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

Wednesday | August 06, 2003

Cattle Call 2004: 8/6

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

Big changes in my rankings.

1. Howard Dean
Obviously had a good week. Has become the center of the election. It seems the only time reporters want to talk to the others is when they need reaction for yet another Dean story.

Dean will be one of the last two standing. The rest of the pack will be fighting to be the "anti-Dean".

We are seeing some interesting dynamics. Never before have the front-runner and the insurgent been the same candidate. How it shakes out remains to be seen, but this primary election is following no historical precedent.

2. Joe Lieberman
Big jump up for Lieberman. He has arrested his precipitous drops in the national polls, and he's competitive for third in both Iowa and NH. But he gets that "up" arrow for effectively defining himself as the anti-Dean.

Here's what Lieberman is hoping for: Dean wins Iowa, knocking out Gephardt. Dean wins NH, knocking out Kerry. This whole time, Lieberman has been selling himself as the anti-Dean, sucking up the "moderate" vote and keeping Edwards and Graham down on the mat.

Therefore, on January 27, all that's left in the field is Dean and Lieberman, and the battle for the soul of the party is on full swing. Given the latest poll numbers and unmistakable momentum with the Dean campaign, this scenario would be quite likely if the elections started today.

3. Dick Gephardt
One bad Iowa poll doesn't mean the end, but it does mean a setback, especially since the poll was conducted by the sage of Iowa elections -- the Des Moines Register. Gephardt got some big wins -- like the national Teamster's endorsement, only to see it diluted by losing the Chicago Teamsters (the second largest Teamsters chapter) to Kerry. And that Register poll gave Dean a 10-point lead in union households over Gephardt (though the MOE was pretty big).

4. John Kerry
We keep hearing that he hasn't started campaign, which is not true. I've sat inches from him as he campaigned, so I'm pretty sure about that. But, as spin goes, it's marginally effective. Of course, everyone else is campaigning, so sheer inertia earns him a "down" arrow. And the more he waits, the more Lieberman will be able to solidify his spot as the "anti-Dean". Given Dean's surge, and the respective overlap of their target constituencies, every point Dean rises is a net loss for Kerry.

5. John Edwards
No longer a top-tier candidate (if he ever was one). Polls like crap everywhere, including in his backyard (South Carolina). When Braun outpolls you, you know you've hit bottom.

6. Graham

7. Al Sharpton
He had a candidate forum this week, and as he always does, wowed the audience with his rhetorical brilliance. The man can speak, and he trains his guns on Bush. I love having him around.

8. Dennis Kucinich
Consistently brings up the rear in every single poll. Small group of motivated supporters keep him out of the cellar.

9. Carol Moseley-Braun
Outpolls Edwards in national poll, clocking in at 5 percent. That's good for something, isn't it?

Others: Biden and Clark. Both will probably run.

Posted August 06, 2003 09:11 AM


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