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On the November 27 broadcast of NBC's syndicated The Chris Matthews Show, nearly half of the Matthews Meter -- a group of 12 journalists and commentators host Chris Matthews polls weekly on current political questions -- declared the 2008 presidential election decided, three years before any votes have been cast. Five of the 12 journalists and pundits polled said that if Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) wins the Republican Party nomination, he will "inevitably" win the election, regardless of whom the Democrats nominate. The show did not disclose the identities of those who declared McCain unbeatable.
Matthews posed the following question to his panel of regular guests: "If McCain wins the nomination, will he inevitably win the general election, no matter who the Democrats run against him?" Despite the fact that Matthews found the five "yes" replies "surprising," he did not say, or indicate in the accompanying Meter graphic, which of the 12 members stated that McCain would prove unbeatable in 2008.
Two members of the Meter who voted in the poll -- MSNBC chief White House correspondent Norah O'Donnell and BBC News host Katty Kay -- were also guests on the November 27 broadcast during which Matthews revealed the Meter poll's results. After revealing the results, Matthews initiated a discussion of possible nominees for the 2008 elections with O'Donnell and Kay. He did not indicate which way either voted, and did not ask for their opinion on the poll itself. However, later during the broadcast, Matthews asked his four guests, "Who's the most likely nominee in the Republican Party next time?" Three out of four -- including Kay, Time magazine Washington bureau chief Michael Duffy, and Washington Post columnist Terry M. Neal -- said McCain would be the nominee; O'Donnell picked Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice."
The 12 Matthews Meter members are:
Gloria Borger, CBS News contributor and U.S. News & World Report contributing editor
Campbell Brown, NBC News correspondent
Tucker Carlson, MSNBC host
Sam Donaldson, former ABC News anchor
Howard Fineman, Newsweek chief political correspondent
Paul Gigot, Wall Street Journal opinion page editor
David Gregory, NBC News chief White House correspondent
Katty Kay, BBC News host
Joe Klein, Time magazine columnist
Norah O'Donnell, MSNBC chief White House correspondent
Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune columnist
Andrew Sullivan, former editor of The New Republic and commentator
From the November 27 broadcast of NBC's The Chris Matthews Show:
MATTHEWS: Welcome back. The great male hope: John McCain wants to be president in 2008. Will it happen? Let's go to the Matthews Meter. Again we asked 12 of our regulars: If McCain wins the nomination, will he inevitably win the general election, no matter who the Democrats run against him? Seven say no, he's beatable. But a surprising five of our regulars say no matter who he opposes in the general election, McCain wins the White House. Question: but can he get the nomination?
MATTHEWS: Who's the most likely nominee in the Republican Party next time?
O'DONNELL: Condi Rice.