A January 18 Wall Street Journal editorial focusing on potential Democratic candidates for president in 2008 suggested that there are not "a lot of Democrats who feel passionately about" Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY). The editorial cited no data, and recent polls do not support the Journal's conclusion.
The Journal editorial stated:
If we were betting on a wild card challenger, we'd look instead to Al Gore. The former Vice President has been coy about his intentions. But he might be getting a ton of free publicity for his global warming "documentary" come Oscar time, and there's little doubt he could raise money if he got in. Unlike Mrs. Clinton, there are a lot of Democrats who feel passionately about him and his near-win in 2000.
A November 13-19, 2006, Quinnipiac University poll asked respondents to "rate the warmth of their feelings" toward "some of our political leaders" from 0-100 "using something called a feeling thermometer." The question told respondents that "[t]he higher the number, the warmer or more favorable you feel toward that person." Clinton's "Mean Rating" for this particular question was 49.0 while Gore's was 44.9. But among Democrats, 40 percent rated Clinton in the range of 81-100 of the "feeling thermometer," and 32 percent rated her in the 61-80 range. Twenty-seven percent of Democrats put Gore in the 81-100 range while 32 percent rated him between 61-80.
The Journal's own poll conducted December 8-11 with NBC News found that when asked to rate "feelings" toward a particular public figure, 21 percent of those polled had "very positive" feelings toward Clinton, while 22 percent said "somewhat positive." While this particular poll did not ask about Gore, a June 9-12, 2006, NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll did ask respondents to gauge their feelings toward Gore. Ten percent had "very positive" feelings, and 20 percent said "somewhat positive." Both Clinton and Gore had similar "very negative" feeling results, 26 percent and 25 percent, respectively. While the polls were conducted six months apart, they offer recent data that comes closest to measuring the public's "passion" for the candidates. Given the dearth of other more relevant data, the Journal editorial's assertion is, at best, baseless.