The Kiss of Death

Over at Slate ’s polling haven, ” Election Scorecard ,” we’ve been poring over a new poll from PPP (PDF) that suggests an Edwards endorsement would actually hurt Hillary’s chances to win the state. A jarring 31 percent of North Carolina voters would be less likely to support Hillary if Edwards endorsed her. About one-third as many people (12 percent) say they would be more likely to vote for her after an Edwards endorsement. The poll didn’t provide any numbers speculating what an Edwards endorsement would mean for Barack Obama.

These are really stunning numbers for a reasonably liked, homegrown senator who had a legitimate shot at becoming president. According to this poll, nearly one-third of North Carolina Democrats and unaffiliated voters dislike Edwards so much that he would taint Clinton’s candidacy. Barely one-tenth of voters like him enough to have it positively affect their opinion.  

The cynic would suggest that Obama voters sabotaged the question by saying an endorsement would hurt Clinton, but the numbers don’t completely follow that logic. After crunching some cross-tabs, we discovered that 35 percent of those Clinton-Edwards sourpusses are currently Clinton supporters. We’ll reiterate: Edwards is so toxic that one-third of Hillary’s Carolinian base would think twice before voting for her. No wonder he and Kerry didn’t win North Carolina in 2004.

We should caution that Edwards isn’t planning on making an endorsement of Clinton or Obama. With polls like these, maybe it should stay that way.