Edwards Benefits from Obama Boomlet
November 2, 2006
While Barack Obama is basking in the noonday sun of media attention, John Edwards shields himself in the shade and works by night to pull off an upset in 2008.
Obama’s announcement that he is considering a Presidential run has galvanized large crowds.
And a new CNN poll that shows him in second place behind putative nominee Hillary Clinton makes him red hot.
Here are the poll results:
Clinton: 28%Obama: 17%Gore: 13%Edwards: 13%Kerry: 12%.
The also-rans, with 2%, were Bayh, Biden, Feingold, and Richardson.
Vilsack had 1%.
Here’s why the Oboomlet will help Edwards.
First, it brushes back Gore.
In the prior poll done at the end of August and early September, without Obama in the mix, Gore was in second place at 19%. Now he is in third, and has lost a chunk of support. Plus, he seems less and less likely to run, as he is now a consultant to the British government on global warming. That’s not the usual route to the White House.
Second, Obama takes all the oxygen away from the also-rans, who will not be able to move while Obama is in the picture.
Third, Kerry is self-immolating. (The poll was taken before his gaffe.)
Meanwhile, Edwards is holding steady, actually gaining a point since the previous poll.
At some point, Obama will have to decide whether he is in for the long haul or whether he’d prefer to bide his time till 2012 or even 2020, when he’d still just be 60.
My guess is that he won’t ultimately run this time, which will leave Edwards as the only candidate within a shot of Hillary, who, for the worried primary voter, will look like a loser in the general election.
And even if Obama decides to run, Edwards has quietly done an enormous amount of campaigning around the country and will come out of the gate strong.
Edwards is likely to win Iowa, according to Democratic activists I’ve spoken with. And a June Des Moines Register poll had him leading Clinton 30 to 26.
One other factor in Edwards’s favor is his negatives are almost infinitesimal.
When likely Democratic primary voters were asked, in an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll last November, which candidates they would definitely NOT vote for, here’s how they ranked:
Gore: 17%Kerry: 14%Clinton: 13%Edwards: 3%.
And Hillary has enormous problems with the general voting public. A Rasmussen poll earlier this year found that 40 percent would definitely not vote for her.
The conventional wisdom that Hillary Clinton is going to be the Democratic nominee does not hold up to scrutiny. She already has fallen from 38 percent in the polls to 28 percent.
Obama represents a threat to her, and with a cleared field, the Edwards threat looms large, though today he is biding his time.