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Monday, January 19, 2004

Strategic Voting?

As I write, with nearly 40% of the votes counted, John Kerry has 37% of the vote, John Edwards has 33%, Howard Dean 18% and Dick Gephardt only 11%.

Wow. No, WOW!

On CNN, they are spinning this as "electability." Those who decided late, and perhaps "soft" Dean supporters (not the "Deaniacs"), went for the guys who voted for the war -- even though 75% of the people attending the caucuses were anti-war.

CNN is switching to Larry King, so I've turned the channel to MSNBC. The talking heads there are spinning it as "electability too," though Chris Matthews is talking about Kerry's great TV ads.

I think this is good news for Wesley Clark too, so long as he can (a) demonstrate basic Democratic credentials and (b) overcome the apparent gender gap.

44% of the votes are now in and it's still 37-33-18.

Hey, just as I wrote that above, MSNBC is talking about Clark -- speculating that Kerry is passing Clark in New Hampshire.

Now 51%, 37-33-18.

This is going to be an interesting few weeks.

Gephardt's campaign is probably dead. Now the talking heads are saying this too. Maybe I should just stop posting, listen, and think.

Update: Over 90% of the votes are counted and it is still Kerry-Edwards-Dean 38-32-18. Gephardt is apparently dropping out of the race tomorrow.

On CNN at 10:12 pm ET, Jeff Greenfield said that the results hurt Clark. I wrote above that I think it helps Clark -- so let me explain. The Iowa result shows that Dean is vulnerable, even among an electorate that is anti-war. Kerry is the most national security-minded of the Democrats in Iowa (war hero record) and John Edwards is the southerner. Those guys nabbed 70% of the vote. Clark trumps Kerry's security record and he's from Arkansas (a state the Democrats can actually win).

If New Hampshire voting at all parallel's Iowa's, then Clark might grab a substantial portion of the majority voting base. Plus, Gephardt's 10% are up for grabs and I don't think those union guys are going to Dean. Actually, I can see those union guys going to Edwards.

I'm really looking forward to Arizona, Oklahoma and South Carolina. Kerry and Dean have home field advantage in New Hampshire, so these states are going to be more revealing.

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