4 Years Ago
by Todd Beeton, Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 06:48:53 PM EST
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.