“A new national poll should bring more smiles to Hillary Clinton’s campaign and presents more cautions to Mitt Romney’s,” writes the estimable Foon Rhee, deputy national political editor, for the Boston Globe’s Political Intelligence column in a post titled Clinton widens lead, Romney still in fourth

Clinton breaks the symbolic 50 percent barrier for the first time this campaign in the USA Today/Gallup survey published today, and widens her lead among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents over Barack Obama, who has 21 percent support. John Edwards remains in third at 13 percent, and the other Democratic hopefuls are all in single digits.

Interestingly, the poll’s findings also rebut the thinking that Clinton, the former first lady, is the “default” candidate and does not draw passionate support from Democrats. If she is the nominee, 64 percent of Democrats said they would vote for her enthusiastically, 22 percent said they would support her mainly to oppose the Republican nominee, and 10 percent said they would vote for the Republican or stay home.

Those numbers are better than those for Obama; 49 percent of Democrats said they would vote for him enthusiastically, 31 percent said they would back him mainly against the GOP nominee, and 14 percent said they would vote for the Republican or stay home.

For Romney, the poll numbers aren’t as encouraging. While he is leading narrowly in New Hampshire and by a wider margin in Iowa polls, he remains stuck in fourth nationally with 10 percent, trailing Rudy Giuliani with 32 percent, Fred Thompson with 18 percent, and John McCain with 14 percent.

Romney is also in fourth in terms of voter enthusiasm. Only one-fourth of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents said they would enthusiastically for Romney if he were the nominee, while 38 percent said they would support him mostly to oppose the Democratic nominee, and 22 percent said they would either vote for the Democrat or stay home.

By contrast, 51 percent said they would support Giuliani enthusiastically, 27 percent said they would support him mainly to vote against the Democrat, and 15 percent said they would vote for the Democrat or stay home … etc., etc.

Romney sags in the polls despite his massive spending:

Kleefeld: “High Burn Rate Puts Romney Behind Rudy In Cash On Hand”—more evidence of the scarily low ROI Romney gets for his every campaign dollar

Romney sags in the polls despite his ideological cross-dressing:

Rubens on Romney: “Beware Candidates Trying to Purchase a Conservative Label”—NH Republicans “ought to heed the attacks” by other GOPers on Romney “by remembering the the last time a wealthy businessman spent millions of his own money in a campaign to re-define himself as a conservative”

Romney!—Call your office!

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

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