- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 8, 2003

Sen. Joe Lieberman is running ahead of his rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination in national polls, largely due to name recognition. But a new Gallup analysis says his lead may also be due to broader appeal among Democrats.

For months, the Connecticut senator has led virtually all national party-preference polls, while trailing his nearest opponents in most of the key caucus and primary state surveys in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and elsewhere. The reason so many Democrats name him in nationwide polls has a lot to do with his fame as the party’s 2000 vice-presidential nominee, election analysts said.

However, a closer analysis of the past three months of national polling “also shows that Lieberman’s positioning may be due to a broader appeal to Democrats than many of the other contestants have,” the Gallup Organization said.

It found that Mr. Lieberman has broader Democratic appeal by region, gender, political ideology and age, especially among younger voters, and among educational levels. Surprisingly, he comes in second (17 percent) to the Rev. Al Sharpton (24 percent) among black voters. Former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun is third with 12 percent.

Nationally, Mr. Lieberman leads in the Gallup Poll with 21 percent, followed by Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri, 17 percent; Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, 13 percent; Sen. Bob Graham of Florida, 7 percent; Howard Dean, 7 percent; Mr. Sharpton, 6 percent; Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, 6 percent; Mrs. Moseley Braun, 5 percent; and Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio, 1 percent.

But in a detailed analysis of who had the broadest national appeal among various demographic groups or regions of the electorate, Mr. Lieberman emerged the winner more often than not, Gallup said. Among them:

• “A key goal for every candidate is to broaden his or her support beyond his or her home region,” Gallup said. “So far, Lieberman appears to have done that better than the other candidates, probably because of his visibility as the party’s 2000 vice presidential nominee.”

Mr. Lieberman leads in the South, West and in the East, while Mr. Gephardt leads in the Midwest with Mr. Lieberman close behind.

• Gallup found that among Democrats, 33 percent said they are liberal, 43 percent are moderates and 23 percent called themselves conservative. The senator, a strong supporter of the Iraq war and the most conservative candidate in the pack, leads his rivals in all three ideological groups.

In other categories, Mr. Lieberman outpolled his rivals among men and women with 21 percent; exceeded or tied his rivals among all Democratic age groups; and led among voters with a high school degree and some college education. Mr. Kerry was slightly stronger among college graduates and postgraduates.

But Gallup analysts acknowledged that leading in the national polls may not count for much. The race for the nomination is won in individual, state-by-state contests that can knock a nationally recognized candidate out of contention.

Frank Newport, editor in chief for Gallup, said yesterday that “at this point there is a very low correlation between the national standings in the polls and who gets the nomination. A year before the election, Jimmy Carter, Michael Dukakis and Bill Clinton did not show up much at all in the national polling, but they went on to win the nomination.”


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