Saturday, January 20, 2007

Why Hillary Can Win

Mark Penn makes the case. I'm not sure I'm convinced that she is the best candidate, but he does a good job of arguing that she may be the best Democrat:

Even before announcing her presidential campaign, Hillary has already proved wrong all the pundits who say that people already know her and that voters won't change their minds. In the last year, the percentage of people who have a favorable impression of Hillary Clinton in the CBS poll rose 34 percent (from 32 to 43, the highest of any Democratic contender). In the December Washington Post poll, she now has the highest favorable rating of any known Democrat (56 percent), and these were her best ratings since 1999. Hardcore Republicans don't like Hillary for the simple reason that they know she can win, and if she does, she will change the policies of their hero, George W. Bush. She has a strong appeal among both Democrats and independents, the two groups it takes to win.

Of course, new polls are coming out every day showing one candidate up or another down, and up against these polls from national news sources, there are plenty of other polls out there with less positive numbers -- like a Diageo poll or a Rasmussen poll -- but the major news organization polls, taken before anyone announced, all showed her moving up in favorability and support, moving up in ways many pundits said was simply not possible.

Some of the commentators look at the ratings of people who have not yet been in the crossfire, and say they might have a better chance. Recent history shows the opposite. The last two Democratic presidential candidates started out with high favorable ratings and ended up on Election Day (and today) far more polarizing and disliked nationally (see the CBS poll below). Hillary is the one potential nominee who has been fully tested, with the Republicans spending nearly $70 million in the last decade to try to defeat her. She is not just strong, but the strongest Democrat in the field. Hillary is the only one able to match or beat the Republicans after years of their partisan attacks on her.

Of course, the real question is, who will sign on Bob 'Kiss of Death' Shrum? Tell me that, and I'll tell you the next President.

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