2008: An Edwards Surge?
While he didn't announce his candidacy for president in 2008 last Tuesday as was rumored, Dem John Edwards is fast becoming the sleeper pick amongst top pundits for the '08 Dem nomination, with more ammo for that viewpoint coming in the form of a new Iowa poll showing that Edwards, not Hillary or Obama, is the leading choice for Cornhusker Dems. And his lead is nowhere close to slim. JRE leas Hillary by 20+ points in at least two primary polls done in Iowa over the last two months.
The latest poll just released - though conducted in October - has the Dem field laid out like this:
John Edwards 36%
Hillary Clinton 16%
Barack Obama 13%
Tom Vilsack 11%
What's more startling; that Edwards is blowing away his Dem competition or that Hillary and Barack are virtually tied? Either way, here's some analysis of JRE from Joe Klein and Co. at Time:
He has been working the state very hard, and Iowans really, really like him. They liked him but thought he was too young in 2004, when he finished second to John Kerry in the Iowa caucuses. They liked him last June, when a Register poll had him beating Clinton 30% to 26%. They liked him a few weeks ago when, according to Yepsen, more than 800 Iowans showed up for a John Edwards book signing. "He's just a great fit for this state," says Yepsen. "He's low key, down-to-earth, a nice guy."
Even some liberals are jumping on the Edwards bandwagon, in part due to his left-leaning performance on Hardball (you know, where he was supposed to announce...) and his fierce union-friendly attitude. What if he nabs left-wing Dem support? He's already an anti-war darling for his Iraq war vote retraction. Definitely an edge over Hillary on that issue. Will he be able to force Obama to admit to his early hawkish comments on Iraq + Iran and channel anti-war anger against those two rock stars and send liberals toward the Edwards camp?
The Hillary juggernaut is still alive and well, so the good news for JRE must be met with some skepticism. But national polls almost never measure the true Iowa vibe, and they certainly can't measure the southern charm of an Edwards or the populism of an Obama. Hillary must be feeling the heat.
An Edwards announcement is sure to be coming, perhaps before 2007. Watch for it soon after Christmas, when the Edwards family is all together in NC - little Jack sure to look as precocious as ever - and JRE can use that setting to tug at the heartstrings with a sappy - but powerful - kickoff to his 2008 run.