Voters are pleased they will not be experiencing déjà vu during the 2004 presidential campaign, but there are some who expect to see former Vice President Al Gore run again down the road.
On December 15, Al Gore formally announced that he would not be running for president in 2004, surprising many even within his own party. His departure from the race ensures the country will not be re-living the almost never ending 2000 election, and that makes over half of the country's registered voters happy.
In the latest FOX News poll, conducted by Opinion Dynamics Corporation, fewer than 2 in 10 voters say they are unhappy that there will not be a rematch between George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore, while 54 percent say they are happy. Republicans are the happiest (67 percent), but Democrats and independents are also pleased there will be no repeat performance (45 percent and 54 percent respectively).
Women were more likely to vote for Gore than Bush in 2000 (by 11 points), but even so they are happier than men that there will be a fresh start in the next presidential campaign (59 percent to 49 percent).
Just over one-third think Gore may sit out the 2004 race, and then try again in 2008 when he wouldn't have to run against a sitting president. Four in 10 think he won't run in 2008, and 25 percent are unsure.
In a FOX News poll prior to Gore's announcement, Bush easily topped the former vice president in a head-to-head match up. In that late November survey, almost twice as many voters said they would back Bush over Gore (54 percent to 28 percent).
If not Gore, who will be the Democratic candidate? At this stage, Democrats are divided, but give a slight edge to New York Senator Hillary Clinton (21 percent), followed closely by Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman (18 percent) and Massachusetts Senator John Kerry (16 percent). Other possible contenders each receive less than 10 percent, with 20 percent of Democrats unsure who they would like to see their party nominate.
"Since Senator Clinton has said repeatedly that she's not running, these numbers represent good news for John Kerry," comments Opinion Dynamics President John Gorman. "Joe Lieberman has already run a national campaign while Kerry is still a relative unknown. The fact that Kerry is within two points at this stage is a very strong showing for him."
Looking back at the 2002 midterm elections, many voters say they are happy with the outcome and a plurality thinks Republican control of both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue will be good for the country.
An early December FOX News/Opinion Dynamics poll shows that a majority is happy (28 percent "very" and 35 percent "somewhat") with the way the 2002 elections turned out. Republicans could be described as ecstatic, with fully 86 percent saying they are happy with the results. Somewhat surprisingly, 40 percent of Democrats say they are happy (9 percent "very" and 31 percent "somewhat").
The election results mean that in January, the Republican Party will control not only the White House, but also both houses of Congress. More Americans think this will be good for the country than not. Forty-four percent think this outcome will be good for the country, 33 percent think it will be bad for the country and 15 percent think it's "too soon to tell."
Polling was conducted by telephone December 17-18, 2002 in the evenings. The sample is 900 registered voters nationwide with a margin of error of ± 3 percentage points. Results are of registered voters, unless otherwise noted. LV = likely voters
I'm going to read the names of some people. Please tell me whether you have a generally favorable or unfavorable opinion of each. If you've never heard of one, please just say so. (RANDOMIZE)
SCALE: 1. Favorable 2. Unfavorable 3. (Not sure) 4. Never heard of
1. George W. Bush
2. Trent Lott
3. Joe Lieberman
4. Tom Daschle
5. Laura Bush
6. Hillary Clinton
7. Do you approve or disapprove of the job George W. Bush is doing as president?
8. Former Vice President Al Gore has announced he will not run again for president in 2004. Are you happy or unhappy that there will not be a Bush-versus-Gore rematch in the 2004 presidential election?
9. Some people have suggested that Al Gore’s decision not to run in 2004 was based on the belief that he would have a better chance of winning in 2008, when he wouldn’t have to run against a sitting president. Do you think Gore will run in 2008?
10. Which of the following potential candidates would you most like to see the Democrats nominate for president in 2004? (randomize)
Summary -- Among 344 Self-Described Democrats
New York Senator Hillary Clinton
Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman
Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle
Missouri Congressman Dick Gephardt
Massachusetts Senator John Kerry
North Carolina Senator John Edwards
Reverend Al Sharpton
Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean
11. If the election for president of the United States were held today, for whom would you vote if the candidates were: (rotate order)
12. For whom would you vote if the candidates were: (rotate order)
1. Republican George W. Bush 2. Democrat Joe Lieberman 3. (Not sure/Other) 4. (Would not vote)
13. For whom would you vote if the candidates were: (rotate order)
1. Republican George W. Bush 2. Democrat Tom Daschle 3. (Not sure/Other) 4. (Would not vote)
The following results are from polling conducted December 3-4, 2002. The sample is 900 registered voters nationwide with a margin of error of ± 3 percentage points.
1. Are you happy or unhappy about the outcome of the 2002 midterm elections? (If happy or unhappy) Is that very or only somewhat?
2. In January, the Republican Party will control the White House and both houses of Congress. Do you think this will be good for the country or bad for the country?
2a. Thinking about the 2004 presidential election, do you think having Republicans in control of both houses of Congress will: