Monday, January 26, 2004
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My final thoughts on New Hampshire
John Ellis reports that the media covering the NH primary is at sea:
I'm feeling energized by the fact that I was right about Iowa, so I'm taking advantage of the Mediasphere's confusion to make bold, half-assed predictions for tomorrow!! [As bold as Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, who has actual percentages?--ed. Not that bold!!]
Clearly, the tracking polls are going to be of little help. Compare the ARG with the Zogby and you start to appreciate the concept of "standard error" in a whole new way (a point Mark Kleiman made in the past week).
So, I'm basing my prediction on one ironclad historical fact -- Granite State voters like to mindf#&k the pollsters and the pundits. Sometimes they'll do this for the sheer fun of it -- remember, Pat Buchanan won the state in 1996.
So, pooling that fact in with the assorted polls and reportage, here are my predictions:
I'm not so bold as to be able to predict a Dean victory. But let's face it, the scream effect has worn off, for the same reason that the cops tried for the Rodney King beating received a not guilty verdict -- watch the video repeatedly, and the visceral effect starts to wear off. As ABC's The Note notes: "Many of his supporters here are angry at the media and the process and are fighting back (unlike in Iowa, where they seemed more angry at Dean)."
Finally, as John Ellis (again) points out, the national media want to bury Dean in New Hampshire. The best way for the Granite State to stop that is for Dean to play the Clinton angle post-primary. So I'm saying Dean will finish within five points of Kerry -- I'm just not sure of which side of him he'll finish. [Your readers want something more specific--ed. Fine -- Kerry by 3%]
The other steady drumbeat coming out of N.H. is that Wes Clark's campaign couldn't organize a proper bake sale. Democrats are suspicious of him. Republican- leaning independents are more likely to vote for Lieberman than Clark; Democrat-leaning independents are more likely to vote for Edwards than Clark. The debate performance didn't help. So, I'm saying he finishes fifth. [But wait, doesn't going with the media flow this time violate your rule about New Hampshire voters?--ed. Above all else, New Hampshire voters expect to be wined and dined. Clark's organization looks like its not capable of performing even that function.]
I was only partly right about the media spin after Iowa, but here goes anyway -- they help Edwards again. A revitalized Dean is going to go after Kerry with a vengeance, and Kerry's anti-Shermanesque motto -- "I will lose the South" -- will cause Kerry's upticks in the polls to melt away in the South. If Edwards makes a credible showing in New Hampshire, he'll be able to attract sufficient strength in the South to stay in the race for a while.
Of course, this is all predicated on Dean pulling close enough to Kerry to make things interesting, and Edwards beating Clark. I could very easily be wrong, in which case the current Senator from Massachusetts will start to resemble a former Senator of Massachusetts. If I'm right, however, then the Kerry balloon could pop, and the current Senator from Massachusetts will start to resemble... a former Senator from Massachusetts.posted by Dan on 01.26.04 at 01:23 PM
Any thoughts on how badly Edwards would be hurt if he were to finish behind Lieberman in NH?
I don't think this will happen, and doubt Lieberman has legs with a Democratic primary electorate that wants its nominee to be anti-Bush, period and without ambiguity. Some polls after last weeks debate, though, showed an uptick in support for Lieberman in NH, and Edwards excellent retail campaign skills give him less of an advantage the larger the electorate -- especially in states like NH where independents can vote in the Dem primary.posted by: Zathras on 01.26.04 at 01:23 PM [permalink]
Not exactly fair for you not to pick a winner, Dan. Come on! Be bold!
Here's how it actually breaks down:
Late breakers go with Kerry, the frontrunner, who's run a mostly sharp campaign this week.
Edwards benefits from all those awesome campaign skills. The guy just rises and rises, whether slow (early this week) or fast (pre-Iowa ... and now?)
Clark just sits right about where he is in the polls.
The Lieberman vote drifts to candidates percieved as more viable.
By the way, for the true political junkie, some guy did this amazing compilation of all the tracking polls.
