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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The narrative

OK, so my specific prediction that Barack Obama would win the New Hampshire primary was wrong. It was based on polling results, which were way off the mark. Hopefully, the polls weren't flawed because of what some call the "Bradley" or "Wilder effect." If you not familiar with those names, read this.

Still, it looks like the media is ready to write the John Edwards campaign obituary merely because he's getting a smaller minority of votes than are the two "major" candidates. Obama beat Edwards twice and Hillary Clinton beat him once, so clearly he must go. Right?

I suspect Edwards is hanging around in case Obama and Clinton start destroying each other in negative ads. John Kerry benefitted in Iowa, 2004, when Howard Dean and Richard Gephardt launched all-out war on one another.

It is also possible that Edwards could poll a much larger number of votes if either Obama or Clinton left the race. He does very well in two-way races versus all the Republicans and could then make an electability argument against his better funded foes.

The Time article I linked above references the 1992 Jerry Brown populist campaign as a model for Edwards, but notes that the current election season is much more compact.

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