So, the first basic question is: Will Al Gore enter the race? Everyone points to a two-week window. The Nobel Peace Prize will be announced October 12, a filing dates for the early primary states are rapidly approaching, so if he is going to jump, it will be within the next three weeks, and perhaps at the announcement ceremony itself, or immediately thereafter. The second question is: Would it make a difference?
Frank Newport at Gallup points to numbers that it wouldn’t matter. Here are the numbers with Gore in:
Hillary Clinton 40%
Barack Obama 21%
Al Gore 15%
John Edwards 9%
With Gore out, the standings are:
Hillary Clinton 47%
Barack Obama 25%
John Edwards 11%
As we and others have blogged about, these aren’t necessarily the numbers that matter though. National poll numbers aren’t terribly predictive because of the huge impact Iowa and NH, and now perhaps SC and NV, have on subsequent voter sentiment. However, there are no “lead indicators” to suggest that the state poll numbers are different from the national poll numbers in Gore’s case. On the rare instances he has been included, he has a hard time getting out of double digits in IA, and is more or less tied with Richardson in NH. At the same time, we see little buzz on Gore in Wonkosphere, with perhaps the exception of a few ardent fans at Daily Kos. Of course, this is pre-campaign, and one would assume that a Gore campaign could “move the stick”. And a Nobel Peace Prize wouldn’t hurt. On the other hand, Bill Richardson has been nominated for the same award 4 times and it doesn’t seem to have scored many extra points for him.