In 2004, polls showed all three Republican candidates for the 5th Congressional District's open seat losing to the officially unopposed Democrat. Then, after running one of the most incompetent campaigns I have ever seen, State Rep. Cathy McMorris won the election by twenty points.
Conservatives will have to decide who they hate more in 2008, Hillary Clinton or John McCain. That’s how a veteran of the Reagan White House sizes up the current field. The religious right loathes Hillary, the presumptive Democratic nominee, and they love Virginia Sen. George Allen, an amiable, Reagan-like figure whose father once coached the Redskins.
Allen will do well in the Republican primaries, but polls will show him losing by 7 percentage points to Hillary at the same time they show McCain handily beating her....
So here we are, almost three and a half years from the next presidential election. Entire articles are devoted to how Republicans need to support McCain or other media favorites because he does well in hypothetical polls. What they don't mention is a fairly important question: name ID. How many people knew who Bill Clinton was in 1989? Or George Nethercutt in 1991? Hillary, however, is essentially universally-known (as is McCain), while Allen is probably best known in more politically active circles.
Seven points down, three and a half years out, everyone has an opinion about Hillary, but they haven't met George Allen- it doesn't sound so bad for him anymore.
And for that all-important name recognition, who is George Allen?
- Senator from Virginia (2001-present)
- NRSC Chairman during 2004 election (GOP expands majority by 4 seats)
- Governor of Virginia (1994-1998 - term limited)
Slightly-Related Update, June 29:
(Fox News) Even though it was recently reported that Bush had slightly higher grades than Kerry did at Yale University, a 43 percent plurality of voters still think Kerry is the one with better grades. About a quarter (27 percent) got it right and say Bush had better grades in college.