A new Time Magazine poll shows two very interesting things: despite her incessant triangulating and centrist-searching positions as she gears up for the 2008 presidential election, Hillary Clinton remains the top choice (46%) among voters, but not by much. The Comeback Kid, Al Gore, is hot on her trail (41%) in what could be shaping up as a major battle of the Clinton administration spin-offs for the Democratic nomination.
Gore has waited his whole life for this moment. The country is in a state of domestic and foreign policy disarray, and voters are frustrated, angry and ready for change. On the national level, recent Rasmussen and Fox News polls show Democrats with a commanding 18-point lead over Republicans, indicating that the Dems could sweep into the House and Senate much as the GOP did during its 1994 Republican Revolution. Voters are that upset. While many key Democrats are excited about a Hillary candidacy at the primary level, there is still considerable doubt that she can win the general election. The Time poll shows she remains an unpopular, polarizing figure among Republicans and an appreciable amount of Independents; and voters on both sides question her ability to keep America safe from terrorists (67% of Dems, 17% Repubs think she can). Writes Time Magazine, "Most of us agree that she's smart, and there's no doubt she wants to win. Does that mean she will figure out how to get red America to see her softer side, or does that mean she'll quit before she can lose?"
Which brings us back to Gore. As we've said many times, he's got an impressive resume, a fiery new personality, and anti-war/pro-environment messages that resonates with most of the country right now. And he's a winner, having snagged the popular vote in 2000 and, as many believe, the electoral college as well. To date, he's played it coy in denying he's running, but he's also calculatingly left the door open. For Gore right now, that door is wide open, and it's full of opportunity. The question is when, not if, Gore makes it official.