Monday, February 02, 2004


With polls all over the map, predicting results tomorrow is a somewhat risky business-- especially considering my strong biases which may impact my normally exceptional objectivity. What the hell, here goes...

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!)

In my upset special I'm picking Clark to win either New Mexico or Arizona- or both. There are no good New Mexico polls, and Arizona polls vary greatly, although all show Kerry ahead. Still, I think Clark has momentum in both states and believe that a few negative stories in recent days may have given potential Kerry voters just enough pause to make a difference. Clark had built a strong base here before Iowa and his voters may be coming back. Early voting, according to my calculation, began around January 19th in Arizona and January 12th in New Mexico. For those voting right away, Iowa may not have had a great impact yet in Arizona, and no impact in New Mexico, and Kerry's momentum didn't fully take shape until after New Hampshire, which was only a few days before early voting ended. If early voting had began in January 12 in Arizona, Clark would have been the beneficiary, given that he was at about 39% at that time. In any event, it stands to reason that early voting benefited Clark far more than Kerry. It is unlcear how this may be factored into polling. I am also hoping that Native American endorsements will have more of an effect than the polling is picking up.

Also, hearing that Kerry has a large lead may actually depress his less enthusiastic supporters, and I still have trouble believing that the guy who had to mortgage his house a few weeks ago to pay the bills in Iowa has truly engendered die-hard support. Clearly, my bias may be impacting my view of this and I realize it remains a long-shot, but I won't be shocked to see Clark close very strong in both states. If he doesn't win, I still think he closes within 5%. It is worth noting that while Zogby's last New Hampshire numbers were largely accurate, the most glaring shortcoming was that he underestimated Clark's performance by over 25%. Maybe that was due to ground game or the sheer enthusiasm of Clark's voters and volunteers, but almost all New Hampshire polls showed Clark trending two or more points behind Edwards and yet it did not happen.

After just one week of Kerrymania, I don't think he is wearing well in South Carolina. Actually, one of my biggest fears with a Kerry candidacy is that he won't wear well on the general electorate. In fact, I believe that if the primaries were two weeks after New Hampshire, Kerry would be in real trouble in various states.

Clark was far more of a natural for North Dakota, but Kerry's appearance yesterday may make the difference. If Clark had had time for one more push, I think he would take it. Still, the voting there seems a bit challenging and only the most dedicated voters may bother to find a polling place. (I know they call it a caucus, but it is not an Iowa style caucus.)

Although I agree with the Southwest focus, I'm disappointed the Clark campaign did not at least run minimal advertising in Missouri and Delaware. The press is already spinning Missouri as some kind of general election test and Kerry's strong showing there will be given far too much attention. Again, given the time, Clark was more natural for Missouri than Kerry. Kerry will win, but Edwards and Sharpton may surprise. A minimal effort by Clark would have rendered delegates as it would have in Delaware. As it is, Clark seems unlikely to crack the 15% threshold in those two states.

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.

Okay, let the fun begin...

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