The Frank Luntz focus group data that Matthews promises to email his buddy DeLay can be found over at Hotline. Interesting that Evan Bayh, Bill Richardson, and Mark Warner — three below-the-radar primary contestants seemed to spur the most interest. Time for a fresh face in 2008?
Ex-VA Gov. Mark Warner starts "with a clean slate." His stump speech "as articulated at the National Press Club earlier this year, is about as good as it gets for Democratic primary voters. He started off with almost no support (or name ID) at both Iowa and New Hampshire sessions. But after the sessions, when all the candidates had been heard for ten minutes and all the positives and negatives of each candidate discussed by the participants, Warner had gained more ground than any other opponent. There is something real happening here."
Gov. Bill Richardson's story "is the complete package. The question is, is that enough? His resume, for those who know it, is perfect. He's an outsider with an insider's knowledge. But despite his stellar credentials and easy speaking style, his presentation is seen to be somewhat unfocused, and his greatest challenge is to prove that what he did in the small state of New Mexico can translate to a national stage. He's got a good message and the right platform, but the delivery isn't quite right —yet."
Sen. Evan Byah "is probably the single toughest Democrat to analyze. His impact on primary voters was exactly the opposite of Hillary Clinton's. When she was done, voters either loved her or hated her. After seeing 20 minutes of Evan Bayh, there wasn't much love or hate. It was all ... like. They appreciated his down-to-earth appeal, but they wanted to see more passion. His ideas about tax fairness and reining in Washington's wasteful spending struck a chord — even as they were complaining about his delivery. They appreciated his success as governor and how that qualified him for the presidency, even as they questioned his ability to win the election.
As for Feingold?:
Sen. Russ Feingold "may well become the Howard Dean of 2008. No one knows who he is. No one knows what he's done. Primary voters appreciate his principled positions, but they aren't ready to award him their vote."