From holiday distractions to winter weather, the people who will be measuring voters' preferences in primaries and caucuses around the nation will be dealing with unprecedented problems. Here's how they plan to do it.
Earlier Republican Party gains among Latinos have dissipated in the past year, a new Pew Hispanic Center survey finds. Hispanics also comprise a sizable share of voters in four "swing states" that President Bush narrowly carried in 2004.
Likely Republican voters in the three politically disparate early primary states express less enthusiasm about their field of presidential candidates, and many voice only modest support for their choices.
Democrats enter the presidential primary campaign upbeat about their candidates and united in their views on major issues. Sen. Hillary Clinton is the Democratic frontrunner in three key early primary states, holding a slim five-point edge in Iowa and more substantial 19-point and 14-point leads in New Hampshire and South Carolina, respectively.
A year before the 2008 presidential election, most major national opinion trends decidedly favor the Democrats and discontent with the state of the nation is markedly greater than it was four years ago. Also, Republicans have become less likely to say that their party is doing a good job standing up for its traditional positions.
Sen. Hillary Clinton is by far the most popular presidential candidate among her own party's voters, but among the general public, she has one of the lowest favorable ratings of the leading candidates. In sharp contrast, the front-running Republican candidate, Rudy Giuliani, evokes relatively modest enthusiasm from the GOP base, but is as broadly popular with all voters as any candidate in either party.
An analysis of national exit polls from 2004 shows there is not one but two religion gaps -- one based on religious affiliation and the other based on frequency of attendance at worship services. How did the gaps manifest themselves in the 2004 election and what are the possible implications for 2008?
All three branches of the federal government are under fire from the American public. Just 29% approve of President Bush's job performance while the proportion with a favorable view of Congress has declined 12 percentage points since January. Even favorable opinions of the U.S. Supreme Court have fallen, from 72% in January to 57% currently.
In his first column for Stateline.org, journalist Louis Jacobson samples the presidential leanings of the 19 "purple" states that are neither Republican "red" nor Democratic "blue." Despite consistent Democratic leads in national polling, election 2008 appears to be just as close as were the 2000 and 2004 elections for the White House.
Who's most inspiring? Who's most electable? Find out how liberals and conservatives, war supporters and opponents and other segments of the electorate rate the presidential candidates. Also, a solid majority of the public favors troop withdrawal, but both sides reject compromise over Iraq funding.