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More Good News for Edwards in Iowa

Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards held a commanding lead over Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.) in a poll of likely Iowa caucus goers released Wednesday.

The poll showed Edwards with 36 percent, Clinton with 16 percent and Obama -- the newest and most talked about member of the 2008 Democratic field -- with 13 percent. Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack took just nine percent of the vote, while Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry -- who used a win in the 2004 Iowa caucuses to catapult himself to the presidential nomination -- clocked in at six percent. Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware took 5 percent, retired Gen. Wesley Clark took four percent and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson finished last with two percent.

The survey was conducted Oct. 12-19 by Paul Harstad for the advocacy group Environmental Defense. It tested 602 likely Democratic caucus goers and had a four percent margin of error. It's worth noting that Harstad was the pollster for Vilsack's 1998 and 2002 campaigns and knows Iowa. He also polled for Obama in 2004 and is rumored to be the pollster of choice should the Illinois Senator make a national bid.

This is the second poll of Iowa caucusgoers that has shown Edwards at the top of the heap -- the first was in June and showed Edwards at 30 percent to Clinton's 26 percent. Obama was not tested.

That's enough data for The Fix to label him the Iowa frontrunner heading into 2007. That status is a double edged-sword for Edwards. On the one hand, his strong early showing in Iowa is sure to help him raise money early next year and may also deflate a bit of the Barack balloon that has swelled to massive proportions in recent weeks. On the other hand, Edwards as frontrunner raises the expectations for the former North Carolina Senator. If he doesn't win in Iowa it could well hamstring his campaign in Nevada, New Hampshire and beyond.

Still, any candidate -- with the possible exceptions of Clinton and Obama -- would gladly trade places with Edwards right now.

In the bad news category, both Vilsack and Kerry have to be dispirited by the results of the Harstad poll. Vilsack has now finished fourth in both surveys done of likely 2008 caucusgoers. If he can't finish in the top three come Jan. 14, 2008, his dreams of the White House are finished. After finishing third in the previous Iowa caucus poll, Kerry dropped to fifth this time around -- a bad omen for the Massachusetts Senator's chances of becoming the first Democrat since Adlai Stevenson to serve as his party's nominee in consecutive presidential elections.

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 14, 2006; 2:00 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Next: The Friday Senate Line: Early Look at '08


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Posted by: Alexandro | December 31, 2006 3:51 AM | Report abuse

I agree, this poll doesn't mean much, and until maybe this time next year this is nothing more than an interesting way to pass time. The best thing that could happen is for both HRC and Obama to drop out of the race now, because neither can win a presidential election without major missteps or an implosion on the other side. And it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out. Unfortunately, hillhi's comments are 100% accurate. Given a choice between a barely competent white man, and a female or a black candidate, the white man will win. This is starting to feel more like a high school election, where all the candidates still believe their own hype. Having said that, I'm afraid the Democrats are between a rock and a hard place: The frontrunners can't win a national election, and the "electable" candidates who would do very well in office can't get elected. But they've got at least 6 more months to figure it out...

Posted by: Softnote | December 18, 2006 5:28 PM | Report abuse

If/when Obama announces, his numbers will certainly climb. He's on an amazing upward swing. The question is when will it level off? Without major blunder I would expect him to finish first or second in Iowa.

Posted by: tom | December 18, 2006 2:02 PM | Report abuse

I'm originally from well-meaning but backward Kansas, but have lived many places, gov't veterinarian who did grad school in Colorado, have lived in/extensive time in/familiar with most regions of the country. As wrong as it is, I'm unsure that a black or woman can get 50.1% in enough states to win the electoral votes. Joe Klein gets it, said on Chris Matthews about a discount--folks say one thing, vote differently, and I believe that's true for many older & less-educated voters.

Posted by: hillhi | December 18, 2006 10:26 AM | Report abuse

This poll is worthless. It's two months out and a lot has happened since then. Obama and Hillary's stock his risen quite considerably. Hillary's especially just look at Charlie Cook's latest poll her numbers have shot up. There is just no way she's behind that much in Iowa. I think the June Iowa register poll is closer to the truth. Hillary and Edwards are about even in Iowa and she hasn't been there once when he's there all the time. Wait till August of next year before we make any more assumptions!

Posted by: Blaine | December 18, 2006 2:37 AM | Report abuse

This poll is worthless. It's two months out and a lot has happened since then. Obama and Hillary's stock his risen quite considerably. Hillary's especially just look at Charlie Cook's latest poll her numbers have shot up. There is just no way she's behind that much in Iowa. I think the June Iowa register poll is closer to the truth. Hillary and Edwards are about even in Iowa and she hasn't been there once when he's there all the time. Wait till August of next year before we make any more assumptions!

