This month’s ABC News/Washington Post poll revealed some interesting voter impressions about the very early stages of the 2008 presidential campaign. The biggest story in candidate polling continues to be the decline in support for Republican Sen. John McCain. In May of 2006, 28% of those surveyed said that they definitely would not back McCain for president in 2006. Less than a year later, that number has risen to 47%. Twenty five percent of Republicans surveyed said that they definitely would not support McCain in 2008. As bad as McCain is faring, Mitt Romney’s numbers are even worse. Fifty four percent of Americans say that they definitely would not vote for him. Thirty three percent of Republicans said that they definitely will not support him in ’08. Forty percent of Americans also say that they won’t vote for Rudy Giuliani

On the Democratic side 45% of Americans say they definitely won’t support Sen. Hillary Clinton, but only 15% of Democrats say that they definitely will not be supporting her in 2008. Thirty six and thirty five percent respectively said that they would definitely not be supporting Obama and Edwards. For those who think that Hillary Clinton will do well with Independents, this poll holds some discouraging news. Fifty one percent of those surveyed said that they definitely would not vote for her in 2008. Only Mitt Romney had a worse number at 53%. However, Clinton leads all candidates in both parties with 27% of respondents who said that they will definitely vote for her in 2008. Obama and Edwards are second and third on the list with 20% and 18% respectively, and Giuliani is the top Republican with 17% definite support.

John McCain’s decline in support can be directly tied to his support of the Iraq war. Among people who define themselves as strong opponents of the war, 63% said that they definitely would not support McCain. In the same poll last May, the percentage was 34%. This looks to be more evidence that McCain’s pro-war stance is eating away at his presidential chances. Overall among Republicans, Rudy Giuliani has lost 11 points off of his lead over McCain in the last month, but he still leads by 12 points, 33%-21%. Mitt Romney is tied for third with undeclared candidate Fred Thompson with 9% support. Hillary Clinton leads Obama by a margin of 37%-24%. The undeclared Al Gore gets 17% and John Edwards 14%.

The fascinating thing about this poll is that no candidate seems very well liked. If McCain and Clinton would win their parties nominations, we could see a record low voter turnout on Election Day. I still expect the race for the nomination on the GOP side to turn into a free for all, as more conservative voters get to know Giuliani’s positions. On the Democratic side there will probably be three Democratic heavyweights battling it out until the nominating convention. No one should be surprised if none of the top three lock up the nomination before the convention. For those of us who consider election watching a great deal of fun, most of the good action could come in the primaries. The General Election could end up being a battle between two deeply flawed candidates.

Link to the complete ABC News/ Washington Post poll

Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at

Jason can also be heard every Sunday afternoon at 1:30 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at
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