While Obama-mania is driving the media nuts, John Edwards is quietly emerging as the anti-Hillary candidate. He is currently leading in Iowa, as of polling from the end of last week. From the Des Moines Register:
John Edwards came out far ahead of the rest of the pack of possible Democratic presidential candidates in a poll of Iowa Democrats conducted in October by an environmental group and released Wednesday.
Edwards, a former senator from North Carolina and the second-place finisher in the 2004 caucuses, was picked as the early preference of 36 percent of likely caucusgoers in the survey.
Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York came in second with 16 percent.
Third was Sen. Barack Obama with 13 percent, and Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack trailed in fourth place at 9 percent.
The whole article is here.
The primary calendar favors him tremendously. Here’s how the Edwards campaign envisions him winning the nomination:
1– He continues his strong work in Iowa, lining up endorsements from organized labor, firefighters, etc, and he wins big when the caucuses occur on Monday January 14th, 2008.
2– From Iowa, the campaigns will quickly shift gears to Nevada and New Hampshire, almost simultaneously. Edwards has been working hard for the last two years to build up support in Nevada. He’s supported labor’s efforts to raise the minimum wage, and his populist message, especially after a victory in Iowa, could propel him to a 2nd straight victory.
3– He then moves to New Hampshire, where he hopes to at least lessen the margin of victory for Hillary, where the Clintons are still very popular. If he can play the expectation game right, even a 2nd place finish may provide a boost to his campaign as they move to South Carolina.
4– South Carolina should be a slam dunk for Edwards. Remember 2004’s results?
The two biggest wild cards in all of this are Obama and Gore. If Obama gets in, and if Obama-mania is for real, the scenario outlined above will not play out. A candidate like Obama is all about momentum. If he declares, he probably jumps 10 points in the polls overnight. If he closes on Edwards, the debate will quickly become one about change and the need for a fresh face. If he overtakes Edwards in Iowa, that could, for all intents and purposes, knock Edwards right out of the race, or at least force him to limp into South Carolina where he would hope for a campaign salvaging win.
Gore presents even a bigger challenge to Edwards. The minute Gore enters, the media is going to go berserk with excitement. There’s nothing people like more than a comeback, and a passionate Gore articulating a populist message (like he did in 2000), combined with a thoughtful energy-national security-environmental policy, and with funding from a netroots effort that will make Dean’s 2004 effort look piddly, will absolutely turn 2008 on its head.
Bottom line: Edwards is smart to get in early. He needs to establish himself as a real alternative to Hillary before Obama-mania or Gore-mania, or even worse, Gorbama-mania comes rushing in…..
I personally believe that if Gore gets in, he will be unstoppable. If it’s a three-way race between Edwards/Obama/Hillary, it will be more competitive.
One other interesting tidbit, know who the only Democrat is beating McCain nationally right now? That’s right, it’s Edwards:
In some head-to-head match ups, McCain leads Clinton by four points (47 to 43 percent) and Obama by five points (43 percent to 38 percent). But — in an interesting twist — the Arizona senator trails Edwards by two points (43 percent to 41 percent).