Two important things to remember when looking at national polls: first, U.S. elections are held on a state-by-state basis, so it’s more important at this point in the campaign to know how candidates are faring in each state than on the national level. (This article on the Electoral College explains this in more detail.) Second, different polls use different methodologies, meaning that one poll might not always be a good predictor. For example, while Clinton and Giuliani hold their leads by several points in the USA Today/Gallup poll, a Rasmussen Reports poll issued today shows the Democratic race much closer. On the Republican side, Rasmussen says Giuliani and Huckabee are tied, holding 18 percent each of voter support.
With the races so tight, who will win is anyone's guess. Do you want to take a guess? Let Campaign Trail Talk know who you think will win. Send your predictions and commentary here.
03 December 2007
Scary moments in New Hampshire
Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's campaigning came to a halt November 30 when a man walked into her campaign office in Rochester, New Hampshire, claiming to have a bomb strapped to his chest. Clinton, who was in Virginia at the time, cancelled a campaign event during the hostage situation. Some other campaign offices in the area were evacuated as a precaution.
The man surrendered peacefully, and it turned out the bomb was a fake. Clinton flew to New Hampshire that evening to thank law enforcement officials and to meet with the young Rochester staff. She is now back on the trail, although the Rochester office is still closed.
The Rochester office is one of about a dozen Clinton offices in the state. These offices, known as field offices, are a common fixture in the early primary and caucus states. Their doors are open for volunteers or average citizens who want to learn more about a candidate.
Field offices are often run out of tiny storefronts with only a handful of staff members, who tend to be quite young. Read more about these young staffers here.
01 December 2007
More planted campaign questions?
The YouTube Republican debate November 28 sparked another debate. This one about debates themselves: what are the pros and cons of allowing average Americans to ask the questions during a presidential debate? The format allowed for more creativity, but it also led to practices some viewers argued were unfair.
Primary debates are intended to be an opportunity for party supporters to learn about their candidates. Opening a primary season debate to questions from all Americans provides those from the opposing party opportunities to pose questions that could paint the candidates in a negative light.
Retired Brigadier General Keith Kerr asked the Republican candidates if they believed that openly gay men and women should be allowed to serve in the U.S. military. Kerr, who is openly gay, was in the audience and had a chance to give his opinion on the candidates' responses.
Kerr is not a Republican. In fact, he served on a committee that supports Democrat Hillary Clinton – raising questions about whether her campaign encouraged him to ask the question. (See the November 13 entry on accusations that the Clinton campaign planted questions at campaign events.)
Kerr said he acted on his own.
The vice president of CNN, the network that hosted the debate, apologized for the incident, saying, "CNN would not have used the general's question had we known that he was connected to any presidential candidate." They also cut the incident from repeat broadcasts of the event.
What do you think? Should candidates only have to answer questions from people in their own parties during the primary season? Send in your comments.
29 November 2007
Republicans have their turn at a YouTube debate
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