Posted by: Blaine | December 18, 2006 2:30 AM | Report abuse

I might endorse Senator John Edwards on my blog, check it out on I see him as a strong contender for the Democratic party when previously I was for Senator Hilary Clinton before seeing him on Hardball with Chris Matthews on the Chapel Hill University tour. I blog for political correctness and world peace. I really don't know much about Obama. I know Hilary is an achiever for what she believes in but I see Sen. John Edwards as a man of principles and ideas that are more opptimistic and idealistic for America. Any way, sorry for the run-ons but it is late and I am tired.

Posted by: Pwingy | December 17, 2006 1:41 AM | Report abuse

Any presidential polls this early are measuring little more than name recognition. In late 2003, the Post was writing about John Kerry's "longshot" presidential bid.

Campaigns matter. Until they start, these polls mean next to nothing.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | December 16, 2006 5:57 PM | Report abuse

What, no support for Dennis Kucinich? Or Mike Gravel?

Henry Clay lost the presidency three times. He should've been president at some point.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | December 16, 2006 5:50 PM | Report abuse

You referred to the "chances of becoming the first Democrat since Adlai Stevenson to serve as his party's nominee in consecutive presidential elections." Jimmy Carter was the Democratic nominee in 1976 and 1980, and Bill Clinton was the Democratic nominee in 1992 and 1996.

Posted by: Ken | December 16, 2006 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Edwards To Announce After Christmas In New Orleans


Posted by: Rob | December 16, 2006 3:15 PM | Report abuse

William is right when he says that Clark appears to be the best candidate for POTUS. Good moderate, military experience, electable red-state credentials and on the Dems side for hot button issues.

However, he has even less political experience than Edwards. And if 2004 is anything to go by he's certainly not as good at campaigning.

You imagine that a Clark/ (Bayh/Warner/Sebelius) ticket would make gains in the House and Senate a certainty for the Dems.

Posted by: JayPe | December 15, 2006 7:44 PM | Report abuse

"hate to break it to you but there's more to being president than getting people to like you. It takes a lot of serious management skills, understanding of the issues, and being able to provide leadership."

What you are actually defining is what a real President should do. The present POTUS has plenty of leadership, poor management skills and doesn't understnad the issues. Gore had all three in spades and lost, while Kerry was better on these criteria than Bush.

In fact, you could say Bush beat Gore and Kerry cos he smeared them so people didn't like them. And he was "likeable" (as even Obama says in AoH).

Hopefully the American people have learnt what is needed in a POTUS, but I wouldn't bet on it. It seems to be degrading into a popularity contest, and in the Dems case an "Electability Pageant".

Posted by: JayPe | December 15, 2006 7:39 PM | Report abuse

JimD -- good analysis as always. I really like Clark as well and would be thrilled with him as POTUS. Probably hard for him to find the traction necessary to fundraise amongst the other candidates though. I think Obama will end up surprising people with his performance, but I certainly could be wrong about that. Also, I think Edwards has a bit more substance than you give him credit for. He actually counters attacks regarding his "trial lawyer" days quite effectively and I think he will perform much more effectively this go-round since positioning himself for the VP spot is simply not an option.

Regardless of whose at the top of the ticket, however, I agree that Sebelius would be a fantastic VP. Quite simply, she is FANTASTIC.

Posted by: Colin | December 15, 2006 2:14 PM | Report abuse

I was surprised to learn that Elizabeth Edwards is Italian, her maiden name is Anania (if I remember correctly, that's ann-a-nia, not a-nannyuh, for Chris Matthews benefit.)

I bet CC knows how to pronounce it properly. Iowa is occasionally awash with political talk about names that end in vowels. Matthews needs to ask Yepsen what that means.

It won't hurt John Edwards in Iowa or Des Moines to let the folks there, especially on the south side, know his wife is "one of them."

Posted by: JEP | December 15, 2006 1:14 PM | Report abuse


"I'm a Democrat, and I'm already poking holes in Edwards." Why would you want to do that, if you are a Democrat?

You may think your points are valid, but they seem ridiculous and slanted to some people.

You should learn to support Hillary positively, not by trashing Edwards. His supporters are loyal and inspired, in Iowa in particular, but Hillary seems to be losing support.

So why ARE you so determined to make Edwards look bad, instead try making Hillary look good. It is not a hard thing to do, she wuld make a great President if she won.

Just remember,this is Iowa we are talking about, the land of Leach and Loebsack, the tiny, honorable island of gentlemen candidates and campaigning.

Trashing Edwards doesn't help Hillary OR Vilsack in Iowa, but you seem determined to use that strategy here on this blog.

But, I guess we all have a job to do.

I just suggest that you might learn from the Dean/Gephart slugfest, Iowans don't like bullies, and you occasionally sound like one, waiting to jump on the dogpile the moment someone gets tackled.

