Wednesday :: Aug 20, 2003

Democratic Primary Preview: Delaware, Missouri, South Carolina


by CA Pol Junkie

by CA Pol Junkie

This is the second in a series of previews of the Democratic primaries. The previews will be in the order the states vote, up to March 2nd, by which time the eventual nominee will be evident. Previous preview: IA, NH

These primaries, along with Arizona, New Mexico, and Oklahoma, come just a week after New Hampshire. There is a good chance that one of major candidates (Dean, Edwards, Gephardt, Kerry, Lieberman) will be crippled by poor performance in Iowa and/or New Hampshire, but for this analysis, let's assume all of them are still in the running with strong campaigns on February 3rd.

Delaware Primary: 2/3/2004, 15 delegates
Past performance:
1984 (Caucus): ???
1988 (Caucus): Jackson, Dukakis
3/10/1992 (Caucus): Tsongas 30.2%, Uncommitted 29.6%, Clinton 20.8%, Brown 19.5%
Latest polls:
None.
Future results based on history:
Dean, Kerry, Lieberman

Delaware used to use caucuses, but then switched to primaries scheduled the Saturday after New Hampshire. Democratic Party rules don't allow a primary less than a week after New Hampshire, so Delaware's was just a "beauty contest" and the results never counted. In an attempt not to be ignored, the State rescheduled its 2004 primary to be one week after New Hampshire. Unfortunately, Delaware is an inconvenient state for campaigning, so it will still mostly be ignored. If you want to advertise on TV, you have to use the Philadelphia media market, of which Delaware is less than 10%. Delaware has few delegates and lacks the symbolic stature of Iowa and New Hampshire, so it is really isn't worth raising expectations by campaigining heavily. Caucus results of 2-3,000 voters are a poor predictor, but Delaware's support for Dukakis and Tsongas imply a northeastern bias. The strong performance of Brown implies acceptance of insurgents - that and the need for self-organizing volunteers on the ground give a small edge to Dean over Kerry. Third place is anyone's guess - Clinton's relatively weak performance suggests that a southern moderate like Edwards isn't a very good fit. Give third place to Lieberman, as Gephardt's failure to get in the top two in 1988 implies his labor organization won't go far.

Missouri Primary: 2/3/2004, 74 delegates
Past performance:
1984 (Caucus): ???
3/8/1988: Gephardt 57.8%, Jackson 20.2%, Dukakis 11.6%, Simon 4.1%, Gore 2.8%
3/10/1992 (Caucus): Clinton 45.1%, Tsongas 10.2%, Brown 5.7%, Uncommitted 39%
Latest poll:
Kansas City Star: Gephardt 45%, Kerry 13%, Lieberman 11%, Dean 9%
Future results based on history:
Gephardt, Kerry, Dean

Missouri votes like a mix of Midwest and South. Gephardt should win this very easily, and other campaigns are likely to bypass the state rather than risk failure. Brown's poor performance in the 1992 caucus is a bad sign for Dean, so look for Kerry to take the 2004 equivalent of the Dukakis vote. If Edwards were to commit some resources, he could probably take advantage of the Southern influence within the state to have a respectable showing. Chances are he won't bother, so look for Dean's self-organization to beat out Lieberman, who also won't compete here. Second and third place depend alot on who is able to attract the votes of African-Americans who supported Jackson and Clinton.

South Carolina Primary: 2/3/2004, 45 delegates
Past performance:
1984 (Caucus): Uncommitted
1988 (Caucus): Jackson, Gore
3/7/1992: Clinton 62.9%, Tsongas 18.3%, Harkin 6.6%, Brown 6.0%
Latest polls:
ARG: Lieberman 14%, Edwards 10%, Gephardt 8%, Kerry 6%, Dean 5%
Zogby: Lieberman 13%, Gephardt 8%, Sharpton 8%, Edwards 5%, Kerry 5%, Dean 4%
Future results based on history:
Edwards, Lieberman, Kerry

This will be the primary to watch on February 3rd, as it will be the indicator of how the South will vote. Of course, there are two main blocks of votes: whites and African-Americans. Clinton was able to get both in 1992 and dominate the South. In 1988, Jackson got the vast majority of African-Americans' votes while Gore did best among white voters as the only Southern moderate. Unlike 1984, 1988, and 1992, no single candidate is likely to dominate the African-American vote. This state is make or break for Edwards, but he is well suited as the only Southern moderate and he will likely saturate the cheap TV market. Look for him to match Gore's 1988 performance here and throughout the South among whites, plus get a share of the African-American vote. Gephardt is angling for the same voters as Edwards, but he doesn't have the same close ties to the state nor the money that Edwards has. Lieberman is counting on appealing to African-Americans through his association with Gore, his history of registering voters during the civil rights era, and on his faith-based rhetoric. Unfortunately, Lieberman may be aligning himself too closely with Bush to make it work. Sharpton is a wild card: if he catches on among African-Americans, it could harm Lieberman. There seems to be at least 30% of the vote available for the various northerners, and Kerry's military background will be a plus here. If Clark gets in the race, he could potentially scramble the outcome and win here.

Next week: Arizona, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma

CA Pol Junkie :: 12:32 PM :: Comments (17) :: Digg It!