Iraq and the Presidential Hopefuls:

A new Gallup Poll finds that the five “best-known” 2008 Presidential contenders score similarly with the public as far as their ability to handle the war in Iraq. And, two relative unknowns—hard to say about actor/Senator/actor Fred Thompson—are about 10 points behind the others. The survey found that the two who garner most public confidence on this question are Republicans Rudy Giuliani and John McCain at 55 percent each, but Democrats Barak Obama (54 percent), Hillary Clinton (51 percent), and John Edwards (50 percent) are close. As Gallup notes, it’s surprising that the Republicans scored so highly on this question since the pre-dominant mood in the country is that the Republican Administration-initiated war is a mistake. On a similar question about their confidence in the candidates’ ability to handle the war against terrorism in general, Americans put Giuliani slightly ahead of McCain and Clinton passed Obama.