Be logical...its going to be a lot easier for the sleaze machine to pummel "Bill Clinton's wife" than it will be for them to pummel "a trial lawyer"...

Posted by: JEP | December 15, 2006 12:42 PM | Report abuse

The only Democrat who has polled ahead of Rudy and McCain is Edwards.

ANd he's leading in Iowa and other early voting primary states?

Time marches on, and the media trivializes the truth, if these were Hillary's numbers, it would be headline news, but since its Jon Edwards, the MSM is not going tomake much of it, other Edwards supporters might be inspired to get even more active, and then Hillary might actually decide not to run and therefor not spend her quarter-billion dollar war chest on WaPo and other big media advertising.

So once again, here's a story that the MSM will hush up, hoping the public's obvious will isn't made obvious.

But when the Edwards tide rises, (Dean rode a temporary wave, this "Edwards tide" is much more pervasive, inclusive and abiding) it won't be as easy to ignore or trivialize.

Posted by: JEP | December 15, 2006 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Edwards is an ambulance chasing trial lawyer. He's about as low as you get on the scumbag lawyer rung in my humble opinion. If he were the leading candidate you can bet the republicans would hammer home that fact over and over and over in political mud slinging. There is no way I'd vote for Edwards and I, as stated above, really hate the republicans.

Posted by: Christopher Harrison | December 14, 2006 04:33 PM


Do you think, in your infinite idiocy and rank political naivety, that the GOP didn't already try to hammer Edwards for being a trial lawyer?


Or are you just too ignorant and repressed to engage in rational thought?

Which is it?

Posted by: ThunderHawk | December 15, 2006 12:04 PM | Report abuse

There was an Edwards' surge on caucus night, January 2004, primarily because folks in the Gephardt, Kucinich and Dean camps weren't able to meet their threshhold numbers in many precincts and got folded into Edwards.

That's a credit to the Edwards' camp, but looking toward 08 it's noteworthy to point out that those 04 numbers were artificially inflated.

That having been said, Edwards has made several stops and remains well liked. Kerry won the state. Clinton has the highest name ID. Vilsack is the Governor.
Someone like Obama, it seems to be, would be lucky to finish 4th place in Iowa.

Posted by: quad cities | December 15, 2006 11:45 AM | Report abuse

I have always maintained that Hillary Clinton is too divisive to win the election. She would doom a lot of red state Democratic congressmen. I am decidedly less than enthusiastic about the current crop of contenders. Obama is intriguing but not experienced enough. Edwards is a lightweight and his trial lawyer background would be an easy target for attack ads. Kerry and Gore are has-beens. Kucinich seems to be vying for the role of the Democratic Alan Keyes (or Harold Stassen for those with long memories). The two best resumes belong to Governor Richardson and General Clark. I think that the Wen Ho Lee case will be an albatross for Richardson.

I believe that the Democrats have had problems in presidential elections because a significant segment of the electorate do not trust them on national security issues. The only post-Vietnam elections won by Democrats were in 1976 (immediately after Watergate and the Nixon pardon and Carter nearly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory) and Clinton's elections in '92 and '96. Clinton was elected after the fall of the Soviet Union and before 9/11. National security issues paled against "the economy, stupid". Wesley Clark is, in my humble opinion, the ideal candidate for the Democrats. He is moderately liberal and an early opponent of the Iraq war. Despite his generally moderate views, the liberal blogosphere loves him. It will be very difficult for the right-wing noise machine to characterize a retired four star general as weak on national defense (that won't stop them from trying, but it won't work). He has extensive executive and foreign policy experience. As NATO Commander and US Southern Command Commander (responsible for Central and South America) Clark definitely has diplomatic exprience. That is a prime responsibility of such posts. As Vice-President, I would suggest a Democratic governor of a red state - like Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas.

Posted by: JimD in FL | December 15, 2006 11:21 AM | Report abuse

If the current political environment exists in 2008, it won't matter who the Democratic party nominates -- they'll be the next POTUS. Also, no offense to William but his advice regarding a Democratic nominee would be akin to Republicans actually giving stock to Michael Moore's recommendations for the GOP nod. In other words, if William likes them a majority of Dems almost certainly do not.

Posted by: Colin | December 15, 2006 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Three points need to be made here:

First, early Iowa polls, especially those taken more than a year before the caucuses, are virtually meaningless. Remember last time? Howard Dean had a commanding lead in the Iowa polls taken just a month before the caucuses, and John Kerry's numbers were dropping like a rock. Of course, we didn't start getting a true picture of how it would turn out until about a week prior.

