June 10, 2005--Election 2008 will be a toss-up if Democrats
nominate a liberal candidate and Republicans nominate a
conservative. A Rasmussen Reports survey finds that 40% of Americans
say they would vote for a liberal Democrat and 39% for a
The survey also found that if both parties nominate a
moderate candidate, the Democrats have a 42% to 38% advantage.
Obviously, events over the next three years could change these
figures in either direction, but the survey generally shows an
electorate that remains evenly split between the two
The survey documents the conventional wisdom concerning the
political center. If Democrats nominate a moderate candidate and the
GOP selects a conservative, the survey shows that Democrats would
have a nine-point advantage. On the other hand, if Democrats
nominate a liberal candidate and Republicans pick a moderate, the
GOP gains an 8-point advantage.
As you would expect, most of the changes took place among
voters who are not affiliated with either major party.
Obviously, there are many different definitions of liberal,
moderate, and conservative. In Election 2004, the perceptions
of both John Kerry and George W. Bush shifted significantly as
the campaign wore on. In the end, Kerry was viewed by most Americans
as politically liberal. However, most liberal voters did not see him
that way. Bush had a stronger base partly because he was able to
convince most conservatives that he was one of them.
This year, Senator
Hillary Clinton is making a much publicized move to the
political center. She has made some progress, but a solid plurality
still view the former First Lady as politically liberal.
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public opinion polling information.
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Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports,
has been an independent pollster for more than a decade.
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The national telephone survey of 1,000 Likely
Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports June 8-9, 2005. The
margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 3 percentage points
with a 95% level of confidence. (see Methodology)