Clinton beats Bush and Clinton beats Bush

Hillary vs. Jeb? The former president vs. the incumbent? Either way, it's a W for Democrats in the Democracracy Corps poll.

Published April 7, 2005 12:13PM (EDT)

Clinton vs. Bush.

It has a familiar ring to it, and it's a pleasing one for Democrats who can remember all the way back to 1992. But we're not talking about Bill Clinton beating George H.W. Bush in a three-way race with Ross Perot 13 years ago. We're talking Clinton vs. Bush, head-to-head in 2008.

But which Clinton? And which Bush?

The latest Democracy Corps poll offers it up just about however you want it. Democracy Corps asked voters to pick between Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush for 2008. Respondents chose Clinton, 50-47. The senator from New York "runs particularly well with young voters, women, including white women, college and unmarried women, and even holds a narrow advantage in the rural areas," Stan Greenberg and James Carville write in their analysis of the results. Hillary beats Jeb by seven points among independents. And despite all the talk about Hillary as a polarizing figure -- talk we've heard come out of our own mouths, too -- Hillary wins the support of 11 percent of Republican voters. (And it should be noted that the poll probably doesn't reflect whatever reactions voters had to Jeb Bush's role in the Terri Schiavo case. If the poll were conducted again today, we're betting that support for the Florida governor would drop at least a bit.)

Interested in another Clinton-Bush match-up? Democracy Corps also asked voters to suspend -- at least in their imaginations -- the 22nd Amendment, and then think about how they'd vote if Bill Clinton could run against George W. Bush. The outcome: "Bill Clinton defeats George Bush by five points, 51 to 46 percent. Clinton wins 12 percent of Bushs 2004 voters and wins independents decisively, 52 to 40 percent. He is a landslide winner among union households and does well with mainline Protestants and white Catholics  taking the Democrats back to their 1996 level."

OK, so it won't happen. Neither Bill Clinton nor George W. Bush can run again, and if Jeb Bush was wary about running before he stuck his foot into Terri Schiavo's life, he's probably doubly so now. But if the Republicans can dream about running Arnold Schwarzenegger some day, Democrats are entitled to their fantasies, too.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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Bill Clinton George W. Bush Hillary Rodham Clinton Jeb Bush War Room