Second, failed vice presidential nominees like John Edwards are not historically successful in subsequently getting their party's presidential nomination. Since the dawn of the 20th century, only two vice presidential nominees from a major party whose ticket lost, without first winning, have been able to subsequently capture their party's presidential nomination. These two were Franklin Roosevelt, who was the VP nominee on a losing ticket in 1920 before winning the Democratic presidential nomination in 1932; and Bob Dole, who was the VP nominee on a losing ticket in 1976 before winning the Republican presidential nomination in 1996. And in Dole's case, it took three tries, as he lost his bids for the GOP nomination in 1980 and 1988.

Third, Hillary cannot afford to be blown out in Iowa by anyone but Vilsack. If she does get blown out (and a 20-point loss, even in second place, is a blowout), then she's toast. It won't matter how much money she has or how high her national polls are at the time. All of that would evaporate with a thumping in Iowa. It's interesting that her poll numbers seem to be dropping precipitously in Iowa, even though she's a known quantity. That's a bad omen for her. When it happened to Kerry in the months leading up to the 2004 Iowa Caucuses, he was still relatively unknown nationally.

Posted by: Terry Mitchell | December 15, 2006 9:36 AM | Report abuse

"I've got so much on my mind, and this job is so exciting that it's really hard to settle down and plan the next 10 years of our life."

People's interviewer also mentioned that readers had asked if he takes sleep aids. Bush said generally not, but he does occasionally when he travels.

"I must tell you, I'm sleeping a lot better than people would assume," he said.'

Why? Because he doesn't know what's going on -- and he doesn't really give a damn.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 15, 2006 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Visually impaired Texans, grab your rifles! State Representative Edmund Kuempel has introduced an amendment that would allow blind people to hunt game using laser sights (not even Cheney could miss!). Currently prohibited, such sights would greatly assist the guides of blind sportsman to aim and say when to shoot at the animals.

According to Kuempel, a Republican from the San Antonio area, "this opens up the fun of hunting to additional people, and I think that's great." While few people would argue that the visually impaired aren't entitled to enjoy life to its full extent, is allowing them to shoot guns in public areas really such a "great" idea? If the measure passes, as expected in 2008, should we anticipate similar legislation allowing blind people to compete at auto racing?

Posted by: Anonymous | December 15, 2006 8:06 AM | Report abuse

The NYT fronts word out of the Homeland Security Department that the United States is giving up on efforts to track visitors and determine whether they actually leave the country. Officials say creating the program with the existing equipment would be too expensive and reports say it will take anywhere from five to 10 years before new technology is created.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 15, 2006 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, the Army's chief of staff, said it was imperative that the Army increases its numbers for what he characterized as a long and dangerous war. "At this pace, without recurrent access to the reserve components, through remobilization, we will break the active component," he said. Schoomaker also seemed skeptical of the idea that more ground troops should be sent to Iraq. "We should not surge without a purpose, and that purpose should be measurable and get us something," he said.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 15, 2006 7:55 AM | Report abuse

As an active Iowa Caucus goer, and a party activist who is heavily involved in the Iowa Democratic Party, let me say that most of what I have read on Edwards misses the point.

From Jan. 2003 until Dec. 2003, Edwards polled around 5 percent. On Caucus night, (Jan. 20, 2004) he got 32 percent. That's one heck of a jump in the final month. He did this with FAR less money than Dean (the front runner at the time), Kerry (the winner of the Caucuses), and Gephardt. Edwards went the farthest with the least resources. He was able to pull it off by building strong, loyal support among Caucus goers.

Many of the same people who supported Edwards in the 04 Caucus (32 percent) are still very loyal to him. That would explain why the last two polls here in Iowa show him with a 30-36 percent level of support. Don't discount the loyalty factor among Caucus goers.

Posted by: Jack | December 15, 2006 3:32 AM | Report abuse

If the political climate in 2008 is the same as it is now, and if the Dems do even an average job in the 100th congress, your party will win the election with ease, and probably increase your majorities in both houses.

Voters are tired of 8 yrs of GOP rule.

All you have to do to win is offer the American people a reasonable ticket.

Clark, Bayh, Warner (VP), and others are reasonable, and will appeal not only to the liberal base but to a lot of moderates, and even some libertarians who have become disillusioned with the GOP.

Hillary, Kucinich, Obama, and to some extent, Edwards, are not reasonable candidates for various reasons.

So the choice is yours: Go with your dream nominee and throw away a golden opportunity, or choose a more electable nominee and win.

I don't see why you all aren't enthusiastic about Clark.

He has red state credentials, a military backgroud, is from the south, but also, he was anti-Iraq from the beginning, is pro-affirmative action, pro-environment, pro-choice, etc.

He seems to fit all of your beliefs.

Posted by: William | December 15, 2006 1:51 AM | Report abuse

JayPe, hate to break it to you but there's more to being president than getting people to like you. It takes a lot of serious management skills, understanding of the issues, and being able to provide leadership. I have yet to see any sign that Edwards has done this. Instead, he seems to be treating the election like a popularity contest. In fact, his fbrazen lip-flopping on issues (Iraq, trade, etc) seems to suggest that he doesn't have the moral fiber to be president.

