Wednesday :: Aug 27, 2003

Democratic Primary Preview: AZ, NM, ND, OK


by CA Pol Junkie

by CA Pol Junkie

This is the third 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 previews: IA, NH; DE, MO, SC

These primaries, along with Delaware, Missouri, and South Carolina, 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 solidly in the running.

Arizona Primary: 2/3/2004, 55 delegates
Past performance:
1984 (Caucus): ???
1988 (Caucus): Dukakis, Jackson
3/7/1992 (Caucus): Tsongas 34.4%, Clinton 29.2%, Brown 27.5%, Harkin 7.6%
Latest polls:
Behavior Research Center: Lieberman 17%, Kerry 13%, Gephardt 9%, Dean 7%
Future results based on history:
Lieberman, Dean, Kerry

Arizona has a primary which is open to voters registered as independent, which will have very different dynamics from the Democratic Party caucuses of 1984-1992. The state itself has changed as it has grown rapidly in the last decade. Arizona is very progressive with political reform, having an independent commission for redistricting and clean elections. Naturally, this is not the ideal state for party insiders. New Hampshire might be a good indicator of what will happen here, since we will learn how big the independent vote is and which way it leans. As in NH, Dean is well positioned. However, "DLC" is not necessarily a dirty word here, so Lieberman can win if he gets significant independent support. Gephardt, as the classic liberal insider, didn't finish in the top two in 1988 and probably won't make the top 3 here. Edwards could make a play here, but Kerry probably has the inside line to take third.

New Mexico Caucus: 2/3/2004, 26 delegates
Past performance:
1984 (Primary): Hart 46.7%, Mondale 36.1%, Jackson 11.8%, McGovern 2.7%
6/7/1988 (Primary): Dukakis 61.0%, Jackson 28.1%, Hart 3.7%, Gore 2.5%, Babbitt 1.5%, Simon 1.5%
6/2/1992 (Primary): Clinton 52.9%, Brown 16.9%, Tsongas 6.2%, Harkin 1.8%
Latest polls:
None.
Future results based on history:
History is useless, but here's my guess: Dean, Kerry, Gephardt

One needs to take history with a grain of salt for this race. New Mexico held primaries from 1984-1992, and the primaries in 1988 and 1992 were after the nomination had been sewn up by the frontrunner. Voting for Hart in 1984 could be regional favoritism or it could be favoring new ideas over the establishment candidate. The biggest clue as to who will do well is that it will be a caucus, favoring Dean and Gephardt with the soldiers on the ground. Brown's decent showing in 1992 might be a good sign for Dean. Of course, Gephardt wasn't even on the 1988 ballot here, so it's anyone's guess as to how much support he has. I'm making a wild guess putting Kerry in the top three - Lieberman is a possibility, but I think the caucus arrangement works against him.

North Dakota Caucus: 2/3/2004, 14 delegates
Past performance:
1984: ???
1988: ???
3/5-19/1992: Clinton 46.0%, Tsongas 10.3%, Brown 7.5%, Harkin 6.8%, Kerrey 1.2%
Latest polls:
None.
Future results based on history:
Gephardt, Edwards, Dean

We don't have very much history to go on here, as I was unable to locate caucus results from 1984 and 1988. The one data point we have indicates weakness for a New England moderate and an insurgent, bad news for Kerry and Dean. The caucus arrangement benefits Gephardt, and there would seem to be an opening for a populist like Edwards. Dean gets third just because his self-organized supporters can make a big dent when there are just a few thousand caucus participants.

Oklahoma Primary: 2/3/2004, 40 delegates
Past performance:
1984 (Caucus): ???
3/8/1988: Gore 41.2%, Gephardt 21.0%, Dukakis 16.8%, Jackson 13.3%, Hart 3.6%, Simon 1.8%, Babbitt 0.4%
3/10/1992: Clinton 70.5%, Brown 16.7%, Harkin 3.4%, Kerrey 3.2%
Latest polls:
None.
Future results based on history:
Edwards, Gephardt, Dean

Oklahoma is essentially a Southern state. The strong performance by Gore in 1988 is indicative that this should be a good state for Edwards. Likewise, Gephardt should be able to match his 1988 performance. Third place may well be a distant third, but Brown's decent showing in 1992 gives Dean some hope of beating out Lieberman and Kerry. If Clark were to run, he would eat into the bases of Edwards, Kerry, and Dean and indirectly help Gephardt and Lieberman.

Next week's installment in the series: the caucus trio of Michigan, Washington, and Maine

CA Pol Junkie :: 12:02 PM :: Comments (8) :: Digg It!