A presidential election poll suggesting Democratic voters would prefer former vice-president Al Gore to any of the declared contenders, including frontrunner Hillary Clinton...
The poll, conducted in New Hampshire by 7News and Suffolk University, confirmed Ms Clinton's nationwide double-digit lead over her main rival, Illinois senator Barack Obama. The former first lady and New York senator attracted 37% support, against Mr Obama's 19%. John Edwards, a former North Carolina senator, was on 9%.
But if Mr Gore were to seek the Democratic nomination, 29% of Ms Clinton's backers would switch their support to him, the poll found. When defections from other candidates are factored in, the man who controversially lost to Mr Bush in the 2000 election takes command of the field, with 32% support.
Clinton, the clear frontrunner, would see her support evaporate with a Gore entrance. This suggests many things, not the least of which is complete voter apathy. If Clinton's support is so soft, it doesn't say much about Obama that he lags so far behind, seemingly unable to capitalize.
Gore has already outpaced his rivals in recent Florida and Pennsylvania polls, despite the fact he isn't a candidate. The fact that he could parachute in to New Hampshire and immediately take center stage has to make a possible run all the more attractive. New Hampshire, moreso than Iowa, is ground zero for presidential hopefuls, which makes these poll results all the more relevant.
Conventional wisdom suggests Gore is already too far behind in fundraising and organization to make a late bid successful. With the new front loaded primary calendar, a candidate needs a well oiled machine to survive. However, momentum will play an even bigger role this season, which could well supercede traditional organization. On that score, a Gore entrance has the capacity to become an instant power:
While Gore has not been raising funds for a presidential bid, others have been raising money for him. An all-volunteer group boasting tens of thousands of activists is waging a grass-roots campaign to raise money online for him at sites like AlGore.org. There, the senior counselor for Gore's 2000 campaign, David Moorehouse, is quoted saying, "Gore can wait longer than other candidates, because he can raise money on the Internet. ... Should he decide to run, he can raise $15 million in two days."
Whether or not you believe Gore could be successful, one has to admit that he is starting to cast a very long shadow over the entire Democratic field.