4 Years Ago

Now that the dates of Iowa and New Hampshire are set, 43 and 48 days from now respectively, I thought it would be interesting to take a look back at how the race was shaping up at this point in 2003.

In 2004, Iowans caucused on January 19. 43 days prior to that, on December 7, 2003, Dean was still ascendant. A Zogby poll out of Iowa released on December 2 showed Dean passing Gephardt for the lead. Then a SUSA poll just a week or so later, the first to reflect Al Gore's Dec. 9th endorsement of Dean, showed him up in the 40s. Over the holidays there was a dearth of polling until Jan. 8 when two polls revealed that Kerry was surging while Dean had stalled.

11 days out from caucus day and the top two ultimate finishers, Kerry and Edwards, were still in third and fourth place.

Zogby 12/1-2SUSA 12/8-10Actual 1/19Dean26 (21)42 (32)18Gephardt22 (22)23 (22)11Kerry9 (9)15 (19)38Edwards5 (7)10 (11)32

In New Hampshire at this point in the 03-04 cycle (around Dec. 10, 2003,) Dean was surging as well and Kerry was actually dropping. In fact, the headline of the Suffolk University poll released on Dec. 8 announced:

Dean Can't Miss; Kerry Collapsing

The results of a Boston Globe poll released a few days later would echo these results. Interestingly, from around Christmas up until around January 10, an ARG New Hampshire daily tracking poll showed Kerry steadily bleeding support in New Hampshire as Clark overtook him for second place. It wasn't until 2 and a half weeks before the January 27 primary that we began to see the final Kerry surge begin.

Suffolk U 12/5-7Boston Globe 12/12-13Actual 1/27Dean35 (25)42 (37)26.4Kerry12 (19)19 (24)38.4Clark10 (11)13 (8)12.4Lieberman6 (8)5 (5)8.6Edwards5 (4)7 (9)12

So, what's the take away looking ahead to Jan. 3 & 8, 2008? First, beware a surge even this close to Iowa caucus day -- an ascendant candidate may still peak too early. And second, it's about the final two weeks, stupid. The wild card this year, however, is that those final two weeks encompass the Christmas/New Year period. We're in unchartered territory for a presidential election here, which may render any lessons we try to glean from 2003/4 moot. In the end, it's a fair bet that, because of holiday distractions, we're unlikely to see the same volatility in late Dec. 07 as we saw in early to mid Jan. 04, which could make the mid-December period the most decisive of all.

Tags: 2004 presidential election, Iowa, New Hampshire (all tags)

Comments

14 Comments

Re: 4 Years Ago

There's no parallel to 2004. The outsider candidate isn't leading and taking the nation by storm. Instead it's the insider who is facing an "insurgency".

Nevertheless, remember that Edwards relied heavily in Iowa on Kucinich's people. If Dennis is the kingmaker again, he will help redefine the race. The polls also are condensing because it's no longer about name recognition and more about what the candidates have said.

by risenmessiah 2007-11-21 07:52PM | 0 recs
Re: 4 Years Ago

Simply not true. Eyewitness accounts suggest at most half of K supporters in most precincts went to E and there weren't that many K supporters, except in college towns. Not true that Edwards "relied heavily..." on anyone except people who decided late to support him, showed up, and supported him.

by desmoulins 2007-11-22 04:55AM | 0 recs
This Is Correct

Desmoulins is correct: the Kucinich factor in 2004 was a very small piece of the puzzle.

by Demo37 2007-11-22 10:51AM | 0 recs
Re: This Is Correct

Even if that is true, recognize that Edwards has alienated Kucinich this time around on occasion and wouldn't want to admit just how large or small that bloc was.

Believe or not, I like JRE much better than BHO, HRC, etc. I simply worried that he was trying to appear "elite tier" too early in the race and it's backfired due to Hillary's supremacy in building an institution.

Now you have encouraged me to write a whole diary though: "Why Hillary Can't Win".

by risenmessiah 2007-11-23 11:39AM | 0 recs
hahahaha

"We're in a 3-way tie for 3rd!"

by KainIIIC 2007-11-21 08:01PM | 0 recs
Re: hahahaha

Joementum!! Ahh, good memories.

by who threw da cat 2007-11-22 07:54AM | 0 recs
Give us the rest of the story

Give us the Democratic poll numbers in the context of Bush's approval number.