As for Edwards in 04, its true the VP shouldn't outshine the candidate, but usually they bring something to the table. With Cheney in 00, it was a gravitas of competence. With Gore in 92 it was a balance to Clinton's lack of experience in foreign policy. The only thing Edwards seemed to bring was his good looks.

I'm a Democrat, and I'm already poking holes in Edwards. The Republicans will not be as merciful as I am with him in a general election. There's no reason to lose in 08, particularly with a crowd of good Dem candidates (Richardson, Clark, Bayh, Clinton, even Obama), so let's lay off the Edwards thing.

Posted by: FreeDom | December 15, 2006 12:52 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, the last two anonymous posts are by me...

Posted by: JayPe | December 14, 2006 10:43 PM | Report abuse

William in his post on Edwards makes a number of ridiculous points:
1. "His only political experience is ONE term in the Senate (though it makes him seem like Robert Byrd compared to Obama), and he is already a spent force, just like Al Gore."

The senate is not a good place to bring up a President. Being around 'the people' while campaigning, and doing things like food drives is surely not a bad way to represent the people?
(Furthermore, Gore is not a spent force. He's far better than the current WH occupant)

2. "Voters took a look at Edwards, and didn't like what the saw."

Voters loved what they saw in Edwards, they just didn't like Kerry. Fair enough too, the guy was a bad choice. A Edwards/Kerry ticket would have done much better.

3. "Remember in 2004 how Cheney destroyed Edwards in the debate?"

Um, no he didn't. However Cheney was not embarressed like Bush was the week before in the first POTUS debate.

However, I will agree with William that Bayh & Clark are well worth a look for POTUS - if they perform well during the upcoming campaign. Their 'moderate with red credentials' should serve them very well. But they need to perform well when the campaign starts, something they haven't done yet (but which Edwards has).

Posted by: Anonymous | December 14, 2006 10:30 PM | Report abuse

FreedDom mentions "Edwards' conspicuous inability to carry his home state or really help the campaign much at all"

I think Edwards is hard done by if we criticise his General Election performance. He was much much better than Kerry, and I think he was forced to make sure he didn't overshadow him. His performances in the primaries (and in NC in '98) and his campaign looking to '08
show a seriously good campaigner...

Posted by: Anonymous | December 14, 2006 10:17 PM | Report abuse

But when is Edwards going to announce? I'm hearing rumors that it'll be after Xmas.

(this is a fun and informative piece on JRE)


Posted by: pp | December 14, 2006 7:28 PM | Report abuse

"Voters took a look at Edwards, and didn't like what the saw." ?????????!!!!!

The above statement posted by "William" is absurd. Edwards shot up from single digits in Iowa in Jan. '04 to almost win the caucus. The media ignored him, but he still did well in states where he could focus time/money like SC, GA, WI, OK, and OH. This poll is the 2nd this year that showns him with a solid lead in Iowa. I wish the media would acknowlege that there are other candidates besides Obama/Hillary.

I agree with William, however, about Vilsack. WHy waste the time/money to run when he will have to camp out in his home state to try to grasp a meaningless victory?

Posted by: Grant Schott | December 14, 2006 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Evan Bayh has been riding his father's name for most of his political career. And sure he is a moderate, but what does he stand for? That is something Americans look for in a candidate more than standing in the middle of the field. McCain is fairly conservative, but has wide appeal because he takes principled stands on certain issues.

Sure, Obama has star power. Two years ago most people had never heard of him. But his big challenge in 2004 was a carpetbagging Alan Keyes, somebody it takes trouble not to defeat. The primaries may well tear him apart. There is no way he can run for president and maintain his "above politics" image. And experience? Let's see, inaugerated Jan 2005, it is now Dec 2006... So a little under two years. The keynote address, a sweeping victory, the biggest name in the party, and what has he done with all his political capitol? Nothing. And he is already thinking of running for president? We may well be witnessing the fastest rise of a career politician ever.

Feingold really should have run.

Posted by: D | December 14, 2006 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Vilsack is not terribly popular in Iowa. He wasn't that good of a governor, and people are sick of him, which is why he is doing poorly in the polls.

Also, he has absolutely NO charisma. Governor blah, you might call him.

He represents Iowa to a tee. Dull, boring, and bland.

Your best bet is either Bayh or Clark as the presidential nominee, with the other man (depending on which of those two has the top spot) as VP, or Bredesen or Warner as VP.

That is a killer ticket against McCain, who will probably win the GOp primary.

Posted by: William | December 14, 2006 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Will all of you give up on Edwards already?

