The latest news out of Iowa, from Southern Political Reporter, sounds hopeful for John Edwards ...
John Edwards has leapfrogged over his rivals Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and leads the Democratic field in Iowa, according to the latest InsiderAdvantage/Majority Opinion poll. In the Republican caucus race, Mike Huckabee continues to hold a narrow lead over Mitt Romney ...
Edwards leads with 30 percent in a poll of Democratic voters who said they intend to participate in the Jan. 3 presidential caucuses, followed by Clinton with 26 percent and Obama with 24 percent. When the sample was narrowed to the most likely caucus-goers, based on several questions, Obama leads Edwards by less than a percentage point with 27 percent, with Clinton in third place at 24 percent.
Why the sudden jump? Looks like Edwards is favored by those folks who don't particularly like the top three candidates. In other words, for this group of voters, Edwards seems to be the least offensive.
Edwards holds a significant advantage, however, among a group who could be key to the first contest of the presidential year: those who say their first choice is someone other than the top three. Under Iowa Democratic Party rules, candidates who poll less than 15 percent in the first vote at each caucus around the state are eliminated, and their supporters get a second chance to vote for another candidate.
I realize that polls don't mean that much, but this news excites me. I find myself daring to be hopeful again.
A number of recent surveys have shown that Edwards does best among Democratic candidates when facing the Republican field. Neither Clinton nor Obama do quite as well, depending on who the competition is. Apart from his message—which inspires me like I've not been inspired by a politician in a while and helps keeps my latent cynicism at bay—electability in itself seems like a persuasive reason to support John Edwards. Maybe I'm just being simple-minded about that, but the threat of four more years of Republicans in the White House frankly scares the hell out of me. President Romney? or President Giuliani? or President Huckabee for chrissake?! God help us.