Here's a link:posted by: William Swann on 01.26.04 at 01:23 PM [permalink]
One factor that nobody mentions, but I think must be on the minds of some voters, is that both Edwards and Kerry appear to wear hairpieces. I have more on this, and a couple of links, on my site (scroll down to "More About Candidates and Hairpieces").posted by: John Bruce on 01.26.04 at 01:23 PM [permalink]
I like this blog much but the parenthetical, fake "editor" comments are becoming grating. Kaus does them well. Here, everytime I see one I think, "You are copying Kaus but not doing it as well." This is like going to a French restaurant and, instead of getting French bread with the meal, you get Japanese rice, done not as well as at the sushi joint on the corner. ('Does that make any sense?' -- Ed. No, but it lets me write this parenthetical comment to show how lame they are. 'Clever, but if the metaphor had worked it would've been better.' True.)posted by: LK on 01.26.04 at 01:23 PM [permalink]
Check out today's Washington Post article on who Republican strategists think is their toughest potential opponent.
Any guesses, before you look?posted by: William Swann on 01.26.04 at 01:23 PM [permalink]
“If Edwards makes a credible showing in New Hampshire, he'll be able to attract sufficient strength in the South to stay in the race for a while. “
One should place a lot of emphasis on the “awhile” part. I don’t see John Edwards doing much after that. Also, what about Al “race card” Sharpton? He should make life interesting in the South. Will Sharpton win? No, but he will force the other Democrat candidates to make fool of themselves.
If I'm right, however, then the Kerry balloon could pop, and the current Senator from Massachusetts will start to resemble... a former Senator from Massachusetts (Paul Tsongas).
This scenario represents where the smart money in Las Vegas is going. Senator Kerry’s more than subtle hint that France has a right to veto America’s foreign policy dooms him.
“Of course, this is all predicated on Dean pulling close enough to Kerry to make things interesting”
Howard Dean only needs to finish in second place, 20 points behind or less will suffice. His obituary postings were premature. Dean will win the nomination.
“I don't think this will happen, and doubt Lieberman has legs with a Democratic primary electorate that wants its nominee to be anti-Bush, period and without ambiguity.”
Allow me to be a bit more blunt: the left of center Democrats voting for their party’s nominee demand that their winning candidate be deceitfully pacifist and anti-free trade. Zathras obviously prefers to avoid mentioning the reasons why these folks will not be supporting Senator Joseph Lieberman.posted by: David Thomson on 01.26.04 at 01:23 PM [permalink]
I think if Dean gets a credible second or even a win (extremely unlikely), it will make one hell of an interesting race, but do the Dems no favors.
If Dean were to win in the end, he'd get crushed. The South has seen enough that he may as well not bother with the entire region. alongside, I can't imagine a Southerner (Edwards) hitching to that wagon for any reason, except maybe a black southerner like John Lewis, who will pick up black votes that Dean already has. The rest of the country, well, I think many of us have seen enough of Mr. Dean to know that we'll be seeing it all again (and again and again) as RoveCo tattoos Dean's myriad of gaffes on all our brains all summer long. If Iraq/WoT goes well, Dean is toast. If something catastrophic happens, his (and loose cannon supporters) subtle but gleeful "tolja so, tolja so" over the bodies of dead Americans will go REEEEAL well.
So Dean'll lose, and most poeple know it. But if he does well Tuesday, he might fight all the way to the convention. And THAT will be a sight to see.
In that way, New Hampshirites might hold the future of the Democratic Party in their hands tomorrow night.posted by: Andrew X on 01.26.04 at 01:23 PM [permalink]
your predicts follow the media exactly. I prediect dean in NH, kerry a close second. adn then kerry will win the rest of teh way. NH will be dean only win.posted by: jason on 01.26.04 at 01:23 PM [permalink]
Actually, I noted precisely the reason Democratic voters would prefer to support someone other than Joe Lieberman. Anyone is of course welcome to assert that they have different motives, but I would just as soon they not associate me with their opinions.posted by: Zathras on 01.26.04 at 01:23 PM [permalink]
Clark will do poorly, but beat out Joe for 4th. Lieberman quits. Clark throws everything he has at one or two 2/3 states, probably AZ.
The buzz is still with Edwards.
