginia election this year. He is the Southern alternative, as well as the strongest moderate alternative. Warner has some outsider potential and a good story from the last Virginia election, but clinching the nomination is tougher when not occupying an office - harder to break through and make news.

Can a right-of-center, pro-business Democrat get the Democratic nomination? In any event; already on the short list for VP.

If Warner's recent trip to New Hampshire is any indication, he has a chance. But if he is to beat Hillary, he will need to keep exciting people while also proving he can win in the general election and proving Hillary can't. Warner has to quietly build an organization and educate himself to the land mines of a national run. My fear is that the early spate of good press will give Warner the impression this is a merry-go-round, when it really is a wild roller-coaster ride.

I do like the fact they pointed out Warner's outsider potential. He has a strong case to be the outside Washington candidate for President. A governor/ businessman running against the mess in Washington is always a good story. Why? His competition is the Democratic Senate Club of Clinton, Kerry, Edwards, Bayh, Biden, Feingold, and maybe even former Sen. Gore.

But I still don't think some of the insiders really get Warner. In the Virginia governor, they just see another DLC Democrat who is centrist for the sake of being moderate, but has electability outside Democratic strongholds. But this view misses the direction Warner is headed in entirely. His centrism is not the mealy-mouthed centrism of someone in the middle because they lack conviction. He simply can't be defined by the political left, right or center if he is going to be about grabbing the American peoples attention with powerful ideas and an expansive vision for America's future.

The real issues we face are no longer right vs. left or conservative vs. liberal. They’re about past vs. future. Our challenge, as Democrats, is to reclaim our role as the party of the future. - Mark Warner


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