Observing from beyond the solar system, a cultural outsider looks in.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Why Edwards is strongest in the general

I think Democrats really need to understand that John Edwards is the most electable Democrat in the general election, which is why I'm writing this diary. I am no fan of polls, and I'm certainly no expert, and all of this data has been presented before by people like Michael 4 Edwards and Bruinkid, but I don't think that it's been presented in a comprehensive and easily readable way in one diary before, and this is what I'm attempting to do here.

There are a few reasons why I think that getting this information across is so important.

First of all, for the first time in my memory, the most electable candidate is also the most progressive candidate. This is an opportunity we should not pass up.

Second, I think the Democrats won the last two presidential elections. I think we won them in very narrow victories and we were cheated out of them by Republican voter suppression tactics and possible tampering with electronic voting machines. We need to win by a wide margin.

Third, I think it's important to consider the down ticket races. If we want to boost Democratic candidates in congressional, statewide, and local races across the country, again, we need to win by a wide margin and we need to pick up some new states.

Therefore, I give you what I hope are readable tables of polling data, with many thanks to Michael 4 Edwards and BruinKid for their previous diaries on this subject, on which I have relied heavily.

In the following tables the biggest win and/or biggest loss in each comparison is in bold. I have reported the numbers as a positive number showing the margin if we win and a negative number showing the margin if we lose.

The biggest win in each comparison shows this symbol:

The biggest loss in each comparison shows an exploding head:



Survey USA polls

In the past week, Survey USA has come out with a number of polls of individual states with head-to-head matchups between Democrats and Republicans. Below, I have included all the states for which they have put out surveys in the past week. I'm not quite sure why they picked these specific states, except that they seem to be potential battleground states.

Note that we have a chance to pick up all of these states, depending on the combination of Democratic and Republican candidates, but most often our best chance is if Edwards is the Democratic candidate.

Alabama, SUSA, 9/20EdwardsClintonObama

Iowa, SUSA, 9/23EdwardsClintonObama

Kansas, SUSA, 9/20EdwardsClintonObama

Kentucky, SUSA, 9/20EdwardsClintonObama
Thompson+1 -5-17

Missouri, SUSA, 9/22EdwardsClintonObama

New Mexico, SUSA, 9/24EdwardsClintonObama

Ohio, SUSA, 9/21

Virginia, SUSA, 9/25EdwardsClintonObama



The following table shows the average margin of win or loss for each of the Democratic candidates across all head-to-head match ups in all of the above Survey USA states.

All Republicans+7.17+1.83-2.46

Nationwide polling

The following chart compares data from several polling organizations as cited in this report from Global Strategy Group. The report was made in a memorandum to the Edward campaign. Now, I recognize some people are going to gripe about this because I've included data from a polling memorandum provided to the Edwards campaign, however, this memorandum cites a wide range of national polls from various polling organizations. Furthermore, it presents it in a way that is easy to follow. I realize that everyone can cite polls that show what they want to show, however I think the averages shown here are hard to refute.

In the chart, I have only included polls from organizations that included all three top Democratic candidates in their poll at least once. When the same polling organization conducted multiple polls, I have included their average numbers for that polling organization. The number of polls averaged from each polling organization is in parentheses following the margin. I have included all polls from the polling organizations that polled about all 3 Democratic candidates and were included in the Global Strategy Group report. I did not include some polling organizations that were in the Global Strategy Group report, if they did not conduct polls about all three Democratic candidates.