His only political experience is ONE term in the Senate (though it makes him seem like Robert Byrd compared to Obama), and he is already a spent force, just like Al Gore.

Voters took a look at Edwards, and didn't like what the saw.

In debates, he is going to have to articulate an understanding of other issues besides poverty.

Remember in 2004 how Cheney destroyed Edwards in the debate?

The same will probably happen again.

He has too little experience to make a credible nominee, and is a spent force.

Also, he looks as if he is about 12.

Give up on him and Obama already. Hillary is also a loser.

If you actually want to WIN, go with Clark or Bayh.

But who am I, a lowly "winger", to tell the mighty Democrats what they should do?

No, go ahead and run a Clinton-Obama or Edwards-Obama ticket.

And when you LOSE, and wind up not only bereft of the White House, but back in the minority in the House AND Senate after only 2 years, don't whine, because it is obviously more important to you to choose the candidate who fits your views the best, and who appeals to the far left, rather than a candidate who can actually WIN.

Posted by: William | December 14, 2006 6:22 PM | Report abuse

The part about the steak was in jest, but I DO think it is more beneficial to our country to spend taxpayer money either on helping our OWN citizens, or strengthening our military, or on other important programs, like NASA, or paying off the national debt.

It isn't our responsibility to spend billions of dollars on poor people all over the world, when we have dire need of that money for our own programs.

By the way, I do donate a lot of money to charities that help poor people each year, and I volunteer for food drives, etc.

I also donate to the NRA :)

But my main point was that even though it would be nice to spend billions of dollars trying to eliminate poverty, there are far more vital things that it can be spent on.

And anyway, as you admitted, usually anti-poverty programs are corrupt, and your donation is used to buy the director a BMW instead of helping poor people.

Posted by: William | December 14, 2006 6:15 PM | Report abuse

We know Edwards has a very positive standing in Iowa, so the poll gives us nothing new from that point of view. But I must confess surprise that Biden's as high as 5%. And where's Bayh? He's been spending a lot of time in Iowa recently but he doesn't even seem to be one of the options.

Vilsack's numbers either mean:
a) people don't think he has a chance, or
b) people are looking for the next new thing, they've seen Vilsack before.

If it's (a), then if he can raise a bit of cash and start getting some name recognition elsewhere that should go up.
If it's (b), then bad luck, he has no show. he should have been a governor from somewhere else!

Posted by: JayPe | December 14, 2006 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Edwards has certainly wasted the two years since his Senate term ended by founding a think tank in North Carolina dedicated to finding solutions to the poverty issues facing Americans today. God knows poverty isn't a legitimate issue in this country, much less one with which the Democratic Party should concern itself. And if Katrina taught us anything, it's that we as a nation should be proud of what we've done to take care of our less-fortunate neighbors.

Oh, wait. Sorry - back in the real world now. Edwards has done more to help real people and solve real issues in the two years since he left the Senate than 98 percent of the people currently serving in the body have in their careers. If we're going to criticize candidates, let's criticize them for real faults, not imagined ones.

Posted by: Sarah | December 14, 2006 6:05 PM | Report abuse

By the way, I can name plenty of "uncivilized" parts of the world that are pro-American, and plenty of others that were pro-American before we invaded Iraq. Indonesia is but one good example, its being the largest Muslim country in the world. Burma is another (despite its government).

Posted by: FreeDom | December 14, 2006 5:46 PM | Report abuse

As someone who has family in those "uncivilized" parts of the world, I find William's comments somewhat offensive. Believe it or not, most people don't like being poor, but don't have the resources to escape poverty. I think donating money to effective (a big if, admittedly) anti-poverty programs in Asia is much more useful than the NRA. William, please tell me your post was in jest!

Posted by: FreeDom | December 14, 2006 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Who cares about the Millenium Development goals?

All they are is a misguided plan by leftist supporters of a one world government to waste hard-earned tax payer money in places like Somalia and India.

Charity begins at home. Congress has no business wasting the citizens' money to provide for uncivilized peoples who hate us anyway.

It would be much more useful and beneficial to spend that money on more F/A-22s and ballistic missile shield research so we will be better prepared to go to war against China, Iran and North Korea.

Tonight for dinner I will eat a nice, fat, juicy steak with some Merlot wine, and think about all the starving people in Africa and Asia and South America WHILE I'm eating.

And then instead of donating money to charity, I will donate to the NRA.



Posted by: William | December 14, 2006 5:39 PM | Report abuse

... or maybe even someone we would be proud to have occupying the office of the President of the United States!

Posted by: Amy | December 14, 2006 5:31 PM | Report abuse

JD, not sure how wartime experience helps make one an executive. I think Kerry showed that wartime experience isn't what its cracked up to be.

