Friday, November 30, 2007

Hmmm. Good Point.

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 416

The Quote of the Day today comes from Joe Biden, responding to a voter's question at a forum on Iraq in Portsmouth, New Hampshire:

"I know a lot of my opponents out there say I'd be a great secretary of state. Seriously, every one of them. Do you watch any of the debates? 'Joe's right, Joe's right, Joe's right.'

"I ask you a rhetorical question: Are you prepared to vote for anyone - at this moment in our history - as president who is not capable of being secretary of state? Who among my opponents would you consider appointing secretary of state? Seriously. Think about it."

New ARG Iowa Poll: Richardson Dropping Like a Stone

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 416

American Research Group is out with a new Iowa poll this morning that vividly illustrates how fluid the Democratic nomination race in Iowa is now that we're heading into the home stretch.

Of particular interest are the numbers for Bill Richardson. In the previous ARG Iowa survey, conducted November 10-14, Richardson was at 12%; in this latest poll, conducted between November 26-29, Richardson now has the support of just 4% of "Likely Democratic Caucus Goers." No, this is not a typo: Richardson's actual poll result is 4%. If accurate, this poll shows a dramatic collapse of Richardson's backing, with two out of three of the New Mexico Governor's supporters deserting him for other candidates.

Predictably, much of Richardson's lost support has accreted to the top tier, judging by the fact that Obama's support jumped 6 points and Edwards increased by 3 points. But the other surprise in these numbers is Joe Biden increasing from 5% to 8%, his first significant move in months. This is what every candidate prays for going into the climactic phase of the campaign in Iowa: a late surge. If Biden can hold these gains, and then build his numbers into double digits, he stands a serious chance of dramatically exceeding expectations on caucus night.

Overall results:

Nov 10-14 Nov 26-29
Biden 5% 8%
Clinton 27% 25%
Dodd 3% 3%
Edwards 20% 23%
Gravel - -
Kucinich 2% 2%
Obama 21% 27%
Richardson 12% 4%
Undecided 10% 8%

Other highlights:

* 33% of likely caucus participants are undecided (8%) or say that they could switch candidates between now and January 3 (25%).
* 80% of those saying they support Clinton say their support is definite.
* 57% of those saying they support Edwards say their support is definite.
* 75% of those saying they support Obama say their support is definite.
* Among men, Clinton is at 22%, Edwards 22%, and Obama 30%.
* Among women, Clinton is at 28%, Edwards 24%, and Obama 25%.

The soft support number shown for John Edwards is further bad news for his campaign, with 43% of his supporters indicating that they may still end up supporting someone else; this is worrying news for Edwards, even with the 3% gain noted above. Look for John Edwards to continue to weaken over the next few weeks.

Some facts about the poll's methodology:

Sample Size: 600 completed telephone interviews among a random sample of likely Democratic caucus goers living in Iowa (536 Democrats and 64 no party (independent) voters).

Sample Dates: November 26-29, 2007

Margin of Error: ± 4 percentage points, 95% of the time, on questions where opinion is evenly split.

Incidence of Likely Democratic Caucus Participation: 10.5% of Democratic and no party voters.

Question Wording:

If the 2008 Democratic presidential caucus were being held today between (names rotated) Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Christopher Dodd, John Edwards, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, Barack Obama, and Bill Richardson, for whom would you vote?

Would you say that you definitely plan to participate in the 2008 Democratic presidential caucus, that you might participate in the 2008 Democratic presidential caucus, or that you will probably not participate in the 2008 Democratic presidential caucus?

Chasing Access

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 416

Today's Washington Post carries an interesting article on the trials and tribulations of reporters trying to penetrate the de-facto bubble of candidates' unbelievably demanding schedules and actually speak with those whom they seek to cover. The article focused on Hillary Clinton in particular, but noted the same issue, if to a lesser degree, also arises with Obama and Edwards.

I've been running around Iowa tailing candidates since January of this year, and know from experience that it has never been an easy matter to get face time with a candidate as a blogger, so the fact that the main stream media encounters the same problem doesn't surprise me. The plain fact is that candidates are on a mission to get their message out every single day, and, if the campaign doesn't see a way to make use of the access you're requesting to help them get their message of the moment out to voters, then they don't have time for you. This is sometimes especially true if you're [only] a local blogger.

Fortunately, as [only] a local blogger, I also have the luxury of setting that role aside at will, and showing up at candidate events as someone far more important: an actual voter. In this regard, I almost always have better luck in getting face time with the candidates. So I can attest to the fact that when campaigns push aside requests for access from the media so their candidate can spend time talking with voters, that is, while undeniably convenient for the campaigns, nonetheless very often true.

Granted, I often run right home and blog about what the candidates and I talk about on those occasions. I'm sure that some members of the mainstream media would call 'foul' on that, but there's no point in being a blogger - or a voter, for that matter - if it's the same as being reporter.

In an ideal world, everyone would be spoiled to the same extent that voters (and sometimes, even bloggers) in Iowa and New Hampshire are when it comes to up close and personal interaction with people who want to be our next president. And, setting Iowa voter smugness aside for a moment, I truly wish that were so. But, as the Post's article dramatizes, this is far from an ideal world. So, to the mainstream media frustrated by the often large gap between what they want from the campaigns versus what the campaigns are willing to give, all I can say is: welcome to the club, guys; we've got jackets.

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