Does GOP Really Face Uphill Path to White House?

Conventional wisdom says that the Republicans will have a tough time winning the White House in 2008. But Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr says that recent polls show Democratic and Republican candidates running neck-and-neck.

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At least for today, President Bush may be popular in Greensburg, Kansas, but polls show his national approval at about 30 or 35 percent.

Senior news analyst Daniel Shorr says that should not lead Democrats to assume that the White House will soon be theirs.

DANIEL SHORR: Not being an election buff, I've tended to take for granted what the experts have to say, which is that given Iraq a role, the Republicans are going to have a hard time winning the White House in 2008. With President Bush's approval rating at record lows, recent opinion polls indicate that a majority of Americans want change. But Andrew Kohut, the president of the Pew Research Center, has come up with a study indicating it isn't time yet for the Republicans to throw in the towel.

He recalls that at a similar stage, Jimmy Carter led Ronald Reagan 52 to 38 percent; Walter Mandel led Reagan 47 to 41 percent; and Gary Hart led George Bush 50 to 42 percent.

Misleading indicators, Kohut calls them. And he takes a closer look at party affiliation, which maybe undergoing dramatic changes. In 2002, the country was evenly split along party lines. Today, it is 50 to 35 percent Democratic.

As to the individual candidates, the Pew Center found that John McCain and Rudy Giuliani may be considered insufficiently conservative for a majority of Republican voters. But some voters may ultimately have to settle for one of them.

So, Republicans, be of good cheer. The horse race polls indicate Republican possible candidates matching up pretty well against possible Democrats -Giuliani, in a dead heat with Barack Obama, and running slightly ahead of Hillary Clinton; McCain, showing a tie with Clinton, a slight deficit with Obama.

The Pew Research polling was done before the Republican debate last week. But Kohut told me that he doubted the results would have been very different if the polling had been done later.

This is Daniel Shorr.

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