Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Tuesday | March 04, 2003

Cattle Call 2004: 3/4

Big shakeups this week. While Gephardt and Dean scored big, their gains are tentative. A good week by Kerry could shake things up again. Lieberman had one thing going for him -- his high name ID and poll numbers. As the poll numbers fade, so does his standings.

Last week's rankings: 1) Kerry, 2) Lieberman, 3) Edwards, 4) Dean, 5) Gephardt, 6) Graham, 7) Kucinich, 8) Moseley-Braun, 9) Sharpton, and others.

Latest national numbers:

Gephardt 16%
Lieberman 15
Kerry 10
Edwards 6
Moseley-Braun 5
Dean 4
Sharpton 4
Kucinich 2
Other 5
Undecided 33
The Rankings

1. Dick Gephardt
Just last week I derided Gephardt's changing fortunes, but they seem to have greater lasting power than I expected (reflecting nicely on the people running his campaign). It seems that Gephardt has catapulted to the "front-runner" status in media circles, based on his fundraising prowess and close ties to labor. His improvements (and lead) in the latest national poll didn't hurt, though those polls are still nothing more than name ID contests.

However, labor seems to be content in sitting this out, and Gephardt will be hard-pressed to keep the number one spot. A big test will be the Q1 fundraising report, which will indicate whether Labor is putting its dollars behind Gephardt's candidacy.

2. John Kerry
Content to tread water (even if he has a good excuse), he's being passed by everyone else.

3. Howard Dean
Dean continues to get positive press on the strength of his anti-war stance. It's obviously a risky strategy (what if the war goes well?), but one that is currently paying dividends with the party's grassroots. I've flip-flopped Dean and Edwards before, and will probably do so again. But it's clear that Dean is solidifying his status as a Tier 1 candidate (along with Kerry, Gephardt and Edwards). He clearly has more riding on the Q1 fundraising totals than any other candidate.

4. John Edwards
It was not so much anything Edwards did this week, it was the fact Graham entered the race. One of Edwards' biggest assets (in addition to his war chest and good looks) was his status as "the only southerner in the race". Now, instead of enjoying "favorite son" status throughout the South, he'll have to vie for votes and money against Graham.

5. Joe Lieberman
Speaking of assets, Lieberman's only asset was his high name recognition. But he took a major tumble in the latest national poll, and as his poll numbers fall, so does any chance he might have.

6. Bob Graham
He announced and he's from Florida. But he has less money than Dean.

7. Al Sharpton
Sharpton continues to impress with his passion and wit, and he still hasn't turned the campaign into a circus. If he can continue training his guns on Bush, he may defy all CW and end up an asset for Democrats.

8. Kucinich
He may or may not have defended himself well against charges of racial politics. But does it matter? The original charges had more salience than any rebuttal, and he's still pro-life-turned-pro-choice when it became politically expedient.

I do respect his leadership role in the House Progressive Caucus, but he's out of his league. His best accomplishment this campaign cycle may be to help pain Dean as a "moderate".

9. Carol Moseley-Braun
What can I say. I want to like her, but I feel sorry for her instead.

Others: Biden, Clark, and Hart.

Posted March 04, 2003 08:42 AM | Comments (53)


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