February 01, 2004

A Two-Man Race

Kerry passed Clark in Oklahoma today, according to Zogby; it's a dead heat, but Kerry has the momentum. If he gets a close second, Clark may still claim to be a factor in the race, but if Edwards wins South Carolina the media will focus on the two Johns.

The latest Albuquerque Journal poll on the New Mexico caucuses shows Kerry well ahead. Dean really is dead as Dillinger.

RealClearPolitics averages out four seperate polls taken from the 28th to the 31st to an 8-point lead for Edwards, but the race can't be read quite that clearly. Michael Graham points out:

What CBS's pollster has done is call a random sample of registered voters and asked them "Do you plan to vote in the primary?" And as any pollster will tell you, nearly everyone says "yes," even if they've never voted in a primary in their lives. Pollsters deal with this by using voting records to call people who have voted in most or all of the recent primaries.

Ooops: There hasn't BEEN a recent primary. Add the fact that South Carolina has open primaries (no party registration) and the pollsters are making total and utter guesses as to who is actually going to show up and vote.

That's true as far as it goes, but that doesn't mean the polls are without value: if the method is consistent, then the trends should show up correctly. Zogby's is the most frequent tracking poll, so it should register trends best; the trouble is that Zogby, with his generally conservative turn-out models, is showing the closest race:

Edwards leads in the Northwest and Coastal regions of South Carolina, but Kerry has moved ahead in the Central region. Kerry also leads among Democrats, while Edwards’ edge is among Independents and cross-over Republicans. The two candidates are very close among voters over 50, while does well among 18-29 year olds. [sic-- who does well among 18-29 year olds??]

Kerry has good support among African Americans, though Sharpton is slowly moving up in his base (at Edwards’ expense). Edwards and Kerry are very close among all ideological groups and tied among both men and women. On one hand, Kerry led for the one-day of polling, as Undecideds creeped up in numbers. On the other hand, Edwards holds a three to one lead among Leaners. South Carolina is very fluid.

My sense is that Edwards' big lead among leaners is a very good sign for him; if turnout is high-- and with all the media buzz in SC it ought to be-- Edwards has a good shot of seeing the late-deciders break to his column.

Edwards thus has a good shot at making it out of Mini-Tuesday as the one viable alternative to Kerry.

Posted by John Tabin at February 1, 2004 11:27 PM
Comments

I sure would like to see Edwards give Kerry a run. Edwards is more honorable. I noticed that Clark said that if he were president "someone from Enron would be in jail." First of all someone from Enron IS in jail and secondly I didn't know we lived in a country where a president could jail someone by fiat.

Best,

LT

Posted by: lee tabin at February 2, 2004 06:42 AM