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Last Updated: Sunday, 3 February 2008, 14:17 GMT
Fritz Wenzel interview transcript...
On the Politics Show, Sunday 03 February 2008, Jon Sopel interviewed Fritz Wenzel, Polling Analyst for Zogby International.

As a pollster, I can't really stick my neck out. But the odds are favouring Hillary Clinton and John McCain
Fritz Wenzel

Interview transcript

JON SOPEL: Well, so much for the policies, what about the numbers. With me live now is Fritz Wenzel from the US Pollsters Zogby International. Thanks very much for getting up so early on a Sunday morning to join us. Fascinating race ahead of us. Let's consider the Republicans first. Mitt Romney versus John McCain. You've got new numbers out this morning.

FRITZ WENZEL: New numbers out this morning show that we should be looking at the other end of the country, California is really where all the action is. We have got Mitt Romney up by three points there. If he can win California, it's winner take all. A hundred and seventy some odd delegates out there.

That's a lot and if he can win out there, he can stay in the ball game. If he cannot, if Schwarzenegger and Giuliani campaigning for McCain can keep McCain in and get him over the top, McCain essentially has the ball game.

JON SOPEL: So you would favour McCain at this moment to say, come Tuesday, Super Tuesday, he is likely to be the Republican candidate.

FRITZ WENZEL: He's more likely than Romney to be able to capture it. Nobody else really matters on the Republican side at this point. If Romney can hold on in California, then he could take this another month or so and perhaps further.

JON SOPEL: Because the interesting thing about Romney is that - we've spoke about what a multi millionaire he is. Maybe money doesn't always buy you victory.

FRITZ WENZEL: Well it doesn't and this time it's been difficult because he has really angered a lot of Republicans in the race by running negative adds early and now, just when Mike Huckabee, this third candidate should be out of the race, he's staying in to drain off just enough conservative support to hurt Romney. Meanwhile McCain has a clear run down the moderate end of the party.

JON SOPEL: Right. So let's go to the Democrats now because are we going to know on Tuesday, who the Democrat candidate is going to be.

FRITZ WENZEL: Absolutely not. It's much closer there because Democrats in America don't go state by state, they go congressional district by congressional district, much smaller, much more difficult to get a majority and much more difficult to get he nomination. So we are definitely going to go at least another month.

JON SOPEL: Right and then that requires huge amounts of spending. Is there anything to separate Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton at the moment. Do you look to the big States or the small States or is it more complicated than that.

FRITZ WENZEL: No, it's more complicated than that but you really, I think need to look at California, it's going to be an important race. Barack Obama leading this morning out there. If he can coddle together African American voters and a good collection of white voters, he's going to be okay. He's having trouble winning Hispanic support right now.

JON SOPEL: Right. And is that a big issue for him.

FRITZ WENZEL: It's a big issue in the South West, not so much of an issue in the Mid West or the East.

JON SOPEL: Okay, so what you're saying is it's going to be a pretty good month or two months for pollsters.

FRITZ WENZEL: It really is; it's going to be very good. We're having a very good year so far.

JON SOPEL: Right. Okay. That's very interesting and if you were to stick your neck out and say, who is this race going to be between come November.

FRITZ WENZEL: Well, as a pollster, I can't really stick my neck out. But the odds are favouring Hillary Clinton and John McCain.

JON SOPEL: Okay, Fritz Wenzel, thank you very much indeed for joining us.


Please note BBC Politics Show must be credited if any part of these transcripts are used.

NB:These transcripts were typed from a recording and not copied from original scripts.

Because of the possibility of mis-hearing and the difficulty, in some cases, of identifying individual speakers, the BBC cannot vouch for their accuracy.

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The Politics Show Sunday 03 February 2008 at 12:00 GMT on BBC One.
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