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Tuesday, May 06, 2003


Leading the Democrat horse race: Undecided (Iowa Poll)

posted by B at Tuesday, May 06, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
A day of polling follows the Democratic debate. Undecideds lead in both Iowa (31%) and in the Franklin poll mentioned below (31%), which I already commented on elsewhere. First, here are the numbers for the Iowa poll:

Gephardt- 25%
Kerry- 13%
Lieberman- 9%
Dean- 6%
Edwards- 4%
Hart- 4%
Braun- 3%
Sharpton- 1%
Graham- 1%

Here's the money quote:

... always look for who is in the top three places among the candidates. Throughout the history of the caucuses, no candidate who has finished worse than third in Iowa has gone on to win a major party nomination. Any serious presidential candidate who does not finish in one of the top three slots becomes walking wounded....

Dean has moved up handsomely. He's gone from two points to six. No one else has tripled the level of support. Based on Dean's rate of gain and Lieberman's rate of fade, the two will switch positions in a couple more months. That change will put Dean right where he needs to be - in the top tier of candidates and well positioned to get the media bounce into New Hampshire for his showdown with Kerry.

Looking into the innards of the subscriber poll. Dean's unfamiliarity in Iowa is still rocket-high, at 69%, compared to 34% for Kerry, 15% for Gephardt, and 18% for Lieberman. This is suggestive of Dean becoming more competitive in future polling. Dean's stance on Iraq will not hurt him in Iowa (especially going forward, if/when the occupation becomes muddled):

In the closing days of military action in Iraq, likely Democratic caucus voters were asked about their level of support for the war with Iraq. Nearly two thirds (64%) said they either somewhat or strongly support the war, while more than a third (35%) say they somewhat or strongly oppose the war.

The poll goes on to show a potential downside to Dean support, with:

Q: Thinking about the upcoming election in November 2004, do you think it is important that the Democratic Party nominate a presidential candidate who opposed the war with Iraq on principle, or should the party select someone who voted to support the war?

A majority of Democrats (54%) said the party should choose a candidate who supported the war with Iraq, compared to 28% who feel the candidate should be one who opposed the war. Nearly one in five (18%) are not sure.

Said John Zogby: “This is rather strange. While they would vote for someone who opposed the war, they want the party to nominate someone who supported the war. This is good news for Gephardt, Kerry, Lieberman, and possibly Edwards. It also indicates that unlike the January poll, Democrats are looking to win. While they think Bush will be re-elected, they want to win.”

So we've got to have a Democrat who mimics Bush? I don't think that will work, those numbers will fluctuate back the otherway, following the 'victory' bounce. The other interesting poll finding deals with post-Iraq:

Q: Candidate A supported a conditional justification for war and is in favor of a complete rebuilding of Iraq, regardless of economic cost. Candidate B supported the war as a just action, but feels that the U.S. should withdraw from the rebuilding process due to economic and budget constraints at home.

A majority (54%) says we’ve done enough, and should withdraw, while nearly four in ten (37%) say we should complete the rebuilding, no matter what cost. Nearly one in ten (9%) are not sure.

If this is how Democrats, who tend to hold less isolationist views than Republicans, are feeling, then there is not much support for a long duration of effort and money into Iraq. Bush is vulnerable on this front.

There's a joke making the rounds, and it was told to me by a liberal Democrat: "This is such a great President we have. He's investing billions into rebuilding schools, hiring more police for the streets, and even paying for health-care coverage to those who can't afford it. But the only catch is, you have to move to Iraq!"


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.