Here’s a snippet from a very solid piece by the AP on the early importance (or not) of early 2008 polling.

Early 2008 polls unpredictable now, but provide some clues

By Will Lester, Associated Press Writer | February 25, 2007

WASHINGTON –Hillary Rodham Clinton is the clear favorite in early polls for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. So, what does that mean? Not a lot, if history is any guide.

Republican hopeful Rudy Giuliani, however, is sitting pretty.

For at least three decades, Republicans have been far better than Democrats in early polls at getting behind the candidates who end up winning the party’s presidential nomination.

Note that Edmund Muskie in 1972, George Wallace in 1976, Ted Kennedy in 1980, Gary Hart in 1988, Mario Cuomo in 1992 and Joe Lieberman in 2004 were early front-runners among Democrats. None won the nomination.

Republicans have picked the early front-runner in seven of the past 10 elections, according to Gallup polling. In the other three elections, Republican incumbents cruised to re-election.

Read the rest.

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