This dispatch is from a friend who is in Iowa. Like me, this person supports Sen. John Edwards, but the behind-the-scenes view benefits anyone who’s interested in the race for ’08. (Emphasis mine throughout.)
I am here in Iowa and the new Des Moines Register poll came out:
But –VERY fluid — over half said they are still willing to change their mind
The fav/unfav shows trouble for Clinton — but good news for Edwards:
Clinton — 68 fav, 30 unfav
Obama — 84 fav, 14 unfav
Edwards – 86 fav, 13 unfav
The papers have been covering another angle here — Obama’s strongest support comes from younger, college age supporters. Because of the earlier date of the caucus, the colleges are still closed for the holiday and the dorms are closed. Obama sent a flier to 50k college age kids — urging them to register here (even if from somewhere else) and find somewhere to stay. So a big question — will the Obama supporters show up, or will they be absent like the Dean supporters ? In 2004 only 17% were under 29.
In fact, last night at the forum, some were saying this Des Moines Register poll could not reflect an up tick for Obama — but an over sample of youth. Their last poll (October) had only 9% in under 35 age group, while this one has 14%
But Obama is cutting in to the Clinton women vote — and Oprah comes to town this week.
So in Iowa — it is still anyone’s race, but Obama has some momentum, Hillary is falling and Edwards is holding steady.
This tracks with what I’ve heard elsewhere. Edwards, discounted by many to second tier status with the likes of Gov. Bill Richardson, is often polled in 3rd place. But it’s a strong 3rd place!
Edwards highlights: he is holding steady though being outspent HUGELY on the airwaves. Clinton and Obama are up and up big. It is odd seeing so many political commercials in December. Edwards also has a lead in previous caucus goers — so turn out is key. January 3rd, kids home and not on the campus, Orange bowl, — all a recipe for party faithful — and that is Edward’s strong suit. Also, almost half of caucus goers traditionally have been in rural areas, and there Obama is running solid third
Saw Edwards a 3 events yesterday: Every child matters forum, Heartland forum , and Black/Brown forum — then later a t dinner. He is connecting to folks. WE will see if it is enough. If I had to predict — I would say Hillary finishes third unless she stops the bleeding.
But — Bill has been in town and was at the forum — so it is anybody’s game.
Edwards has an ace in the hole- or several aces- that give him a change to win Iowa, or at least beat expectations. His supporters are reliable caucus-goers. He’s also loved by party faithful. (At my last 36th District Democrats meeting, Edwards got lots of love from the Ballard liberals and former Deaniacs.)
Also, Edwards has the same advantage he did in 2004 in Iowa. The caucus system rewards candidates who are a good “second choice.” If Obama isn’t viable in a precinct, I don’t think they’ll flock to Clinton, who’s bashing the shit out of Obama right now all over the local media. Clinton supporters will be in a similar situation. I wonder where Richardson’s supporters will go if their candidate isn’t viable. In ’04, Kucinich pissed off loads of Dean supporters when he threw his supporters behind Edwards. Could such a thing happen again, but to a different candidate this time? John Edwards could pick up a lot of votes as the result of being the “second choice.”
“Fluidity” is the word of the day in Iowa. Last time, in ’04, four candidates were within a few points, but on caucus day the participants chose Kerry and Edwards and ditched Dean and Gephardt. Caucus-goers can flips the CW on it’s ear at anytime.