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Don't expect a real woman president in 2008

Poll respondents say women, minority candidates likely to wait until 2012
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Despite the success of new TV drama “Commander in Chief,” don't expect a real-life woman president anytime soon, according to an audience poll.

Zogby International, the national polling company, teamed up with to ask our audience questions about politics and entertainment. More than 12,000 readers took the poll, which asked questions ranging from political bias in Hollywood to whether or not privilege is the key to being elected to public office.

“Commander in Chief,” which stars Geena Davis as the first woman president, has been a consistent ratings winner this season for ABC. However, when asked if a woman would be elected president in 2008, 61.3 percent of the survey respondents declared it was not likely (29.7 percent said it was slightly likely). Respondents were more optimistic about the future, though. Fifty-two percent said it was slightly likely that a woman would be elected in the 2012 election, with 17 percent saying they thought it was highly likely.

When asked who would win if Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice ran against Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton for the nation's highest office, the Democratic former First Lady got the nod by 53.5 percent, to 31.8 percent for Rice.

Respondents had similar thoughts about the chances of a minority politician occupying the Oval Office. Almost 65 percent said it was unlikely a minority candidate would be elected in 2008, but 54 percent thought it was slightly likely and 15 percent thought it highly likely in 2012. Forty-three percent believe an African-American will be the first minority president, while 42 percent believe a Hispanic-American will be the first.

Hollywood — and its perceived biases — also were singled out in the poll. When asked if Hollywood followed social trends or set them, 41.6 percent thought the entertainment industry followed them, while 33.5 percent thought the industry blazed the trail.

Sixty-five percent believe Hollywood has a liberal political bias, while just 4 percent thought it skewed toward conservative points-of-view. Twenty-four percent said they didn't believe there was any political bias.

Fifty-five percent of respondents believe Hollywood uses TV shows to influence the national political debate, while 32 percent disagree.

When asked if they thought Hollywood figures such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura entering politics was a good trend, 46 percent said it wasn't significant but 38 percent thought it was a bad trend. Regardless of whether or not politicians are movie stars, 83 percent believe elected office has now become the purview of the wealthy and privileged and only 12 percent believe average citizens have an equal chance of being elected in this era of high-priced campaigns.

A majority of those surveyed, 81 percent, believe elected officials are have lost touch with the day-to-day concerns of average Americans and 71 percent believe politicians are more interested in advancing their own careers than solving problems.

Most respondents believe Democrats would do a better job than Republicans of dealing with the national economy (51.8 percent), improving education (61.7 percent) and protecting the environment (75.9 percent).

Neither party fared well on the war on terror. Thirty-eight percent think the Democrats would do a better job while just 35 percent believe the Republican party is doing a good job on issues of terrorism. Neither party fared well on controlling government spending.

The respondents to our survey was fairly evenly split between men and women (51.3 percent women to 47.7 percent men) and along political lines (34.6 percent Democrat, 34.6 percent Republican, 21.2 percent independent).