What was the Iraq approval number doing?

Go back to early Nov. -  did Democratsa think as a majority, when polled that Bush could be beat?

What bout late December?   Did that opinion change?

Who did Democrats view as best able to win the general election in Dec?  What did the internals say?   Dean?  Or Kerry?

You know the answers.  Tell us.

by dpANDREWS 2007-11-21 08:17PM | 0 recs
Interesting post but here's the real take away
At about this point in 2003, Gephardt's camp went ballistic on Dean, in what one of Gephardt's staffer's later referred to as a "murder-suicide."
They knew they didn't have a chance beyond Iowa, and they conspired with the DNC and other campaigns to prevent Dean's ascendancy.  They intentionally framed it as a Dean v. Gephardt race, and Iowans rejected both of them because of it.
Kerry was victorious in Iowa because of union and establishment support.  This time those factors are divided and there's little potential for the divisive tactics employed in 2003.
Edwards or Clinton will win Iowa, with a serious establishment edge for Clinton.  Obama's strength is too concentrated in urban areas, as Dean's was four years ago.
by ChgoSteve 2007-11-21 10:59PM | 0 recs
I disagree with this

I need to get a diary written on why Gephardt and Dean tanked in Iowa. It was not because Gephardt went ballistic on Dean in December.

Steve Murphy, Gephardt's campaign manager, revealed after the campaign that they had convened focus groups in Iowa in September 2003. They were frustrated that Gephardt seemed stuck, and they were trying to figure out ways to raise his numbers. They tried a lot of different messages with groups of undecided voters, but they just couldn't crack the code.

In fact, as the people in these focus groups received more information about all of the candidates, they gravitated towards Kerry and Edwards, just like tens of thousands of Iowans did in December and January when they started to make up their minds.

These focus groups happened in September 2003, when negative ads had not started to air yet.

The undecideds wrote off Dean and Gephardt relatively early in the cycle. Kerry and Edwards had low poll numbers but had more potential upside than Dean and Gephardt did.

by desmoinesdem 2007-11-22 04:02PM | 0 recs
Re: 4 Years Ago

Dean was surging but it all came to a halt when we captured Sadam Hussein and Dean said we were not safer than before our capture of Sadam.  I remember it clearly, Al Gore endorsed Dean and soon after Sadam was captured.  Everything came crashing down for Dean.

by allmiview 2007-11-22 06:07AM | 0 recs
Re: 4 Years Ago

I still think there is a strong possibility Joe Biden might win Iowa.

by allmiview 2007-11-22 06:13AM | 0 recs
Re: 4 Years Ago

I was in Iowa at the time working for Kerry, and I remember Dean saying that Saddam's capture didn't make us safer.  He took a lot of heat for that statement but I honestly don't think that affected him in the polls very much.  He didn't start to crater in the polls until Edwards and Kerry hit their strides at the end of December and beginning of January, racking up newspaper endorsements (all the big newspapers endorsed Kerry except the DSM Register which endorsed Edwards), demonstrating that a Dean nomination was not as inevitable as everyone believed, and giving an outlet for the discomfort that many caucusgoers seemed to feel with Dean.  This was not so much due to any major screw-up by Dean or any media conspiracy (as so many DailyKos commenters would have us believe) but do to genuinely strong campaigns and messages by his leading opponents.  It was that experience that leads me to believe that Hillary, while the prohibitive favorite, is absolutely not a lock for the nomination.  She doesn't need to screw up to lose, but her opponents need to demonstrate their own credibility.

by lorax 2007-11-22 10:54AM | 0 recs
Re: 4 Years Ago

how could he have said that after saddam attacked us on 9/11?

by jello 2007-11-23 07:19AM | 0 recs
Re: 4 Years Ago

it's amazing how a little data mining and poll pushing can do to dig you out of single digits. sprinkle in a little republican-style fearmongering for good measure - and you're good to go.

by jello 2007-11-23 06:51AM | 0 recs

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