Fear of Clowns

"Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable."
- H. L. Mencken
gozz@gozz.com

Monday, January 19, 2004

My IA prediction: Dean 

  1. About 10% of registered voters in IA attend a caucus. The polls we see are of "likely voters", which means that the person has voted in one of the last few general elections - they didn't have to vote in a recent primary or caucus. The same people who are not likely to go to a caucus are the same ones who have not paid close attention to the candidates until recently, and are likely to have changed their mind recently. People that have been paying close attention to the candidates and are more likely to go to the caucus have probably chosen their candidate for some time.
  2. Of those why may have changed their mind recently, many have shifted from Dean to another candidate. Edward's meteoric rise was due to a recent endorsement by the Des Moines Register, IA's largest paper. When it comes time to stand at the caucus, people will think to themselves, "Gee, Edwards looked pretty good from that endorsement, but I've been thinking (candidate X) was my candidate for a while ... I'd better stick with my instincts."
  3. Dean's campaign has blown all the others out of the water concerning getting first time voters excited. Plus, many are used to going to Dean "House parties". They'll think of the caucus as another house party and will turn out in droves.
  4. No poll we've seen has included the force of the first-time voters Dean has supposedly got fired up: they haven't voted in any previous election, so are not considered "likely voters".

Update, after midnight: Well, I also stocked up on lentils and rice before Y2K.

I'm not as surprised that Dean came in 3rd as much as I am at how distant a third it was. I've no explanation for why Kerry did so well (you can easily become Governor of Minnesota with 38% of the vote in the General Election) - I'm guessing (hoping?) this will be an anomaly. I'm pleasantly shocked that Edwards did as well as he did: this could be explained by the high turnout of "anybody but Bush" Democrats, who took the nod to Edwards from Iowa's newspapers. At one point early on, Edwards was the most intriguing to me; I didn't pursue the interest after it was clear his poll numbers weren't rising ... perhaps with this amazing showing in Iowa and a good showing (or win) in South Carolina, I'll have to turn my eyes to Edwards once again.

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