One of the things that’s perplexed me during this early election season is how well Al Gore holds onto support in the polls and on the Web without even trying. He has said repeatedly that he has no plans of running. And seeing how far along other campaigns have come in the time, it’s difficult to see him entering the race.
I suppose that one thing that keeps Gore supporters clinging to hope that their chosen candidate will actually become a candidate is that he hasn’t outright said that he will never run. He has just dismissed it as unlikely at every chance the media gets to ask him. And here is another example.
This AP article won’t get much attention because most of the content is predictable. Gore says that while he isn’t ruling out a run, it doesn’t feel right. In a time where Fred Thompson looks to have an uphill battle because he announced now after running a “testing the waters” campaign for three months, a candidate, even one with name recognition, who hasn’t even started a committee would have a terrible task in front of them.
Of course, the title of the article speaks to Gore’s likely endorsement of one of the candidates going into the primaries. In 2004, he endorsed Howard Dean, whose candidacy stalled at the primaries.
However, I think that this year, a Gore endorsement could have a big impact on this election. This year there is a candidate who has been running on a platform of poll leading and inevitability. A Gore endorsement of anyone but Hillary Clinton would give that candidate a tremendous boost at the polls.
In fact, at this point, it seems that such an endorsement would be necessary for a candidate like Dodd or Biden to become competitive. An endorsement of either Barack Obama or John Edwards would very likely give that candidate a significant poll jump while draining Clinton’s support.
What if he supports Clinton? Well, that will likely solidify her position as the front-runner in the eyes of the media, but it is worth note that many Gore supporters consider Clinton to be their second choice, likely a result of a nostalgia for the Clinton years that seems to be heavily influencing the decision-making of many Democrats.
In the end, this is a waiting game. Though it is unlikely that Gore will run, his supporters haven’t given up yet, and as he creates an external appearance of neutrality towards the Democratic candidates, it is difficult to discern which way he will sway, but when he does decide to give up that facade, we could see a changed Presidential race.