Opening day for worthless presidential polls

Our four-month break from full-time presidential campaigns has apparently ended with today’s release of 2016 presidential poll showing Hillary Clinton crushing her opposition.

The Quinnipiac poll (available in full here) shows Mrs. Clinton besting New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in a general election. Christie, however, would beat Joe Biden.

“Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would start a 2016 presidential campaign with enormous advantages,” Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, tells Swampland. “She obviously is by far the best known and her more than 20 years in the public spotlight allows her to create a very favorable impression on the American people. But it is worth noting that she had very good poll numbers in 2006 looking toward the 2008 election, before she faced a relative unknown in Barack Obama.”

Yes, she did. Which means, what, exactly?

Let’s hit the Wayback Machine and set it for 8 years ago this month, more than three years before the last election for an open presidential seat.

It was a Marist College poll of Democratic presidential contenders:

Hillary Clinton 39%

John Kerry 21%

John Edwards 15%

Joe Biden 5%

Wesley Clark 4%

Russ Feingold 2%

Bill Richardson 2%

Evan Bayh 1%

Mark Warner 1%

Who’s missing from the list? The guy that got elected president.

Here’s the Republican poll:

Rudy Giuliani 25%

John McCain 21%

Condoleezza Rice 14%

Jeb Bush 7%

Newt Gingrich 5%

Bill Frist 3%

Rick Santorum 1%

George Pataki 1%

Mitt Romney 1%

Bill Owens 2%

Giuliani, as fate would have it, was one of the biggest busts of the presidential campaign.

Head to head, the poll said, John McCain would beat Mrs. Clinton rather handily, and so would Rudy Giuliani.

  • bsimon

    Of course the poll is useless as a predictive tool. It is somewhat useful as a reference point. If nothing else, as an amusing cite for a story like this one in 2017.

  • Shannon

    “Mrs. Clinton”? Twice? No Mr. Christie for “New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie” – but Mrs. Clinton for former Secretary of State, Former Senator, Former First Lady Hillary Clinton?

    I know it may seem a small point to focus on, but it’s small things like that which speak to a broader gender gap in political reporting.