For deliberate obfuscation, you can hardly beat political polls. The latest one released today by CNN/Opinion Research is a national poll asking if ______ were the Republican candidate, who would you vote for? This question was asked about the top 4 republican candidates vs the top 3 democratic candidates.
Click to read the full CNN poll. Warning: reading polls can cause brain damage/death. I will save you the trouble by summarizing:
REPUB ...... vs ...... DEM
Guiliani = 45% vs Clinton 51%
Guiliani = 45% vs Obama 52%
Guiliani = 44% vs Edwards 53%
Romney = 43% vs Clinton 54%
Romney = 41% vs Obama 54%
Romney = 37% vs Edwards 59%
Huckabee = 44% vs Clinton 54%
Huckabee = 40% vs Obama 55%
Huckabee = 35% vs Edwards 60%
McCain = 50% vs Clinton 48%
McCain = 48% vs Obama 48%
McCain = 44% vs Edwards 52%
Now, I'm no statistical whiz, but there are a few things about these numbers that fairly JUMP off the page. All 3 dems beat Guiliani by about the same margin. All 3 beat Romney, but it is Edwards who destroys him (by 22-points). Same with Huckabee (Edwards whups his evangelical ass with an amazing 25-point spread there). McCain beats Hillary, ties with Obama, and loses to Edwards (by 8-points). Edwards does the best head-to-head against Republicans!
Does anyone recall The Third Man Political Theory? Edwards is losing ground in the democratic party right now, while Hillary & Obama vie for top place. He is "the third man". But in a national poll of registered voters of all parties, Edwards beats the opposition by greater margins than Hillary or Obama. The Third Man theory involves a scenario where the top 2 contenders are closely tied, but neither side can stomach throwing their support to the other. This stalemate enables the third man, as everyone's second choice, to win the day (although my preferred scenario would be for Edwards and Obama to join forces).
The margin of victory becomes extremely important in the General Election, because thanks to our new improved electronic voting system, in a close election, the ability to manipulate results almost guarantees a republican victory, regardless of the actual vote results. I'm sorry if this sounds pessimistic, but the democrats will need the strongest candidate to overcome electronic prejudice.
OK, I grant you the full impact of Oprah's endorsement of Obama has yet to be felt. He may emerge way out in front in the next few days. Now, I would truly be happy with Obama as my candidate. He's an inspiring man with a fine legal mind, and it would make me proud to see him in the White House. But there remain some issues on which I lean strongly to Edwards. How we achieve universal health care is one. Here is Edwards' current health care policy statement. Too long? Cut to the chase, which for me is the final paragraph:
"New Competition for Private Insurers: The Edwards plan creates new choices for American families. The new Health Care Markets will be available to everyone who does not get comparable insurance from their jobs or a public program and to employers who choose to join rather than offer their own insurance plans. Families and individuals will choose the plan that works best for them. The markets will include a new public plan similar to Medicare. If enough people choose the public plan, then the US will evolve towards a single-payer plan. As a result, private insurers will face new rules and competitive pressures to hold down their costs and deliver better coverage. "
Only Edwards and Kucinich have addressed the Single-Payer issue to my satisfaction. Another important issue difference for me is nuclear power development which I reviewed in a previous post about Yucca Mtn.