Friday, August 03, 2007

Edwards' Downward Spiral

In response to a recent post briefly noting that John Edwards' campaign appears dead in the water, one of our commenters wrote: "Edwards has a good chance of winning Iowa. See Friday's Post. Edwards is in a statistical dead heat in Iowa. If he wins or finishes second their and backs it up with first in S.C. then that's your nominee."

Let's examine that.

It is true that in today's Washington Post-ABC News Poll, Edwards is in a three-way tie with Clinton and Obama. That's NOT good news for Edwards. Although Iowa polls are notoriously tricky--trying to figure out who'll actually vote in a caucus is tough--until recently Edwards had a good lead in most Iowa polls, with Hillary second, Obama well back and no one else registering above 2% (unless you included Al Gore).

In the past month to six weeks, however, Edwards has steadily slipped in the polls, Hillary has stayed about the same, Obama has risen and Richardson has risen. Edwards has no momentum at all in Iowa. Essentially, his early lead, built on four years in the state following a solid second in the '04 race, has evaporated. We think a lot of the remaining Edwards supporters in Iowa are going to start making a decision between Hillary or Obama and Edwards will continue to slip.

The same is happening to Edwards in the early primary states and in national polls. In South Carolina, Edwards has never come close to leading any poll, and he's not likely to do well. Hillary and Obama are both well-liked in SC and most Democrats there don't have the time of day for Edwards.

In New Hampshire, Edwards is in free-fall, falling behind Richardson in some polls.

Edwards is also falling among the Netroots--he peaked in the monthly Daily Kos poll four months ago, and has been sliding ever since while both Obama and Hillary move up.

Part of the recent slide is because of Edwards' disastrous poverty tour. He's not RFK, and poverty just doesn't resonate as an issue today. The rest is that Edwards has no substance. He's had no job over the past four years besides running for President. He may be the son of a millworker, but he's building an energy guzzling 28,000 square foot house. Yes, RFK came from a wealthy family with several large homes, but at least he didn't build them himself while he was doing his poverty tour.

We don't know who the Democrats will nominate. But we are pretty sure it won't be John Edwards.

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