Poll: Parties Differ On 2008 Prospects

generic 2008 presidential race graphic - White House and logos/symbols for Democrats and Republicans AP / CBS

If a new survey of registered voters is correct, a Democrat will win the 2008 presidential election, according to new CBS News/New York Times polls.

With more than 19 months to go before the 2008 election, Democratic voters are optimistic about their prospects — they like their candidates and they think their party will win the presidency in 2008. Not so for Republicans. Although there are many announced and yet-to-announce likely candidates for the Republican Party's nomination for president, GOP voters aren't happy: A majority — 57 percent — says they wish there were more choices. A significant number don't think their party will win in 2008.

Historically, Democrats have been skeptical of candidates for their party's nomination. In this cycle, at least for now, most Democratic primary voters are satisfied. Fifty-seven percent say they are satisfied with the candidates running for the Democratic nomination, while 39 percent want more choices. In August 2003, opinion was reversed and during the 1992 primary campaign, Democratic voters also were not satisfied.

Feeling About Democratic Primary Field
(Among Democratic Primary Voters)


Now
Satisfied
57 percent
Want more choices
39 percent

August 2003
Satisfied
33 percent
Want more choices
57 percent

October 1991
Satisfied
18 percent
Want more choices
64 percent

All of the major Democratic candidates get positive assessments from Democratic primary voters. There have been small changes in the assessments of Hillary Clinton and John Edwards since January, with a few more Democratic primary voters expressing negative views of those candidates. Meanwhile, positive assessments of Barack Obama have soared, especially among blacks.

In January, more blacks had a favorable view of Clinton than had a favorable view of Obama. Now the ratings among black Democratic voters are the same — two-thirds are favorable, and almost no black Democrats have unfavorable views or Clinton or Obama.

Rating The Democratic Candidates
(Among Democratic Primary Voters)


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Favorable
59 percent
Not favorable
17 percent

Barack Obama
Favorable
54 percent
Not favorable
9 percent

John Edwards
Favorable
44 percent
Not favorable
14 percent

Although there are many announced and yet-to-announce likely candidates for the Republican Party's nomination for president ion 2008, Republican voters aren't happy yet: A majority — 57 percent— wishes there were more choices. A significant number don't think the party's candidate will win in 2008.

Read the complete results of the CBS News/New York Times poll on Republicans
Read the complete results of the CBS News/New York Times poll on Democrats
And when Republicans today look at their own party, they see divisions within its ranks. Most say their party has drifted from the principles of Ronald Reagan: Seven in 10 say the GOP has gone off on a different path. They do unite on many issues, however — and on their clear dislike of Bill and Hillary Clinton.

The lack of satisfaction with the current set of candidates is a change from past presidential elections. Republican primary voters were more satisfied with their primary candidates in 1996 and 1992.

Are You Satisfied With The Candidates Running For The Republican Nomination?
(Among Republican Primary Voters)


Now
Satisfied
40 percent
Want more choices
57 percent

March 1996
Satisfied
50 percent
Want more choices
46 percent

February 1992
Satisfied
59 percent
Want more choices
35 percent

Conservative primary voters are more likely to want more choices than moderates, and 62 percent of white evangelical primary voters also say they want more choices.

Historically, Republicans have been more satisfied with their candidates than Democrats. But that's not true this year. A majority of Democratic primary voters say they are satisfied with their options for the nomination.

Moreover, six in 10 voters nationwide expect a Democrat will win the presidential election in 2008. Half of Republican primary voters expect a Republican will win in 2008, but more than a third think a Democrat will win. Democratic primary voters are much more confident a candidate from their party will win.

Whom Do You Expect To Win The Presidential Election?
(Among Registered Voters)


All Voters
A Republican
26 percent
A Democrat
61 percent

Republican Primary Voters
A Republican
50 percent
A Democrat
36 percent

Democratic Primary Voters
A Republican
8 percent
A Democrat
84 percent

Some of this is affected by views of the GOP candidates: Republicans who are satisfied with the choice of candidates running for their party's presidential nomination are more likely to be optimistic that the party will hold the White House.



For detailed information on how CBS News conducts public opinion surveys, click here.


This poll was conducted among a random sample of 1,362 adults nationwide, interviewed by telephone March 7-11, 2007. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups is higher.
  • Joel Roberts

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