Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Slagging Edwards ...

On WBUR's "On Point" this morning, Paul Krugman of the NYT and Thomas Beaumont, chief political editor at The Des Moines Register, were slagging on presidential candidate John Edwards, stating that he was in a better position in Iowa in 2004 at this point in the season and therefore, was in a better position to win the nomination in 2004 than he is now.
Krugman also incredibly stated that if Edwards did not win Iowa, he was finished.
But if you look at polling from both 2003 and 2007, in a run up to the Iowa Caucuses, the exact opposite is true. And Edwards is actually in strong third place positions in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada ... positions strong enough to win delegates and potentially work with Barack Obama [or another candidate] to stop Hillary Clinton from getting the nomination, if they so choose to do and if Clinton's numbers hold up.
All throughout 2007, Edwards has been in a tight three-way race in Iowa, sometimes leading the polls, sometimes second or third, but within a few points of the top spot. Virtually every poll shows this. In poll after poll for a year, Edwards has had a solid position in Iowa.
Compare this to 2003, when Edwards was nowhere to be found in the early stages of the caucus but later vaulted to a second place finish. In fact, Edwards was often in fourth in the early stages of Iowa, behind candidates Howard Dean, Dick Gephardt, John Kerry, and sometimes Wesley Clark, until very late in the game. According to numerous polls in Iowa posted on this site in 2004, Edwards didn't climb out of fourth place until days before the caucus.

* Jan. 18, Des Moines Register: Kerry 26, Edwards 23, Dean 20, and Gephardt 18 percent.
* Jan. 17, Zogby: Kerry 23, Dean 19, Gephardt 18, and Edwards with 17 percent.
* Jan. 15, Zogby: Kerry 22, Dean and Gephardt 21, and Edwards 17 percent.
* Jan. 14, Zogby: Dean 24, Gephardt and Kerry 21, and Edwards at 15 percent.
* Jan. 10, Los Angeles Time: Dean 30, Gephardt 23, Kerry 18, and Edwards 11 percent.
* Jan. 9, Research 2000: Dean 29, Gephardt 25, Kerry 18, and Edwards 8 percent.
* Jan. 9, Survey USA: Dean 29, Gephardt 22, Kerry 21, and Edwards 17 percent.

A month and change before, the numbers looked like this:

* Dec. 9, the Pew Research Center: Dean 29, Gephardt 21, Kerry 18, Edwards 5, and Kucinich 4 percent.
* Dec. 6, Zogby: Dean 26, Gephardt 22, and Kerry 9 percent.
* Nov. 25, Survey USA: Dean 32, Gephardt 22, Kerry 19 and Edwards 11 percent.
* Oct. 29, KCCI-TV: Dean and Gephardt at 26, Kerry 15, and Edwards with 8 percent.
* Oct. 24, Zogby: Gephardt 22, Dean 21, Kerry 9, with Edwards and Clark 7 percent [Clark pulled his org. out of Iowa a few days before this poll was posted].
* Oct. 21, Survey USA posted this poll: Gephardt 27, Dean 22, Kerry 15, and Clark and Edwards 11 percent.

While some of these numbers are admittedly a bit older - its late December not late October or late November - it proves the point: Edwards is in a much better position to win now than he was in 2004.
As well, the blogosphere is all in a tizzy over even tighter data numbers showing Edwards leading the state, with a lot of second choice response of caucus goers supporting other campaigns - something that helped him get second in 2004.
So, why are the Krugmans, Beaumounts and NPR affiliates of the world saying otherwise and being so cryptic about it? Could it be the Des Moines Register's endorsement of Clinton? Could it be Krugman getting that boomer feeling about Obama? Who knows. But whatever the reason, the show should have done a bit more research into the numbers and not bandied about half-truths.

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