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

Wednesday | May 07, 2003

Cattle Call 2004: 5/7

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

Latest polls in the race (previous version of poll in parenthesis):

Undecided 31
Gephardt 25 (19)
Kerry 13 (11)
Lieberman 9 (17)
Dean 6 (2)
Edwards 4
Hart 4
Kucinich 3
Sharpton 1
Mosley Braun 1
Graham 1

New Hampshire (link is PDF)
Undecided 31
Kerry 23
Dean 23
Lieberman 9
Gephardt 8
Hart 2
Clark 2
Edwards 1
Graham 1
Kucinich 1
Mosely-Braun 1
Sharpton 0

This week's rankings:

1. John Kerry
Still the media-annointed front-runner, though he sure didn't act it in South Carolina. It's clear he feels the heat from Dean, and a look at the NH poll above tells why. Kerry's chances in Iowa are so-so, so he needs a win in New Hampshire to give him momentum past likely losses in SC and Missouri. A Dean victory in NH would be a major upset, and Kerry's team will try and prevent that possibility at all costs (just as they destroyed Bradley in the 2000 primaries).

However, their single-minded obsession on Dean is unbecoming of a front-runner, and the spat is driving up his negatives in the race.

And in more bad news, his health continues to appear tenuous, while his poll numbers are slipping in both Iowa and New Hampshire. He'll need to stem the bleeding if he's to retain the top spot for much longer.

2. Dick Gephardt
Good debate, and he is still the only candidate to effectively roll out a "Big Idea". Whether the other candidates bash it is irrelevent -- Gephardt is driving the debate, and that's what front-runners do.

Gephardt is also looking good in Iowa, where he's earned a bit of daylight between him and Kerry. It's enough to offset his poor showing in New Hampshire.

3. Howard Dean
Some think Dean's spat with Kerry is helpful, as any news is good news for an unknown. I disagree -- the tiff is driving up Dean's negatives, and threatens to polarize the Democratic Party and turn off primary voters. Granted, this hurts Kerry as well, but this vicious cycle is simply providing Gephardt, Edwards and perhaps Graham with the opportunity to slip in ahead of them.

Dean also needs to be careful about the anti-Dean backlash in the online activist community that has been building steadily over the past few weeks. This community helped push Dean into prominance, and it could help undo him.

On the flipside, Dean's poll numbers are looking good. Tied or close behind Kerry in New Hampshire, and a three-fold increase in Iowa putting him well within reach of the key number three slot that would mark him a player by the press corps. Given his low name ID, he's still got plenty of upside.

4. John Edwards
Good debate performance, and his campaign skills have improved by leaps and bounds. But what's with his poll numbers? His inability to get above the low single digits anywhere is telling, and quite honestly, perplexing.

What does he have to do to attract support? All the money in the world won't get him elected without actual honest-to-goodness votes.

And tactically, what was he thinking going after Gephardt's health care plan? Dean I could understand -- the doctor is trying to claim the health care issue as his own, but what was Edwards thinking?

5. Joe Lieberman
Good debate performance, perfectly tailored to his conservative South Carolina audience. Except that the debate was also aired nationwide, and in Iowa and New Hampshire. His positions shouldn't play well in the first two states, though Lieberman may be best served by ignoring IA and NH altogether.

His national poll numbers still look good, but they are worthless name ID surveys. In the polls that currently matter, IA and NH, he looks terrible and fading fast.

6. Bob Graham
Great campaign rollout and should be able to raise money. He has loads of potential, we just haven't seen any of it yet.

7. Al Sharpton
Still entertaining. And we were worried about him?

8. Carol Moseley-Braun
Good debate performance ensured a slight uptick, but she won't rise above eighth.

9. Kucinich
Officially last. He's definitely our Gary Bauer.

Others: Biden (won't run) and Clark (back to 50/50).

p.s. MyDD, still in the midsts of finishing up his master thesis, has a flurry of new posts on the race.

Posted May 07, 2003 10:02 AM | Comments (132)


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