We should be careful about choosing someone who fits into a mold ("Southern," "veteran," etc.) but rather see who might actually attract stand up best to Republican attacks.

Posted by: FreeDom | December 14, 2006 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget, the poll was also taken before Kucinich announced he was running.

... Hey, a little humor always helps

Posted by: Dave | December 14, 2006 5:10 PM | Report abuse

I would really like to see Clark get in there. I think if someone lit a fire under his ass he could really get up there. More wartime experience than either of the three senators, which makes him more of an executive than any of them. He's also seasoned and intelligent, and could be the strong man to rely on.

Posted by: JD | December 14, 2006 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Actually, Adlai Stevenson is not the last Democrat to serve as his party's nominee in consecutive presidential elections. That would be Bill Clinton.

Posted by: I. Libbus | December 14, 2006 5:01 PM | Report abuse

They left out frm. Gov and current Sen. Evan Bayh from Indiana. No more east coast liberals, please!

Posted by: Hoosier | December 14, 2006 4:52 PM | Report abuse

I hate Bush and his ilk more than most, but the democratic candidates, aside from Obama, do not stand a chance. Hillary is too disliked in this country to win a presidential election. If it came down to me voting for Hillary or a republican, I'd vote for a third party candidate or write in someone. Edwards is an ambulance chasing trial lawyer. He's about as low as you get on the scumbag lawyer rung in my humble opinion. If he were the leading candidate you can bet the republicans would hammer home that fact over and over and over in political mud slinging. There is no way I'd vote for Edwards and I, as stated above, really hate the republicans. I think Obama would be a good strong candidate and I think the dems should run him. I also think Obama is too black for the ignorant people that voted for Bush TWICE to stand a chance of winning. But I think it is time we ran a black candidate (one that isn't a religious nutjob) and see if the country will vote for him.

Posted by: Christopher Harrison | December 14, 2006 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Another point - Obama essentially steals Edwards' message of hope and delivers it in a much more effective way. Obama doesn't scare of moderates and conservatives the way Edwards might. Nor does he bring back memories of the 2004 flop - and Edwards' conspicuous inability to carry his home state or really help the campaign much at all.

Furthermore, Edwards is probably the only politician running who has LESS experience than Obama (Obama's state plus federal experience is more than Edwards' 6 years). That can't possibly look good.

Posted by: FreeDom | December 14, 2006 4:18 PM | Report abuse

To a degree I agree with Bobby Wightman-Cervantes...BUT only to a degree. Hillary can been seen as a constant morph. However I don't think that a true outsider can win this election cycle. So the best alternative would actually be Sen. Obama, not your average politician and definitely a straight shooter. I think Sen. Obama will leap HRC in the polls the next time they are released for Iowa. Having worked on the JFK/JE 04 campaign, and I would have been dissappointed in JE if he hadn't been polling in first with all of the visits and infrastructure he already has in place in Iowa. Look for Sen. Obama to leapfrog the pack upon his announcement.

Jason Owens
Oregon Chapter

Posted by: J.L. Owens | December 14, 2006 4:08 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the poster who said that Edwards is essentially a glorified homemaker right now. He's basically been campaigning in Iowa for the past 2 years without a real job to go to. I think once the other candidates start to actually campaign, we'll see some shifts. I think Clark and Obama particularly could see some upward movement.

It is worrying for HRC that she's not ahead, but not fatal. In fact, it may be better if she is not the overwhelming frontrunner, and comes back from behind a la Kerry in 2004. Thus, if Edwards is the man to beat in Iowa, the negative focus will be on him and he will be pummeled.

Posted by: FreeDom | December 14, 2006 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Henry Clay lost non-consecutive attempts, once as National Republican in 1832 and in 1844 as a Whig.

VP Nominees-
Franklin D. Roosevelt lost as VP nominee in 1920 with Cox and went on to become President in 1932 (re-elected in 1936, 1940, 1944).

John Tyler was VP nominee with White for the Whigs in 1836 and lost and then become VP for Harrison in 1840 and became President upon Harrisons death.

Bob Dole was VP nominee w/Ford in 1976 losing and then becoming 1996 GOP Presidential nominee (lost).

Earl Warren was the VP nominee in 1948 with Dewey and lost. He became Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court.

Posted by: RMill | December 14, 2006 3:57 PM | Report abuse

The poll is not totally useless for what it tells us - HRC is not on top - and why - the people do not want a candidate whose face changes with the political winds - the people want a str8 shooter who is stately, and seasoned enough in terms of real experience to lead the country

HRC is none of these things - today to my shock Susan Sarandon on the View made clear that she does not support HRC because she is not a str8 shooter, -

The people are tired of politicians - the non-politician will win

I believe the only person out there who meets all of the standars is Wes Clark - if the polls have him in the top 3 within two months of announcing, it will be a done deal - Clark will be president

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes

Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | December 14, 2006 3:46 PM | Report abuse

My mistake-

William Bryan also ran and lost in 1908.

