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January 19, 2004
Iowa Predictions

Okay -- even though I could just post this tomorrow with a publish date of today and try to get a reputation as a Carnac the Magnificent, I'm going to make my prediction now about the Iowa caucus results ...

Here's how I see it panning out tonight:

Dean - 27%
Kerry - 23%
Edwards - 21%
Gephardt -18%

And what would this result mean?

Dean's organization will ultimately be strong enough, I think, to win the day in Iowa -- but his stumble here will reverberate throughout the first part of the primary season. That will keep more candidates in the race for a longer period of time as they feel that Dean can be beat. However, that will eventually help Dean in the long run. His nationwide organization is too strong and already too entrenched, and as Professor Bainbridge noted earlier, his fundraising allows Dean to run a 50-state campaign, while the others are running 10- or 20-state campaigns at best. For the near term, Dean only commands a plurality of the Democrats, and he can only win if multiple viable candidates stay in long enough for Dean to win a string of primaries on the front end. If that happens, momentum will carry him against whoever winds up the anti-Dean after mid-March.

New Hampshire will be the first real test. Even if Dean slides in at #2, a win in New Hampshire will unlock enough of a plurality to carry the first few states. That will be enough.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 19, 2004 7:25 PM

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