Some fun-filled data to examine since we’re sitting here in 2013 discussing an election that doesn’t happen until 2016. What about those of us who were doing the same thing in 2005 about an election that wasn’t happening until 2008?


Here is some of the ancient polling data to look at from August of 2005:

An August 2005 CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll (MoE ± 5) showed that Rudy Giuliani (27%) , John McCain (24%) and Condoleezza Rice (19%) had the most support among nine Republican candidates [Virginia Senator George Allen, Kansas Senator Sam Brownback, Tennessee Senator Bill Frist, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, Arizona Senator John McCain, New York Governor George Pataki, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney].

The top three Democratic candidates were Hillary Rodham Clinton (40%) , John Kerry (16%) and John Edwards (15%) ; there were eight candidates in the survey (Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, Delaware Senator Joe Biden, retired general Wesley Clark, New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, former North Carolina senator John Edwards, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, Virginia Governor Mark Warner). A June FOX poll had similar result for the Democratic nominees.

A July 2005 Gallup poll matched Democrat Hillary Clinton against Republican John McCain. With a ME +/- 4%, this survey showed 50% leaning towards McCain and 45% leaning towards Clinton.

In 2005, Giuliani or McCain were seen as front-runners for the GOP. That is actually reasonably close to reality since McCain, of course, went on to be the GOP nominee in 2008.

On the Democratic side, look at the 40% support Hillary Clinton was drawing in 2005 prior to the 2008 election. Funnier still is that Barack Obama isn’t even in the list of potential candidates Gallup was offering in their poll question.

More interesting is the last question listed which showed a hypothetical Clinton/McCain match-up where McCain wins 50% of the vote to Clinton’s 45%. Could there have been a President McCain if Hillary Clinton was the nominee in 2008 instead of Barack Obama?

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Nate Ashworth is the Founder and Senior Editor of Election Central. He's been blogging elections and politics for almost a decade. He started covering the 2008 Presidential Election which turned into a full-time political blog in 2012 and 2016.

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