Four more years! Yes, really!

There’s no reason why a 21-year old journalism student should know more about history than the staff of The American Prospect … but life is funny sometimes. The NYT poll I mentioned yesterday includes this finding:

If George W. Bush is renominated as the Republican Party’s nominee for president in 2004, do you think you will probably vote for George W. Bush, or vote for the Democratic candidate, or don’t you know yet?
Bush – 32%
Dem. candidate – 18
Don’t know yet – 47
DK/NA – 2


But the most important statistic — the one that every Dem presidential contender should heed — is President Bush’s re-elect rating, which is buried in a “Complete Results” pop-up window. If Bush were renominated as the Republican candidate in 2004, according to this poll, only 32 percent of respondents would definitely vote for him again. 32 percent?


Time/CNN poll, Nov. 1994:
In your view, does President (Bill) Clinton deserve to be re-elected as President or not?
Yes, deserves – 35%
No, does not – 52
Not sure – 13

CBS Poll, Nov. 1994:
If (President) Bill Clinton runs for re-election in 1996, do you think you will probably vote for Bill Clinton, or for the Republican candidate, or for a serious third-party candidate, or don’t you know yet?
Bill Clinton – 13%
Republican candidate – 21
Third-party candidate – 7
Don’t know yet – 56
Don’t know/no answer – 3

ABC,CBS,NBC News,New York Times,Cable News Network poll, Nov. 1990:
If George Bush runs for re-election in 1992, do you think you will probably vote for George Bush, probably vote for the Democratic candidate, don’t know yet.
Probably vote for George Bush – 33%
Probably vote for the Democratic candidate – 31
Don’t know yet – 35

Penn & Schoen, Dec. 1982:
Thinking about the 1984 Presidential election, do you definitely plan to support President (Ronald) Reagan, would you consider voting for someone else, or do you definitely plan to vote against him?
Definitely support him – 20%
Consider voting for someone else – 35
Definitely plan to vote against him – 33
Don’t know – 12

Gallup, Dec. 1982:
If President Reagan were the Republican candidate and Walter Mondale were the Democratic candidate, which would you like to see win (the 1984 Presidential election)?
Reagan – 36%
Mondale – 52
Undecided – 12

Make of this what you will. My interpretation? 32 percent is a fine re-elect number, especially considering only 18 percent of voters would support a Democrat. That 18 percent is the lowest show of support for a generic opposition candidate in at least two decades.

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