Friday, January 09, 2004

Google News Democratic Primary Poll for 1/9/2004

First of all, apologies for the lack of posts of late. I've been buried under both several inches of snow and a mound of work (doing late night work while having to drive over icy covered roads. fun fun fun!) Also, things are going so fast and furious now with the Iowa Caucuses less than two weeks away that it is hard to get around to posting about something before the news changes and what you had to say is no longer relevent (case in point today's endorsement of Dean by Harkin). I've been doing most of my opinionating on the Salon Table Talk forum where I can better keep up with what is going on.

On with the countdown...

  This Week (1/9) Last Week (1/2)
1 Howard Dean 9330 26.3% +0.4 1 9700 25.9%
2 John Kerry 5040 14.2% +0.1 2 5270 14.1%
3 Wesley Clark 4730 13.3% -0.2 3 5070 13.5%
4 John Edwards 4020 11.3% +0.8 6 3940 10.5%
5 Joe Lieberman 3940 11.1% -1.1 4 4580 12.2%
6 Dick Gephardt 3810 10.8% +0.0 5 4040 10.8%
7 Dennis Kucinich 1870 5.3% +0.2 8 1910 5.1%
8 Al Sharpton 1510 4.3% -0.8 7 1910 5.1%
9 Carol Moseley Braun 1200 3.4% +0.6 9 1050 2.8%

Dean continues to build steady on his lead. I expect that as things get close to the actual voting the news reports will become faster and furiouser and it is to be expected that the remaining candidates will be focusing their guns on Dean even more, thus elevating his share even more. Which is just another way of saying it is crunch time. If Dean really can stand up to the pressure like I think he can, now is when he will have to demonstrate it. The Harkin endorsement will help, but probably only for a day or two at best. It's not going to stop the also-rans from continuing their assaults on Mt. Dean.

That's the curse of being the frontrunner.

Clark's shares have barely budged despite the recent reports of his "surge" in national polls and in NH. I think this just goes to show that, outside the circles of political geekdom, not many people really care about things like that. I've been thinking for some time that Clark has consistently failed to generate any media excitement about his campaign. This could change if the media's desired two-man race develops, but even then it could just be a repeat of last summers Dean-Clark dynamics.

Lieberman's shares continue to plunge as the weight of the much sought after New Republic endorsement sinks in.

Update: BTW, just for comparison purposes, I did a Google New search on "George W. Bush" and got 10,600 hits.

The following is a chart of the Google News Media Share over the last few months:

(Methodology: All numbers are taken from the hit counts when searching on the Google News Service for news stories containing each candidate's name. Click on each name to rerun the search. You will get different results as the numbers are constantly changing. I make absolutely no claim that these numbers have any real meaning.)

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Quote of the Day

I agree with todd of Dean Independents:

David Sarasohn, talking about the other Democratic candidates and their level of distress about Dean: "If they'd ever seemed this distressed about George Bush, they might not now have to be so worried about Howard Dean." The quote applies to the Democratic party establishment in general, in my opinion.

If the other Democrats showed this much fire in bringing down Bush I might take their candidacy's seriously.

Monday, January 05, 2004

By his "gaffes" he shall win

Dean's greatest strength in the upcoming race is the same he has used since he first broke through on the national scene: he has a remarkable ability to change the dialog to suit his purposes.

He did it a few weeks back when, in the midst of all the media celebrations of the capture of Saddam Hussein, Dean spoiled the fun by stepping up and saying, "Yeah, that's nice. But we aren't any safer."

His comments produced a lot of shock amongst his opponents and in the media, but subsequent facts have born him out and the polling on this matter has consistently shown that Dean's opinion is shared by the large majority of all Americans.

But, what his comment really did was stop the "We got him" celebration in its tracks. By making an assertion so contrary to conventional wisdom Dean forced a lot of people to sit back and say, "Could he really have said that? Could he really have meant it? Is he insane? Or...could he be right?"

Once people start asking the questions, once people start questioning the conventional wisdom, that wisdom breaks down and people begin to realize that Dean is right.

And now he's doing it again. During yesterday's debate, when criticized for his call to repeal all of Bush's tax cut, Dean flat out asserted that "there was no middle class tax cut." Joe Lieberman and others were, naturally, flummoxed by his comment since everyone knows that the Bush's tax cut did include breaks for the middle class.

Or did it? Yes, some of us got those $300 checks. But, at the same time, we are getting hit in the wallet through increases in local and state taxes and in other changes to the cost of living (losing your job is a pretty nasty tax hike as well). As someone over on dKos put it best in the discussion thread on the debate, "[...] the Bush administration stuck $300 dollars in your front pocket while taking $500 dollars or more out of your back pocket and hoped you wouldn't notice."

This is an idea that Dean has been trying to push for over a year, but even I will admit that it is hard to sell because it is a rather complicated formulation. It needs a good sound bite to sell it (the $300 in, $500 out line is pretty good). But it also needs the verbal equivalent of a 2x4 to the head to get people to pay attention to what Dean is trying to say.

"There was no middle class tax cut" is that 2x4. It's a statement he should repeat over and over and over again precisely because it seems so contrary to what we "know" to be true. Why? Because it will get people to stop and think: he obviously doesn't mean that literally, so what does he mean? (thanks to TT poster pt bridgeport for this excellent formulation).

Once they start asking that question then Dean has them right where he wants them.

Dean needs people to question the basic assumptions. He needs them to question the conventional wisdom. It is those that are the only thing protecting Bush from the kind of scrutiny he deserves. Dean, by his "gaffes", is getting people to realize that it is the assumptions, not the "gaffes", which are absurd.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Fighting back

Here's an example of the thing I like about the internet. The latest Newsweek has an article by Howard Fineman ("The Dean Dilemma") in which Fineman puts forth the story that Dean has a lot of Democrats worried, including some of his own supporters. This is a popular media story right now that probably has more to do with the loudness of a few complainers more than whether those complainers actually represent any broad consensus within the party. In order to support his thesis, Fineman quotes three Dean supporters (who go by the pseudonyms WVMicko, Lancaster and irmaly) who have posted negative things on the o-blog.

One problem though: at least two of those people quoted (WVMicko and irmaly) are disputing the implication that they are unhappy with Dean. This is where the power of the internet comes into play. WVMicko has started a thread on Forum for America to discuss what to do in response. As WVMicko says:

[...] as annoying as this hosing is, it's also an opportunity. We are now in a position to make a great, huge stink. We were, after all, quoted, and now we can demand our right to rebut. And this being the Internet age, we are not dependent on Newsweek's hypothetical sense of fair play to make that demand. We can spread our outrage all over the Internet if we so choose, doubly so if the campaign will cooperate with us by posting our rebuttals on Blog for America and backing our efforts through other sources.

I hope WVMicko and irmaly can get their message out (and Lancaster as well if he/she joins in). I also hope the o-blog will post their rebuttals. It's not all that uncommon for journalists to quote someone out-of-context in order to push a story that matches their preconceptions more than reality. Here we see the potential for those who have been victimized by this practice to strike back.

Looking for hot Clark-on-Dean action?

here (kudos to Jesse for starting my day with a laugh)