The first public opinion poll measuring support for 2008 presidential candidates in Wisconsin was released this week by Strategic Vision—a Republican research firm. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton was the favorite of 36 percent of the 800 likely voters polled, followed by Barack Obama at 21 percent.
Former Senator John Edwards , who ran a very strong campaign in the Badger State in 2004, polled at only 17 percent—or just half the level of support he received in the 2004 Wisconsin primary. In 2004, as Howard Dean’s campaign went into a tailspin in late January and February of that year, Edwards was a large beneficiary in the movement of Dean supporters to other campaings; Edwards garnered a surprising 34 percent of the primary vote in Wisconsin and 24 delegates, just six behind John Kerry’s 30 delegates. The fate of Edwards’ 2008 presidential bid may not be determined by whether he can ultimately catch Hillary Clinton, but whether or not Al Gore decides to enter the race.
Wesley Clark and Dennis Kucinich are the only other Democratic candidates listed in this survey who were on the 2004 primary ballot in Wisconsin. Clark—who has not yet announced his candidacy—polled at 5 percent, more than twice the amount of support he received in 2004 in the Wisconsin primary (2 percent). Kucinich polled at just 1 percent in the Strategic Vision poll, less than the 3 percent he received in 2004 when he was one of the few Democratic candidates who spoke openly against the Iraq war (along with Howard Dean).
Democratic Wisconsinites overwhelmingly disapprove of Bush’s handling of the Iraq War (71 to 21 percent), though only 34 percent believe Congressional Democrats have a better plan to resolve the conflict. Nearly half of the polling sample (49 percent) want Congress to deny funding to send additional troops to Iraq and a majority (57 percent) want a withdrawal of all troops from the country within six months.