Our surveys on your preference for president have displayed the same ups and downs as nationwide polls.
Our poll this week is no exception. We asked which candidate would receive your vote if the Democratic primary were held today. The winner in this poll, in a very close vote, is Wesley Clark who received 21% followed closely by Howard Dean who received 20%.
Joe Lieberman received 14% and Dick Gephardt garnered 8%. The others receiving votes are as follows:
John Kerry 6%
John Edwards 6%
Carol Moseley Braun 2%
Al Sharpton 2%
Dennis Kucinich 2%
Would not vote 12%
The most significant change in this poll is obviously the rise of Howard Dean and Wesley Clark and the substantial drop in support for John Kerry.
This result is substantially different than the poll results from last June. At that time, we asked the same question with the most visible candidates. Since June, Wesley Clark has entered the race and Bob Graham dropped his quest for the nomination. Last June, the results were:
John Kerry 16%
Joe Lieberman 13%
Dick Gephardt 9%
Howard Dean 5%
John Edwards 4%
Bob Graham 3%
Carol Moseley Braun 2%
Al Sharpton 1%
Dennis Kucinich 1%
Not sure 19%
Would not vote 23%
With the primary season fast approaching, most voters have now made up their minds whereas last June a number of voters had not decided and did not know much about some of the candidates. The comments from readers reflect this change.
Of course, Wesley Clark was not in the race last June. Despite his late entry, it seems from our readers’ comments that he is the favorite for the Democratic nomination both because of his experience and the belief of some that he can be elected in a race with President Bush. Some readers expressed doubts about the ability of Howard Dean to be successful in the general election.
Here are a few of the comments sent in by our readers:
A personnel director from the Department of Agriculture wrote:
“I would prefer a moderate, intelligent leader with proven international and leadership skills. Clark is a Rhodes Scholar and retired general with multiple degrees, who finished first in his West Point class. None of the other “politicians” come even close!”
A Forest Service employee in Sheridan, Wyoming says:
“Wes Clark has the best grip on the (sic) reality.”
A human resources specialist from the Navy in the State of Washington offered this comment:
“Clark is intelligent, has integrity and is a proven leader. I think he can lead us out of the mess the current administration has placed us in.”
Part of the problem some readers have with Howard Dean obviously reflects recent attacks on his ability to get elected and his personality traits under pressure. A Navy employee from Bangor, Washington said:
“Dean seems so far ahead, but I’m not jumping on his bandwagon. His personality seems too much like Bush. I don’t feel any substance behind the man.”
A technician from the Forest Service in Missoula, Montana offered this opinion:
“My heart votes Dean, my head votes Clark. Wesley Clark can beat Bush.”
Some of the comments also reflect the current dialogue on the primary race. A reader from Hyattsville, Maryland, who is obviously going to vote for George Bush, wrote:
“I’d vote for Howard Dean. He’s Gods gift to George Bush.”
Joe Lieberman’s support has held up during the primary. A reader from the Department of Education in Washington had this to say:
“Lieberman is the most straight-talking, middle of middle of the road, and strong on national security of the bunch.”
John Kerry still has some support although it has obviously slipped during the campaign so far. An Air Force project officer from Dayton, OH wrote:
“Kerry is the only believable one in the bunch. I would have voted Lieberman but for his stance (speech) on Clinton during/after the impeachment hearing!”
Ralph Nader also has at least some support. An employee of the Fish and Wildlife Service in Virginia says:
“I will vote for Ralph Nader, a true champion of the rights and interests of American working people with a decades-long track record. America needs a viable third party.”
One reader asked why we only listed Democrats on the survey and did not include President Bush. The reason, of course, is that we were only seeking to determine readers’ preferences for the Democratic nomination. Still, that did not stop several readers for voicing their strong support. One retiree from Alabama said he would not vote in the Democratic primary.
“President Bush has my support all the way. I would not vote in the Democratic primary. It’s a good thing, because it would be pretty tough finding a candidate in this lineup that I could envision as President of the United States. The only one even approaching the qualifications is Joe Lieberman. For President Bush’s sake, I hope the Democrats select Howard Dean. If he becomes the candidate I expect the press will take the time to ask Vermonters what they think of their former governor.”
Finally, a Department of Agriculture employee from St. Louis offered this commentary:
“Bush is going to win regardless.”
Thanks to all of our readers who took the time to vote and to send us your opinion.