Sorry, Bernie Sanders, Ralph Nader, and any other perpetually pissed-off progressive who longs for a take-no-prisoners liberal to challenge President Obama for the party’s presidential nomination next year. It’s not going to happen. It’s not just that attempts to oust the party’s incumbent are nearly impossible. It’s not even that President Obama will have a war chest that will look something like Scrooge McDuck’s vault.
Mainly, it’s that Democratic voters are just not interested. According to a new Pew poll (PDF), only 32 percent of Democrats and Democratically aligned independents “would like to see” another Democrat challenge Obama. Even after a pretty awful year, that’s down from 38 percent in November 2010. And while 32 percent is nothing to sneeze at — Why would you even sneeze at a number to begin with? That doesn’t even make sense. — it’s a vast improvement over Bill Clinton’s intra-party support at a similar point in his first term, when 66 percent of Democrats/Democratically inclined independents backed a primary challenge. Clinton, of course, went on to demolish Bob Dole in 1996, with the help of 84 percent of Democratic voters.