The first poll pitting GOP fantasy candidate Fred Thompson against the Democrats is out, and Hillary comes out looking awful:
The first Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey involving Thompson shows the former Senator from Tennessee essentially tied with the Democratic frontrunner, Senator Hillary Clinton. It's Thompson 44% Clinton 43%.
However, Thompson trails another leading Democrat, Illinois Senator Barack Obama by twelve percentage points, 49% to 37%. When matched against Thompson, Obama outperforms Clinton among men, women, white voters, and unaffiliated voters. He even attracts more crossover support from the GOP.
Poor Mitt Romney, whose best showing in this poll had him losing to Hillary by 9 points and Obama by 15. Poor Democrats, who seem more than willing to toss aside their most popular candidate in a generation or so for Bill Clinton's cosmically unlikeable wife.
If there are larger lessons to be drawn from Thompson's poll numbers, they are:
1) Voters are already ready to consider more candidates for president, and reporters are ready to cover them. For all the mockery given to Unity08 or the Chuck Hagel/Michael Bloomberg third party talk, the campaign season is so long that voters could be interested in those late entries. They are also incredibly uninterested in what people stand for. (Pardoning Libby is politically unpopular, but Thompson is on the Libby Defense Fund board.)
2) Sam Waterston could run on the Unity08 ticket his damn self and probably win.