Republican Voters Uninspired by Candidates
No candidate has yet caught fire with Republican voters, Adam Nagourney reports.
Three weeks before the Iowa caucuses, Republicans voters across the country appear uninspired by their field of presidential candidates, with a vast majority saying they have not made a final decision about who to support, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll.
None of the Republican candidates is viewed favorably by even half of the Republican electorate, the poll found. In a sign of the fluidity of the race, one candidate who had barely registered in early polls several months ago, Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, is now locked in a tight contest nationally with Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York and Mitt Romney of Massachusetts.
By contrast, Democrats are happier with their field and more settled in their decisions. For all the problems Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York appears to be having holding off her rivals Iowa and New Hampshire, she remains strong nationally, the poll found. Even after what her aides acknowledge has been two of the roughest months of her candidacy, she is viewed by Democrats as a far more electable candidate in the general election than either Senator Barack Obama of Illinois or John Edwards of North Carolina.
None of this is particularly surprising. Hillary Clinton has been the presumptive nominee since 2000 or so and her party is naturally chomping at the bit for a chance to unseat George W. Bush. By contrast, the Republican nominating electorate is divided among itself with no candidate who appeals to all sectors of the base.
Once a nominee emerges, however, that will cease to matter. While some Republicans will have difficulty summoning enthusiasm for any of the plausible nominees, few indeed will have trouble voting against Hillary Clinton.
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