Monday, September 03, 2007


Since there seems to be relatively little noise out there today about this being the "official" (or is it 'unofficial') kick-off to the 2008 campaign for President, I thought I'd toss out a few thoughts on the current state of play among Democrats vying for the nomination.

1) Hillary is in front in all the early states. Clearly, the challenge for her will be to sustain her current level of support through January and February of next year. Those not in favor of Hillary can take heart in the fact that, as Dean found out in '03-'04, it's often a curse to be the early frontrunner.

2) Obama's weak poll numbers don't matter much right now because many voters don't know enough about him. Edwards, on the other hand, is locked in the fight for his political life in Iowa and it doesn't seem clear whether even a victory there will be enough to propell him to the front in a number of other early states where he currently trails by a significant margin.

3) If you believe points (1) and (2) then Obama is clearly in an enviable position - he's got loads of campaign cash and is positioned to gain the most from an early upset of either Edwards or Hillary. Of all the early states, Obama is perhaps running strongest in Iowa. With a strong push there, he could beat Edwards and Hillary and that would likely end Edwards' run and put Hillary in an extremely vulnerable position going forward. Still, narrowing Hillary's edge in New Hampshire over the next few months is going to be essential as will be winning a majority of support among African-Americans in South Carolina (currently they're split 50-50 between Hillary and Obama). If Obama can accomplish those two things then an Iowa win would likely earn him the nomination.

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