It's about the candidates, stupid

Could a Democratic presidential candidate lose Massachusetts?

Published July 11, 2006 1:32PM (EDT)

Here's a sobering message for Democrats who hope that a tide of anti-Republican sentiment will lift all boats in 2006 and beyond: There's a good chance that it won't.

Democrats fare well in generic polling questions -- do you trust Democrats or Republicans more to handle this problem or that one, would you be more inclined to vote for a Democratic or a Republican presidential candidate in 2008? But as Rasmussen Reports explains, "Unnamed Republicans and Democrats are never listed on the ballot. And when asked about four high-profile politicians considering a presidential run, even voters of Democrat-leaning states tend to like the Republicans more."

Frightening case in point: When Rasmussen asked voters in Massachusetts -- Massachusetts! -- whether they'd prefer John McCain or Hillary Clinton in 2008, the answer was pretty much a tie: McCain 44, Clinton 43. A hypothetical matchup between McCain and Al Gore produced exactly the same result: McCain 44, Gore 43.

As Rasmussen says, it's "hard to think of a scarier scenario for Democrats than Massachusetts as a toss-up state on Election Night in 2008." The good news for Democrats: Election Night 2008 is a long way away. The bad news: Rasmussen says that it's seeing this pattern -- McCain and Rudy Giuliani outperforming some generic Republican in hypothetical matchups against Clinton or Gore -- in "state after state."

By Tim Grieve

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

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2006 Elections 2008 Elections Al Gore Hillary Rodham Clinton John Mccain R-ariz. Rudy Giuliani