Tuesday, February 03, 2004

A few thoughts on the primaries

Some of my better predictions:

After just one week of Kerrymania, I don't think he is wearing well in South Carolina.
Edwards will take South Carolina fairly comfortably. One poll shows Clark within striking distance of second. I would like to believe it. In any event, reaching the 15% threshold in South Carolina would be a minor victory in that state at this point.

Kerry faded, Clark faded, Edwards surged. Of course, he should have. It was his home state.

Clark will win Oklahoma by 3-5 points, scoring in the low to mid 30s. Kerry's support here is largely manufactured momentum and he may be surpassed by Edwards. All three get delegates and no one else does. (Sorry Joementum, you even sang the state song on camera!)

Make that low, low thirties. Kerry did fade, Edwards did surge, and I'm crediting Barry Switzer's robo-call on his behalf.

My "upset special" did not materialize, but it looks like Clark will be able to claim one win and three second place finishes. Not horrible, although it won't be a big momentum builder. I wish Clark had come out and said, "Two candidates came into Oklahoma with media buzz and momentum. Well, it was a tough fight, but we went toe-to-toe with those candidates and came out on top."

The Dean implosion I anticipated even before Iowa continued. He will launch a few grenades at Kerry and hope one explodes close enough to do real damage.

Contrary to the conventional wisdom of the DNC Chair, an extended primary is beneficial. It not only makes the eventual nominee better, IMHO, it also keeps the media focus on the Dems who are bashing Dubya. It is no mystery that AWOL's numbers have steadily dropped since Iowa. He failed to even get a STOTU bump. Let's at least go through March 10th. Kerry is a seasoned poll and probably won't make a major misstep (provided he wasn't already caught in a Botox lie), although his wife may be a different matter. Don't get me wrong, I kinda like her, but you can be assured the media will love her-- and not in the way they fawned over Barbara Bush and even made her look "sweet"-- which is almost as tough as making AWOL look like a strong leader.

Clark focuses on TN, VA and maybe Maine, although he didn't mention it tonight. Less than two weeks ago he was endorsed by 30 Maine legislators. If they're holding on, it is worth a trip and some commercials. I expect TN and VA to be close races a la OK. For Clark or Edwards to break through, Kerry must stumble. One month before Super Tuesday it is his to lose. One month ago it was Dean's to lose. He has done so in a colossal fashion. Further into the 1992 race than this, it was Paul Tsongas' to lose. You remember President Tsongas. Another MA pol foisted on us by NH.

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