The Colbert Generation?

By Chris Suellentrop

Stephen Colbert pulls down 13 percent of the vote in a national telephone poll, conducted by Rassmussen Reports, that pits him as a third-party candidate in a three-way November election with Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani. Joshua Micah Marshall of Talking Points Memo is more intrigued, however, by the detail that, among voters between the ages of 18 and 29, Colbert receives more support than Giuliani (or than Fred Thompson, when Thompson is cast as the Republican nominee). “There’s something appropriate in this,” Marshall writes. “Americans in their twenties would prefer a normal person pretending to be a Republican buffoon than the real thing.”
Shameless plug: the topic of Colbert’s campaign is being discussed over at The Board, The Times’s Editorial Board blog.

Letter to the Editor

I’m happy to see that Stephan Colbert is running for president. The regular Republicans are impossibly impaired and I’m worried that Hillary Clinton may not be able to attract enough independent voters to get elected. I realize that Colbert is not very smart, and that his policies are largely unfair to poor and middle class citizens. But at least he’s not warlike, and he’s not insane or reality-averse. So a Colbert win will take the U.S. in better direction than we’re headed now. I’m serious. A Colbert win would improve the U.S. — militarily, economically and socially. — Posted by Ned from Wisconsin

Full Story

Comedian Colbert reaches double digits as Third-Party candidate

Comedian Stephen Colbert is not a threat to win the presidency, but the odds are that that his satire will win plenty of laughs and maybe even some votes.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that Colbert is preferred by 13% of voters as an independent candidate challenging Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Rudy Giuliani. The survey was conducted shortly after Colbert’s surprise announcement that he is lusting for the Oval Office.

The result is similar when Fred Thompson is the Republican in the three-way race. With Thompson as the GOP candidate, Colbert earns 12% of the vote.

Last week Colbert used his Comedy Central show "The Colbert Report" to announce that he is running for President as both a Republican and a Democrat, but only in the state of South Carolina. He first informed fellow jokester Jon Stewart on Stewart's program that so far he had only "decided to officially consider whether or not I will announce"—a habitual formulation of both politicians and comedians pretending to be politicians. Fifteen minutes later, however, Colbert was telling viewers of his own show: "After nearly 15 minutes of soul-searching, I have heard the call."

Colbert does particularly well with the younger voters most likely to be watching his show and therefore most aware of his myriad presidential-like qualities. In the match-up with Giuliani and Clinton, Colbert draws 28% of likely voters aged 18-29. He draws 31% of that cohort when his foes are Thompson and Clinton.

In both match-ups, Colbert has more support with young voters than the GOP candidate.

"These are my people," Colbert didn't say when he wasn't asked about the high support from young voters discovered by Rasmussen Reports. "They know who I am and what I'm about, and so forth. Is this thing working, are we on the air? Oh, it's the Internet? Well why didn't you say the Internet?"

An earlier survey found that only 8% of Americans say they would definitely vote for comedian Jon Stewart if he was on the ballot in 2008. Just 38% say they would definitely vote against Stewart. It may be worth noting that the comedian outperformed Katie Couric on this point—62% of American voters would definitely vote against the CBS news anchor.

For what it’s worth, the overall numbers show Hillary Clinton at 45%, Rudy Giuliani at 35%, and Colbert at 13%.

The other match-up shows Clinton at 46%, Thompson at 34% and Colbert at 12%.

Rasmussen Reports releases a daily Presidential Tracking Poll along with weekly analysis on the races for the Democratic and Republican Presidential nominations. General election match-ups and other key stats are also available for all Republican and Democratic candidates.

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Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, has been an independent pollster for more than a decade.

This national telephone survey of 1,200 Likely Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports October 19-21, 2007. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 2.9 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.