A new Iowa
poll places Gov. Bill Richardson
only seven points behind the leader in a narrowing race in the first state to hold a presidential nominating contest.
The new poll conducted by Strategic Vision has John Edwards at 23 percent, Barack Obama at 22 percent, Hillary Clinton at 21 percent and Richardson at 14 percent. Thirteen percent said they are undecided.
The poll was conducted Friday-Sunday, at the tail end of a week of campaigning in the state by all four candidates that culminated with a nationally televised debate pundits agreed was Richardson’s best to date. The survey of 600 likely Democratic caucus goers has a margin of error of 4 percent.
The results are different than those of another poll conducted the same days. That poll, conducted by Zogby, had Clinton leading with 30 percent, Edwards with 23 percent, Obama with 19 percent and Richardson with 10 percent. It surveyed 503 likely Democratic caucus goers and had a margin of error of 4.5 percent.
The last Strategic Vision poll of Iowa, conducted in June, had Edwards leading with 26 percent, Obama at 21 percent, Clinton at 20 percent and Richardson at 11 percent.
Another question asked in the new poll might indicate why support for Richardson is increasing. Eighty-five percent of those surveyed said they favor a withdrawal of “all United States military” from Iraq within the next six months. Only Richardson proposes such a plan; in fact, the others say it’s logistically undoable.
That difference was highlighted as Richardson asserted himself and challenged the others during Sunday’s debate, which might have helped him on the last day the poll was conducted. Though the Zogby poll is more in line with other recent polls, the Strategic Vision poll is great news for the Richardson campaign. He has said he has to beat one of the three frontrunners in Iowa; this poll places him within striking distance of all three.
Other news isn’t so good for Richardson
But there’s also bad news for Richardson. The Michigan Senate voted on Wednesday to move its primary up to Jan. 15, a change that still needs House approval but is likely to become reality.
That would make Michigan a critical state and a larger media market than the three states that will hold contests before it – Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada. An early primary in such a populous state favors candidates with more money.
It also upsets the calendar Richardson and others worked to solidify – with January caucuses in Iowa and Nevada followed by primaries in New Hampshire and South Carolina, and no other contests until Feb. 5. Richardson’s Iowa/Nevada/New Hampshire strategy may fall apart as the calendar continues to shift, and he knows it. His campaign sent out a statement late Wednesday decrying the move in Michigan.
“This continuing game of ‘primary leapfrog’ is not constructive and threatens to disrupt the entire process,” he said. “I respect and support Iowa’s and New Hampshire’s rightful places as the first caucuses and first primary, respectively, in the nation, and I call on my fellow Democratic candidates to do the same. We’ll deal with the remainder of the calendar when the dust settles.”
Richardson also said he was concerned that the scramble for early dates will negatively impact the caucuses in Nevada, which he said “for the first time give the West a critical voice in the selection of the president. This diversity is essential to ensure that Western values and issues and the concerns of minorities are directly addressed during the campaign.”
We’ll know more about the calendar this weekend, when the Democratic National Committee meets to try to sort things out.
One other piece of bad news for Richardson’s campaign: The governor is at 1 percent in the newest poll in Pennsylvania. And a piece of neutral news: This article details how the governor’s claims on job growth in New Mexico are misleading and inflated, but also points out that the actual numbers are quite impressive.
Forums could provide a boost
As other candidates are cutting back on the number of forums they attend, Richardson was one of two candidates to participate on Wednesday in a forum in Nevada and is one of three who will attend the Prez on the Rez forum – the first on American Indian land in the history of the United States.
That’s sure to give him a bump in Nevada and among American Indians. None of the three frontrunners attended the forum in Nevada or will participate in today’s forum, all but ensuring that Richardson will get the endorsements of major American Indian groups.
I continue to be baffled about why the frontrunners are skipping the American Indian forum. How will they respond if asked in future debates by Richardson, Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel why they couldn’t make time for the first Americans, those who have been stepped on by their government for so long? Seems to me this opens them up to attacks that will resonate with liberal Democrats.
That might make a difference in states like California, which Richardson needs to win on Feb. 5 if he’s going to have a shot at securing his party’s nomination.
You can watch the Prez on the Rez forum today at 4:30 Mountain Standard Time by clicking here.
Labels: 2008 election, Democratic Party, Iraq, Richardson's presidential run, Washington