Colbert Reaches Double Digits in '08 Polling

This post, written by Steve Benen, originally appeared on The Carpetbagger Report

Sure, Stephen Colbert is a comedian who has never held elected office. And sure, he's running for president as a fictional, bombastic character. And sure, he said he's limiting his campaign to just one state, in part because the whole "presidential campaign" is just an amusing little stunt for entertainment purposes.

But it's probably worth noting that the Colbert character may actually win 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.
Here's the kicker: In a three-way contest, among voters aged 18-29, Colbert does better than the Republican candidate.

Among all voters, in a three-way race, Rasmussen shows Hillary Clinton leading with 45%, followed by Giuliani at 35%, and Colbert third with 13%. The numbers are nearly identical with Fred Thompson in the mix instead of Giuliani.

To be sure, this is silly. Colbert is a fictional character, and he's not really a candidate. But the poll is actually illuminating anyway. Colbert's support in the Rasmussen data comes almost exclusively from the right, which as Matt Yglesias suggested, is "evidence that an anti-Giuliani spoiler candidate (Tancredo? Paul? Buchanan?) could find an audience," because "there's an evident disaffection with the Republican options."

Either that, or as Eric Kleefeld notes, "conservatives who have watched his show really don't get the joke."

Of course, it's also worth noting that the FEC isn't amused.

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