Kerry will win and give another meandering, weird victory speech. Luckily for him, directional mikes will mean no one can hear the crowd snoring, just as the mikes made Dean seem hysterical, when he was trying to be heard over cheers.posted by: Andrew J. Lazarus on 01.26.04 at 01:23 PM [permalink]
Ellis>> Novak has been reduced to quoting
No doubt the elderly couple is George HW Bush and Barbara Bush, revealing the identities of CIA operatives related to people with the temerity to criticise their beloved Dubya.posted by: P O'Neill on 01.26.04 at 01:23 PM [permalink]
I predict the media will start taking it easy on Dean, for the same reason no one is ever kicked out of Hollywood: because of The Scream, Dean attracts attention from people who don't follow politics. He is now a prime time political entertainer with tabloid notoriety. The ratings he garners guarantee him a spotlight for some time to come. Witness, as an early example of this trend, Blitzer's kind interview today of the Deans.posted by: Matt on 01.26.04 at 01:23 PM [permalink]
Since today seems like a good day to play pundit, and my guesses are no more stupid than anyone else's, here's my prediction:
Kerry - 36%
The oldman already made his predictions a days back after the Iowa caucuses, when everybody thought Dean was finished for good. Back then he said Dean finishes in NH first or second, Kerry is the horse to beat, and that Edwards' campaign begins stalling on organization and money shortfalls. Looked good then, and looks better now.
What truly amuses me however then and now is the commentators, some of them Democrats no less, who accused Dean as being too outre' liberal and some of whom offered of all people Kerry as the "more conservative" candidate:
I quote from MSNBC Kerry saying:
In fact, I remember in particular one Democratic commentator from the Carolinas screaming practically that if Dean was stuffed down their throats, he'd vote for Bush instead. Wonder if "I will lose the South," Kerry is looking better to him now. Pucker up. ;-D
I agree with you. The Dean "Yeagh!!!" Scream just goes to show that in the right hands there is no such thing as bad publicity. It's like the "Crazy Al" late-night used-car salesman commercials. But give him some credit, Dean has been spinning this like heck and he's been media savvy enough to squeeze a Diane Sawyer interview, a Letterman "Top 10" countdown, and a Matthews' Hardball inquisition - I mean interrogation - I mean interview out of the deal. ;-) He's been working hard on his comeback, and who knows if it will succeed but he clearly "get's it" about what went wrong at least about the "crazy red-faced rants" he's promised to have less of.posted by: Oldman on 01.26.04 at 01:23 PM [permalink]
Dan writes: I could very easily be wrong, in which case the current Senator from Massachusetts will start to resemble a former Senator of Massachusetts. If I'm right, however, then the Kerry balloon could pop, and the current Senator from Massachusetts will start to resemble... a former Senator from Massachusetts.
Great line, but one of the things you left out (pun intended) is his current resemblence to the current Senator from Massachusetts.posted by: gmroper on 01.26.04 at 01:23 PM [permalink]
David -- I don't think Dean wins this thing, and, in fact, I think his campaign essentially goes down today. Kerry will beat him by 15% or more, and then he has to turn South and West to unfriendly territory. He won't compete in a single Feb. 3rd state.
The race will pivot today into a Kerry vs. Edwards affair. I believe Edwards to be a significantly better option. It's a question of whether you want experience (but experience that includes a lot of stuff the Republicans can pick on) or political skills and a shorter resume.
Edwards can beat the shortcomings of his limited resume because he is substantive (more specific in his agenda than any other candidate), because he sells his agenda well, and because he can select a VP with strong foreign policy credentials to round out the ticket.
He's the choice. A significant underdog to Kerry right now, but the best choice.posted by: William Swann on 01.26.04 at 01:23 PM [permalink]
posted by: Aakash on 01.26.04 at 01:23 PM [permalink]
Congratulations on your prediction. Lieberman, though, just might decide to retire.
A Kerry win is fantastic! It will put him out in the open, out from the shadow of Ted Kennedy (who, it must be admitted, casts a rather large shadow).
Kerry says, "...if that's the best they can do...". Well, JFK (his middle name is Forbes), there's a truckful more. Let's talk about Kerry in 1971 and the Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), funded initially be Jane Fonda, and the anti-war demonstrations he organized in Washington.
NRO has a good starting piece on Kerry:
He threw out his medals in 1971. He should stop telling people he served in Viet Nam. (He did, of course, but as he's been ashamed of it for 30 years, he ought to shut up.)posted by: Mike on 01.26.04 at 01:23 PM [permalink]
I have posted New Hampshire Prediction Results. Check it out.posted by: Dan Spencer on 01.26.04 at 01:23 PM [permalink]
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