12.17.2007

Presidential Diary: Endorsement fest continues in Iowa

Dave Loebsack, the last Democratic representative from Iowa who had yet to endorse in the presidential race, announces today that he is backing Barack Obama. This means that the three Democratic reps have endorsed three different candidates (Leonard Boswell going for Hillary yesterday and Bruce Braley supporting Edwards about two weeks ago). What a better symbol to illustrate that Iowa is a complete toss-up?

Meanwhile, conservative Rep. Steve King who represents a very Republican part of the state announced he was getting behind Fred Thompson. King is particularly obsessed by immigration issues, and he has expressed concerns about Huckabee's position on those issues. To the extent that Thompson is mounting a solid negative attack against Huckabee for his immigration views currently, this news could play into that storyline; it could also generate some positive buzz who needs to take back some of the electors who have moved from him to Huckabee. But ultimately there is 3 weeks to Iowa and news like this won't change much on the ground.

The good news: Pretty much all Iowa figures who are looking to endorse have done so at this point, so we hopefully won't get too many more of these to report. Senator Harkin would definitely be a worthwhile get for Democrats but he is unlikely to come out after his experience last year (he got behind Dean to great fanfare in the closing weeks); and his wife is now supporting Hillary, which is probably an indication of where Harkin would lean if he could.

  • Giuliani plunging in New York
Meanwhile, news is not good in Rudy Giuliani in his home state according to a new Quinnipiac poll:

  • In a general election match-up, Giuliani is crushed 53% to 32%.
  • In the primary, Giuliani only gets 35% to Huckabee's 12% and McCain's 11%. In October, Giuliani got 45% and Huckabee only 1%.
Two of Giuliani's central arguments are here undermined: (1) He likes to claim that he would make the coastal states competitive in the general election, though he is clearly not making that happen here. To be fair, polls from Connecticut and New Jersey show him running much stronger, but New York is his home-state, after all.

(2) Much more importantly, the GOP primary numbers are atrocious for Giuliani. Remember, Giuliani's delegate-centered strategy rests on the certainty that NJ, CT and NY are momentum-proof states for him, and that he will win there no matter what happens in January. These 3 states are delegate rich and winner-take-all, which could make Rudy the leader in delegates on February 5th. But the Quinnipiac poll suggests that even NY is far from momentum-proof. If Giuliani only musters 35% today, what could it be on February 5th after probable losses in IA, NH, MI and SC... And Huckabee multiplying his total by 12 shows that New York is just as momentum-driven than any other state. So if Giuliani can't even hold on here, imagine what it will be in New Jersey and Connecticut.

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