Wednesday :: Sep 17, 2003

Democratic Primary Preview: Wisconsin, Idaho, Utah


by CA Pol Junkie

by CA Pol Junkie

This is the sixth in a series of previews of the Democratic primaries. The previews are 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; AZ, NM, ND, OK; MI, WA, ME; DC, TN, VA

These contests will be in the lull of the primary season leading up to the grand finale on March 2nd. There will only be 2-3 contenders and the rest will be pretenders at this point. We don't know who the contenders will be though, so for this analysis let's assume all of them are still solidly in the running. Now that Clark is in, there are really more questions about his candidacy than answers. We know his military background will be an important part of his campaign, but his style and issue positions are up in the air.

Wisconsin Primary: 2/17/2004, 72 delegates
Past performance:
4/3/1984: Hart 44.4%, Mondale 41.1%, Jackson 9.8%, McGovern 1.6%, Glenn 1.0%
4/5/1988: Dukakis 47.6%, Jackson 28.2%, Gore 17.4%, Simon 4.8%, Gephardt 0.8%, Hart 0.7%
4/7/1992: Clinton 37.2%, Brown 34.5%, Tsongas 21.8%, Uncommitted 2.0%, Harkin 0.7%, Kerrey 0.4%
Latest poll:
none.
Future results based on history:
Dean, Kerry, Edwards

Dean should be the clear favorite here based on strong performances by outsiders Brown and Hart in the past. Gore's relatively impressive showing indicates the presence of a market for a southern populist/moderate like Edwards. Gephardt had dropped out of the campaign a week before this contest in 1988, but Simon was out too and got six times as much support. There should be a decent vote here for a basic northeasterner like Kerry to round out the top three.

Idaho Caucus: 2/24/2004, 18 delegates
Past performance:
5/15/1984 (Primary): Mondale 74.2%, Hart 21.4%, Jackson 2.1%
5/24/1988 (Primary): Dukakis 67.7%, Jackson 14.5%, Gore 3.4%, Simon 2.5%
3/3/1992: Harkin 29.7%, Tsongas 28.4%, Uncommitted 17.2%, Clinton 11.4%, Kerrey 8%, Brown 4.5%
Latest polls:
None.
Future results based on history:
Kerry, Dean, Kucinich

In 1992, Tom Harkin won no primaries and three caucuses: Iowa, Minnesota, and... Idaho! Idaho may be conservative, but that doesn't mean the Democrats are - they are just badly outnumbered! They sure seem to like classic liberals there. Kerry is probably as close as we have in the current field to an old-time liberal. Gephardt wasn't on the ballot in 1988, so it's hard to say what his support might be. Brown did poorly here in 1992, but Dean's organization will get him in the top three of any caucus. Here's a wild card: I actually think Kucinich could hit his high-water mark here and place in the top three. The good showings by lost causes Harkin and Kerrey give all the also-rans hope of an upset!

Utah "Primary": 2/27/2004, 23 delegates
Past performance:
1984:
1988: Dukakis won
3/3/1992: Tsongas 33.4%, Brown 28.4%, Clinton 18.3%, Kerrey 10.9%, Harkin 4.0%
Latest polls:
None.
Future results based on history:
Dean, Kerry, Lieberman

This is a "firehouse" primary run by the Democratic Party, since the GOP controlled state government wants to "save money" by not having a primary. It will be on a Friday (?!?). It might not be a caucus, but its participants will likely be the same people you'd find at a caucus. Organization will be everything for this, and Brown's strong showing shows Utah to be fertile ground for Dean, who has actually campaigned here. Clinton's poor result doesn't look promising for Edwards, and this probably isn't fertile ground for Gephardt either, so give all three of the top spots to the New Englanders.

Next week, the first installment on the decisive March 2nd contests: Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont

CA Pol Junkie :: 2:19 PM :: Comments (7) :: Digg It!