A friend sent me this site, of which I was not previously aware. There is some good news here, but more along the lines of encouragement than anything else. This far out from the election, surveys of this nature are more about name recognition than actual candidate preference. But the ability to index specific candidates against one another is quite useful. It’s particularly useful to weed out the kinds of people who have a profile from those who don’t and the kinds of people who are thought of as Presidential material and those who are not.
For the Democrats, the choices seem to be John Kerry, John Edwards, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Al Gore, with Mark Warner as an also-ran. For the Republicans, the choices are Rudy Giuliani and John McCain, with also-rans including Mitt Romney, Condoleezza Rice, and Newt Gingrich. More or less absent from the list of viable candidates include Wesley Clark, George Allen, Bill Richardson, Bill Frist, and Tom Vilsack. McCain and Giuliani both look to be head and shoulders above the rest of the field.
It’s easy to put too much weight on stuff like this — simple name recognition is enough to top out polls like this. As the actual election starts to come closer in time, the public will learn more about the various candidates and the numbers will start to change. But all the same, it’s a heads-up for the upcoming campaign.