Tuesday, December 04, 2007

So what about the Dems?

So as I went into yesterday, the Republican race in Iowa looks to be between Huckabee and Romney and largely dependent on the strength of their field efforts. Just to put myself on the record, I've always believed that Romney would be the GOP nominee and I'm not changing that opinion. I also can't imagine him winning the primaries without a win in Iowa (a loss opens up the field in NH), so my money is on Willard Mitt Romney.

The Democratic side is even more intriguing. You have the same issue of deadlocked polling (the top 3 candidates are within 10 points in most major polls) along with the more complicated (and potentially surprising) caucus method that the Democrats employ.

While a lot of people want to paint this as a race between Hillary and Obama, that's ignoring how resonant Edwards' populist positions are, especially in Iowa. It also ignores the fact that Edwards has been building relationships in Iowa non-stop since 2004 and that he has the support of the majority of unions in the midwest. Plus, the relationships Edwards has cultivated has been among caucus goers specifically, raising his odds. Obama is reliant on bringing new people into the process (which I wouldn't bet against his doing) and Hillary is reliant on getting seniors to the polls. There are a lot of ifs for Hillary and Obama, Edwards is dealing with more of a known quantity as far potential caucusers go.

Then comes the complication, as I mentioned on Sunday, any candidate who fails to garner 15% of supporters in any given caucus releases his caucusers to his/her second choice. Will the Richardson/Dodd/Biden (R/D/B) supporters go to Obama, Hillary or Edwards?

The fact that they support people with experience has led Hillary to begin courting these caucusers, trying to become their second choice. She did this explicitly yesterday when she mentioned R/D/B and herself together in a sentence to juxtapose their experience against Obama. I also would not at all be surprised for Richardson to tell his supporters to make Hillary their second choice. (Want to guess why I no longer support Richardson? Playing footsie with Hillary does not go far in my book)

However, these supporters of R/D/B all have made a conscious decision not to get on the Hillary bandwagon. Although the experience claim does appear strong, Biden and Dodd seem to represent an embrace of internationalism that Obama would wholly embody. That said, Edwards' populism does not seem to have the potential to move these voters to his column.

So my point? I have none, except: don't count out Edwards. But I have no clue who is going to win.


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