Getting away from Iowa: McCain leads in his first New Hampshire poll, and Nader backs Edwards

  • NH poll: McCain ahead for the first time, and Clinton is back up
Suffolk University has announced it will release a daily tracking poll all the way to the New Hampshire primary next Tuesday, a welcome refocusing of some of our attention on January 8th rather than on Thursday night. A tracking poll will also allow us to measure the post-Iowa movements of the caucuses' winners and losers. Today's numbers have some major storylines:

  • Among Democrats, Clinton has jumped up to a 14% lead: 36% to 22%. A month ago, Clinton was ahead 33% to 26%. Edwards is at 14%.
  • But the real shocker is among Republicans. A month ago, Romney was up on McCain 31% to 19%. Since then, McCain had surged ahead and tied Mitt in many polls -- and this is the first poll in which McCain is ahead in New Hampshire: 31% to 25% for Romney and 14% for Giuliani. Huckabee is still in single-digits at 9%.
McCain and Romney have engaged each other with increasing intensity over the past week and McCain's rising poll numbers sparked an ad war last week. But it is truly shocking to see McCain back with a lead months after his complete collapse in July that left him almost dead nationally and in New Hampshire; if he decisively wins New Hampshire, McCain would be ideally positioned to go on to a state like Michigan which he also won in 2000 and emerge as a favorite for the nomination.

Two things could help McCain further on Thursday: First, if Romney loses the caucuses and is thus deprived of a winner's bounce, and two if McCain places a strong third as most polls (including the DMR one) now predict he will.

  • Ralph Nader endorses Edwards
Ralph Nader jumped in the Democratic primary yesterday by blasting Hillary Clinton and endorsing John Edwards, calling for progressives to caucus and primary for the former NC Senator. He accused Clinton of preparing to "pander to corporate interest groups." Nader continued, "The issue is corporate power and who controls our political system and it's not who has experience for six years or two years."

Nader went on to call Edwards a "glimmer of hope." He said, "Iowa should decide which candidate stands for us," he added. "Edwards is at least highlighting day after day that the issue is who controls our country: big business or the people?" And while Nader explicitly talked about Iowa, he does hold come from Iowa nor is he particularly associated with that state, so his support is meant to have national significance.

While some are saying that Nader could hurt Edwards given that many Democrats look at him disdainfully after his 2004 run, it is undeniable that he could provide a big help in a crucial problem Edwards has been having: Progressives have not coalesced around his candidacy, as many have questioned his sincerity in talking about economic issues. Still others have been worried that it would send a bad message to nominate a white male once again when the party's two frontrunners for so long were a black man and a woman. For such voters at the Left looking for a sign that Edwards is the real deal and not just an opportunist populist (and they make up a sizable portion of the Democratic electorate), a Nader endorsement could very well push them a bit more towards Edwards's camp -- and perhaps away from that of Obama who is claiming a sometimes similar outsider mantle.

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  • "Still others have been worried that it would send a bad message to nominate a white male once again when the party's two frontrunners for so long were a black man and a woman"

    Who is saying that?

    By Blogger Democrats Against Hillary, At 01 January, 2008 17:47  

  • No one is saying it. That doesn't mean there aren't people worried about it, and it's not hard to see why. Clinton and Obama are historic candidacies, the first woman and the first African-American to mount serious campaigns for the Presidency. Nominating Edwards would be a "business as usual" pick, and might give the impression that the Democrats aren't entirely comfortable with nominating a woman or a black man. (Whether they are or not, you'll notice, is irrelevant; I merely suggest that it could give the impression.)

    By Anonymous Mr. Rational, At 01 January, 2008 21:51  

  • So, Nader has endorsed John Edwards, huh? Well, the man has always had impecable political timing in the past and at no point has anything that Ralph Nader ever done come back to haunt the Democratic Party or the nation as a whole.

    By Anonymous a unicorn once bit my sister, At 02 January, 2008 00:10  

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