Handicapping 2008, or the Frist-Kerry buzz kill

If it's McCain vs. Clinton, Democrats may have a big hill to climb.

Published March 2, 2006 8:16PM (EST)

From the "For What It's Worth" Department, the National Journal's Chuck Todd has just offered up his rankings of the five Democrats and five Republicans he says are most likely to be the presidential nominees in 2008.

The Republicans, in order from most likely to least: John McCain, George Allen, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich. The Democrats: Hillary Clinton, Mark Warner, John Edwards, Evan Bayh and Bill Richardson.

The rest are, well, the rest. Among them: John Kerry and Bill Frist, two men Todd sees in a race for who can lose the most "buzz" first.

If Todd's early predictions hold up, the Democrats could be in for a bummer all around. We're still a long way away, but recent polls show McCain with a double-digit lead over Clinton in an imaginary 2008 matchup. And a new George Washington University Battleground 2006 Poll finds that voters around the country hold the senator from Arizona in much higher regard than they do the senator from New York. McCain's favorable-unfavorable ratings are 65-18; Clinton's are an upside-down 45-51.

By Tim Grieve

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

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