So he and Pinckney are the three time losers.

Posted by: RMill | December 14, 2006 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Another interesting hostrocial connection of losing candidates-

Adlai E. Stevenson II (D)
nominee lost in 1952, 1956

His grandfather Adlai E. Stevenson I was Grover Cleveland's Vice President 1892-1896 and was on the losing ticket as VP with William Bryan in 1900.

Posted by: RMill | December 14, 2006 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Other historical goodies-

William Bryan (D) ran unsuccessfully in 1896 and 1900.

Charles Pinckney (Federalist) ran unsuccessfully in 1800,1804,1808 the only three time loser from a major American political party.

Rufas King (Federalist)was VP candidate in 1808 on losing ticket with Pinckney. Ran as Presidential nominee of the federalists in 1816 and also lost (not so good news for failed VP candidate Edwards).

Posted by: RMill | December 14, 2006 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Edwards is good on the poverty issue. If he were elected, the Millennium Development Goals would have a better chance of being met. According to the Borgen Project, that is a good thing!

Posted by: Ashley | December 14, 2006 3:31 PM | Report abuse

The answer is Thomas Dewey 1944,1948

Posted by: RMill | December 14, 2006 3:17 PM | Report abuse

True, the poll is not recent, but it is the most recent poll. Good news for Edwards.

Posted by: bo | December 14, 2006 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone analyzed why Vilsack is polling in single digits in his own state? Is it simply a matter of "we like him, but he can't win"?

Also, just to be a troublemaker: tons of Democrats have been their party's nominee in consecutive elections. What you mean is Kerry would be the first non-President to be renominated by the Democrats since Adlai.

In the spirit of bipartisanship- who's the last REPUBLICAN non-President to be nominated in consectuive elections? It's not Nixon (thanks to Barry Goldwater).

Posted by: howlless | December 14, 2006 2:57 PM | Report abuse

This poll is a non-story.

Two months before Nov. 7, we were talking about the impending Republican surge, Mark Foley was a lock to win reelection, Harold Ford was up by about five points and there was no way in hell the Democrats would win the Senate, and they were probably 50-50 on taking the House.

Since this poll, Obamania has started and Vilsack has declared. Oh, and John Kerry accidentally called the troops stupid.

If you are going to have this blog, shouldn't you hold yourself to some sort of standards... preferrably standards higher than those of the Des Moines Register? Their headline on this story should have started with one of these phrases: "October Poll shows..." or "Two month old..."

One question for whoever said Edwards would be able to fundraise... from who? Obama is also a well respected attorney. So is Clinton. That was his base last time. And while he's done well talking to unions lately and had their help in 2004, it didn't get him the nomination, and there will once again be alternates to him. Also, he's not in any kind of elected office anymore. Certainly people who gave to him before were figuring they would at least be able to be heard by a Senator should he lose the nomination. Now they'll get an audience with a rich homemaker. Big difference.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 14, 2006 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Have to agree that if this is from October then it is pointless now.
Although if Edwards can keep high ratings in Iowa and can raise the money to compete (and he can) he could win Iowa and roll through the nomination process with that momentum.

Posted by: Andy R | December 14, 2006 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Do you honestly think that Vilsack has a chance if he finishes third. It is the biggest burden possible for Vilsack to hail from the state with the first nominating contest. If he wins, so what, that's to be expected. If he loses, the argument goes, "if he can't win the state where he was governor for eight years, how can he win the Presidency?" If an Iowa disappointment was enough to knock Gephardt out in 2004, surely a Vilsack loss, or win of less than 10 points, will do the same this time around.

Also, Kerry would not be the first repeat nominee since Adlai Stevenson in 1956. Two other Democrats share this distinction (Carter, 1976 and '80; Clinton, 1992 and '96). Kerry would be the first candidate to be renominated after losing the Presidency since Stevenson (who was the first in that category since William Jennings Bryan in 1900), not the first repeat nominee.

Posted by: Steve | December 14, 2006 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the posters above - October was a long time ago when it comes to this race. That doesn't diminish Edwards' popularity in Iowa, but I would expect to see some movement if the poll were taken today.

Posted by: GoBlue girl | December 14, 2006 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Poll wasn't taken by the Register. It was taken before Obamarama, Kerry's "botched" joke, and before Tom Vilsack announced.

October! Not an accurate measurement.

Posted by: Iowan | December 14, 2006 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Chris--You wrote "The survey was conducted Oct. 12-19"

So this poll is accurate from two months ago. A few things have happened since then. I'm surprised you are using this at all--what has happened to your standards?

Posted by: larry Maxcy | December 14, 2006 2:12 PM | Report abuse

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