versus GiulianiEdwardsClintonObama
Rasmussen+4 (5)tie (5)-1 (5)
Quinnipac+1 (1)+2 (2)tie (2)
Zogby+3 (1)+5 (1)+4 (1)
Newsweek/PSRA+2 (1)+7 (1)+5 (1)
USA Today/Gallup+5 (1)-2 (2)
+1 (2)
LA Times/Bloomberg+3 (1)-10 (1)
+5 (1)
Average+3 (10)+2 (12)+1 (12)

versus ThompsonEdwardsClintonObama
Rasmussen+11 (5)
+2 (4)+4 (5)
Quinnipac+17 (1)
+6 (2)+11 (2)
Zogby+6 (1)+6 (1)+8 (1)
Newsweek/PSRA+16 (1)
+11 (1)+14 (1)
Average+12 (8)
+5 (8)+7 (9)

versus RomneyEdwardsClintonObama
Rasmussen+12 (2)
+8 (3)+9 (1)
Zogby+9 (1)+10 (1)+14 (1)
Newsweek/PSRA+21 (1)
+15 (1)+16 (1)
USA Today/Gallup+29 (1)
+13 (1)+21 (1)
LA Times/Bloomberg+14 (1)-2 (1)
+16 (1)
Average+16 (6)
+9 (7)+15 (5)

versus McCainEdwardsClintonObama
Rasmussen+15 (2)
+4 (4)+8 (3)
Quinnipac+8 (1)
+4 (2)+3 (2)
Zogbytie (1)+2 (1)+3 (1)
Newsweek/PSRA+6 (1)+5 (1)+10 (1)
USA Today/Gallup+6 (1)+3 (1)+2 (1)
LA Times/Bloomberg-5 (1)
-4 (1)+12 (1)
Average+6 (7)+3 (10)+6 (9)



The following table averages the results of all the nationwide polls in the above tables against all Republican candidates.

All Republicans+9 (31)+4 (37)+6 (35)





Just for fun, the following tables summarize the number of "YES" smileys, representing the biggest wins, and the number of exploding heads, representing the biggest losses, in all rows of the tables above, excluding the rows for averages. In each row of these next tables, the candidate or candidates who make our strongest case get a "YES" smiley, and the candidate who makes our weakest case gets an exploding head.

YES SignsEdwardsClintonObama
SUSA State Polls1620
Nationwide Polls113

Exploding HeadsEdwardsClintonObama
SUSA State Polls0211
Nationwide Polls13



The recent Survey USA polls show Edwards most likely to pick up a number of battleground states. The nationwide polls in our sample show Edwards most likely to win by the widest margin nationwide, when the polls are averaged.

One caveat to this data is that it is not always possible to compare apples and apples, because not all polling companies always include the same candidates in every poll, and some polling companies have done different numbers of polls on different candidates. Nevertheless, this is a fairly wide sample of polls showing something quite consistent as a result.

Although Obama comes closest to Edwards in the nationwide head-to-head match ups, he seems least likely to pick up the battleground states measured by Survey USA. Clinton is stronger than Obama in the battleground state polls, but squeaks by in the national polls with a margin of victory she could easily lose to election tampering or other factors.

Taken as a whole, this overview of polls should give a strong indication that Edwards is the most electable candidate.

This was a difficult diary for me to do, because I'm not all that interested in polls, quite frankly, but I have been seeing this trend for a while and thought it was important to share. This was also a lot of data to process, so while I've tried my best to be accurate, I can't guarantee that I made no mistakes. As with all polls, perhaps this information should be taken with a grain of salt, however, I have used many different polls here, and the data is pretty overwhelming.

To all of this, I want to add one indisputable fact: no Democrat has taken office as president unless he was from the South since 1960.



Further Reading:

You may be interested in reading further on this topic. Other diaries, notably the top one in my further reading list, by Michael 4 Edwards, deal with additional data, including favorability ratings. The data in that diary is excellent, though presented in a format that is somewhat hard to read.

The Global Strategy Memorandum includes many more polls than the ones I have used here, and it also includes some additional battleground state polls that I have not included here. Data from those additional polls also points to the same general trend I have shown here - Edwards is the most electable candidate.

John Edwards Does It Again by Michael 4 Edwards
Global Strategy Group Memorandum
Edwards - The REAL, ACTUAL Leader in Head to Head Polls by Michael 4 Edwards

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