For at least three decades, Republicans have been far better than Democrats in early polls at getting behind the candidates who end up winning the party's presidential nomination.Here's this:
Note that Edmund Muskie in 1972, George Wallace in 1976, Ted Kennedy in 1980, Gary Hart in 1988, Mario Cuomo in 1992 and Joe Lieberman in 2004 were early front-runners among Democrats. None won the nomination.
Republicans have picked the early front-runner in seven of the past 10 elections, according to Gallup polling. In the other three elections, Republican incumbents cruised to re-election.
Democrats nominated a former vice president, Walter Mondale, in 1984, and a sitting vice president, Al Gore, in 2000. For those elections, the early polls were more predictable at picking the front-runner.
Gallup polling over the past three decades shows Republican front-runners usually win their party's nomination, but Democrats do not. Some elections:The WaPo looks at six degrees of former Senator Tom Daschle.
February 1971: Edmund Muskie, 26 percent; Edward Kennedy, 25; Hubert Humphrey, 21; John Lindsay and George McGovern, each at 5.
McGovern won the nomination and lost the general election to President Nixon.
February 1975: George Wallace, 22 percent; Humphrey, 16; Henry Jackson, 13; McGovern, 10; Muskie, 9. Jimmy Carter was at 1 percent with 10 candidates in front of him. Carter won the general election, defeating President Ford.
March 1975: Gerald Ford 34, Ronald Reagan 22, Barry Goldwater 17.
February 1979: Kennedy, 60 percent; Carter, 28.
Carter lost the general election to Reagan.
February 1979: Reagan, 31 percent; Ford, 26; John Connally, 12.
April 1983: Walter Mondale, 29 percent; John Glenn, 23; Gary Hart, 4.
Mondale won the nomination and lost the general election to Reagan.
January 1987: Hart, 30 percent; Lee Iacocca, 14; Jesse Jackson, 13. Michael Dukakis was at 1 percent with seven people in front of him.
Dukakis won the nomination and lost the general election to Vice President George H.W. Bush.
January 1987: Bush, 33 percent; Bob Dole 16, Howard Baker and Pat Robertson, each at 6.
February 1991: Mario Cuomo, 18 percent; Jackson, 12; McGovern, 9; Richard Gephardt, 8. Bill Clinton was at 2 percent with 10 people in front of him.
Clinton won the nomination and beat Bush in the general election.
February 1995: Dole, 38 percent; Dan Quayle, 17; Newt Gingrich and Phil Gramm, each at 7.
Dole won the nomination and lost to Clinton in the general election.
January 1999: Al Gore, 47 percent; Gephardt, 13; Bill Bradley, 12; Jackson, 11.
January 1999: George W. Bush, 42; Elizabeth Dole, 22; John McCain; 8; Quayle, 6.
Bush beat Gore in the general election.
January 2003: Joe Lieberman, 17 percent; John Kerry, 16; John Edwards and Gephardt, each at 13.
Kerry won the nomination and lost to Bush in the general election.
Mid-February 2007: Hillary Rodham Clinton, 41 percent; Barack Obama, 21; Gore, 14; Edwards, 13. Other candidates' support was less than 5 percent.
Mid-February 2007: Rudy Giuliani, 40 percent; McCain, 24; Gingrich, 9; Mitt Romney, 5. Other candidates' support was less than 5 percent.
Here is an interesting tidbit on Al Sharpton and Strom Thurmond.
The Rev. Al Sharpton, the prominent civil rights activist, is descended from a slave owned by relatives of the late senator and one-time segregationist Strom Thurmond, a genealogical study released Sunday reported.While we're on the subject of geneology, I am able to trace my family back to biblical times while skipping many generations.
"It was probably the most shocking thing of my life," Sharpton said of learning the findings, which were requested and published Sunday by the New York Daily News. He called a news conference to respond publicly to the report. "I couldn't describe to you the emotions I have had...everything from anger to outrage to reflection to some pride and glory."[...]
The newfound knowledge that his great-grandfather was a slave, Sharpton added, gave him a new perspective on his life.
"You think about the distance that you've come, you think about how brutal it was, you think about how life must have been like for him. And then you start wondering whether or not he would be proud or disappointed in what we have done," Sharpton said, with his eldest daughter, Dominique, 20, at his side.
The revelation was particularly stunning for the juxtaposition of the two men's public lives.
Sharpton, known for his fiery rhetoric and a tendency to intervene as an advocate in racially charged incidents, ran for president in 2004 on a ticket promoting racial justice. Thurmond made his own bid for the presidency in 1948, promising to preserve racial segregation, and in 1957 he filibustered for more than 24 hours against a civil rights bill.
After his death in 2003, though, it became clear that Thurmond had a complicated history with issues of race. A 78-year-old retired schoolteacher, Essie Mae Washington-Williams, revealed that she was the offspring of his extramarital relationship with his family's black housekeeper.
"In the story of the Thurmonds and the Sharptons is the story of the shame and the glory of America," Sharpton said Sunday.
Lindsay Beyerstein writes about why she refused to blog for John Edwards.