Excerpts from a Monitor breakfast on the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.
John Zogby, president and chief executive officer of Zogby International, has done polling work for a wide variety of candidates as well as for a number of major news organizations including Reuters, NBC News, and Fox.
He holds degrees in history from Le Moyne College and Syracuse University. When he is not polling, Mr. Zogby is a senior associate at Syracuse's Maxwell School and has the title of distinguished visitor at Colgate University.
"They (Republicans) may not want to wish too hard (that Howard Dean is the candidate). This is not George McGovern. [Dean] is an NRA member. This is someone who has been a centrist governor.... Does he have what it takes to win the nomination? I don't know. You can't predict that just yet. But there is certainly a high level of intensity (and) support (among) the Dean people and I would suggest that he probably, barring anything unforeseen, has his tickets to the Boston convention. Now the issue I think is who is the other candidate [who will make it all the way to Boston.]."
"There is potential for this candidacy. He is the Democrats' dream expert on national security, foreign policy, on military affairs. He is the possible anti-Dean.... I don't think he impacts Dean except maybe sucks a little oxygen from the Dean headlines and the Dean momentum. I think their constituencies will be mutually exclusive. I think next week you will see Clark climbing into the teens (in the polls), which will make him among the top four in the race."
"I think he has the most impact on three candidates. First is Sen. (John) Kerry who had a difficult time after his announcement really finding a voice, finding a message and articulating that message. Here is the war hero counterpoint to Senator Kerry.
More importantly, I think he has the greatest impact on Senator (John) Edwards. [Clark] is the Southerner, the centrist, and he impacts Edwards really in three regards - one is as a Southerner, the second is in terms of the timing. His (Clark's) pre-announcement Tuesday came right during Edwards's announcement and in some ways has overshadowed it. Thirdly, in watching Edwards, Edwards also had a very good announcement back in January and then from there, who is he? There is no clear message, no clear voice coming out through the clutter...Edwards just in recent weeks has climbed to 6 (percent in the polls) in Iowa and 10 (percent in the polls) in South Carolina. Not bragging rights but that was enough to make me start looking again. I think Clark's entry into the race may stymie that...
(Senator Joseph) Lieberman also - still leads in places like South Carolina and is in the top two or three nationally--mainly by virtue of name recognition still. He is running kind of a centrist campaign but also doing one Sister Souljah event after another. That was a moment in 1992, that was not designed to be a grand [angering] of every Democratic constituency imaginable and basically I think that is what Lieberman has been doing."
"The irony though with the last three commanders-in-chief is that they had to be commanders-in-chief in a whole new world. And so trying to define commander-in-chief in a world where the US role is evolving and new forces are out there - radical Islam as opposed to the Soviet menace - makes this sort of difficult and chaotic situation. And so these three commanders-in- chief have had to define and redefine the US role in the world.
Right now, as things stand, he is in the unenviable position of being at the whim of external forces that could be beyond his control...."
"Let me jump to what I think will be one of the major issues and that is economic insecurity. (We) have asked questions for 10 years, one of which is are you or anyone in your household afraid of losing a job in the next 12 months? It was 11 percent in 1999, it is 22 percent today.... When you ask people earning $75,000 a year or more, those households, it has gone from 9 percent who say they are afraid of losing their job in the next year in 1999 to 24 percent. That kind of insecurity is a difficult thing for an incumbent to overcome, especially if the economy stays the way it is...."
"I can't predict what the courts will do but I do think that (Governor Gray) Davis will probably win this."
It is "way too early to say 'permanently tarnish' and way too early to say that it will be forgotten. Where we stand right now, the president is in trouble. The president is in trouble because of the economy and insecurity and the president is in trouble because of the Iraq peace and the sense of a lack of stability in the region."