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Thursday, February 05, 2004

Master Of The Obvious

The Howard Dean campaign, in an e-mail to his dwindling supporters, proclaimed the obvious and stated that Dean had to win in Wisconsin or it's all over:

Howard Dean told supporters Thursday he will be out of the race for the Democratic nomination for president if he fails to win the Wisconsin primary, declaring "all that you have worked for these past months is on the line on a single day, in a single state." ... In the e-mail distributed in the early hours of Thursday, Dean wrote: "The entire race has come down to this: we must win Wisconsin. ... We will get a boost this weekend in Washington, Michigan, and Maine, but our true test will be the Wisconsin primary. A win there will carry us to the big states of March 2 and narrow the field to two candidates. Anything less will put us out of this race."

This requires a reality check for the Deaniacs. First, if Dean manages to win Washington, Michigan, and Maine, then a respectable second-place finish in Wisconsin would be no problem. Obviously, according to this statement, Dean's campaign figures that Dean won't carry any of those states, and looking at the polling numbers thus far, they're right. Michigan polls show Dean trailing badly behind Kerry, 51%-9%, although he is in second place. Washington an Maine are caucusing and no polling data is yet available, but the Tuesday primaries in Tennessee and Virginia don't look any more promising. Dean trails in both states behind Kerry, Clark, and Edwards in data that preceded Kerry's impressive slate of victories this week. In those states which vote rather than caucus -- and we've seen how the Dean campaign performs in caucuses -- Dean isn't likely to gather more than a handful of pledged delegates, while Kerry can expect to claim the lion's share of those in play.

In short, by the time Wisconsin rolls around, Dean may already be so far behind Kerry in delegates and momentum that a Wisconsin victory will say more about Kerry's chances than Dean's. Dean points to Super Tuesday II on March 2nd and says that the majority of delegates will be won on that day, but among the big states voting on March 2nd, he's only leading in New York (in polling from a month ago), while Kerry leads overwhelmingly in California and Ohio. In Massachussets, he's in a statistical dead heat with Kerry in a poll taken last year, but I suspect the numbers are much different today, with favored son Kerry now the frontrunner.

Dean wants to buck up his flagging support by setting expectations low and hoping for a big enough win in Wisconsin to put some wind back in his sails, but if he doesn't have an outright win by the time Wisconsin rolls around, he'll be irrelevant already. I'm not sure what hiring Roy Neel did for Dean, but it's looking more and more than Neel will wind up being his campaign's eulogist rather than its strategist.

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03:01 PM in DeanWatch | Permalink


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» Dean's Wisconsin Factor from Blogs for Bush
Howard Dean, so far unable to win a primary, is now leaving the future of his campaign into the hands of Wisconsin voters on February 17th: Democrat Howard Dean said on Thursday his once high-flying U.S. presidential bid would be... [Read More]

Tracked on Feb 5, 2004 4:01:17 PM

» Dean's Wisconsin Factor from Matt Margolis Blog
Dean's campaign is failing... And Dean now realizes it. [Read More]

Tracked on Feb 5, 2004 4:02:42 PM


Unfortunately, Dean's condition is terminal. He only wnet to Neel for a second opinion.

Posted by: Mike M at Feb 5, 2004 9:17:19 PM