Monday, October 01, 2007

Mountain State Democrats Dreading Hillary as Nominee

In which Montana Democrats ask, 'what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Denver to be born?'

From the Los Angeles Times:

The New York senator and Democratic front-runner was by a wide margin the most unpopular of 13 potential presidential candidates in Montana, according to a June survey by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research for the Billings Gazette; 61% said they would not consider voting for her, compared with 49% who would not vote for former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards and 45% who would not vote for Illinois Sen. Barack Obama. The most unpopular Republican candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, was rejected by 51%.

Recent polls in Colorado, Nevada and Arizona have found similar distaste for Clinton.

"She's carrying huge negatives out here," said Floyd Ciruli, an independent Colorado pollster who said Democratic congressional candidates would have to highlight their differences with the national party to be successful next year. "It's that liberal East Coast image that is so hard to sell in the West."

One key advisor to a prominent Democratic congressional candidate, who asked not be to identified discussing tensions within the party, went even further. "It's a disaster for Western Democrats," he said. "It keeps me up at night."

I think that Democrats will have a hard time defending Hillary in many swing regions. but I'm keeping my powder dry until I see how the Republican nominee fares. If it's Giuiani, I'm not sure that he will do appreciably better. Still, this is encouraging. Pair it with CQ's finding that Republicans appear to be sitting pretty in the South next cycle, and I'm not dreading a Hillary candidacy.

File this alongside the other stories that I and others have cited about the worry that down-ticket candidates have about running with Hillary. Also, which Democratic campaigns may be helping [lace these stories? After all, with her Democratic rivals seemingly unable to chip away at her lead, these independent stories about her high negatives and reverse coattails are the only drag on her candidacy right now.

On a sidenote, do LA Times reporters get credit for silly statements? They attempt to demonstrate Montana Governor Schweitzer's willingness to take a stand for civil liberties -- in implicit contrast to President Bush:

Perhaps no one is more of a poster child for that success than Montana's colorful governor, Brian Schweitzer. Three years ago, Schweitzer became the darling of Democratic politicos when he swaggered into office with a dog and a pair of cowboy boots.

Schweitzer, a cattle rancher and the grandson of homesteaders, is no Democrat in name only. He is a proponent of energy conservation and environmental regulation. He favors abortion rights. And while the Bush administration was pushing to expand surveillance powers with the Patriot Act, Schweitzer pardoned 78 Montanans, most of them German immigrants, who had been convicted of sedition during World War I.

Wow. Montana has a governor willing to take a bold stand in favor of those who might sympathize with Kaiser Wilhelm! I'm impressed.

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