Wednesday :: Sep 24, 2003

Democratic Primary Preview: Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont


by CA Pol Junkie

by CA Pol Junkie

This is the seventh in a series of previews of the Democratic primaries, and the first of four on the March 2nd contests which will almost certainly determine the nominee. Previous previews: IA, NH; DE, MO, SC; AZ, NM, ND, OK; MI, WA, ME; DC, TN, VA; WI, ID, UT

March 2nd will be the grand finale of the primary campaign, with 12 contests deciding who gets over 30% of the convention's delegates. 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 the major candidates are still solidly in the running. Looking at history, the New England contests shown here should be easy to predict. In all cases, the winning margin should be huge and second and third place may not even reach the 15% threshold to get convention delegates.

Massachusetts Primary: 3/2/2004, 93 delegates
Past performance:
3/13/1984: Hart 39.0%, Mondale 25.5%, McGovern 21.3%, Glenn 7.2%, Jackson 5.0%
3/8/1988: Dukakis 58.6%, Jackson 18.7%, Gephardt 10.2%, Gore 4.4%, Simon 3.7%, Hart 1.5%, Babbitt 0.6%
3/10/1992: Tsongas 66.4%, Brown 14.6%, Clinton 10.9%, Other 5.4%, Uncommitted 1.5%, Kerrey 0.7%, Harkin 0.5%
Latest poll:
none.
Future results based on history:
Kerry, Dean, Gephardt

History shows a home state governor getting a 40% victory and a home state senator getting a 50% victory - I wonder what we should expect this time? Decent support for Brown and Hart indicate Dean should be able to get second place, and Gephardt at least got double digits against Dukakis, so give third to him.

Rhode Island Primary: 3/2/2004, 21 delegates
Past performance:
3/13/1984: Hart 45.0%, Mondale 34.5%, Jackson 8.7%, Glenn 5.1%, McGovern 4.8%
3/8/1988: Dukakis 69.8%, Jackson 15.2%, Gephardt 4.1%, Gore 4.0%, Simon 2.8%, Hart 1.5%, Babbitt 1.0%
3/10/1992: Tsongas 52.9%, Clinton 21.2%, Brown 18.8%, Other 4.1%, Uncommitted 1.4%, Kerrey 0.9%, Harkin 0.6%
Latest polls:
Brown University: Dean 17%, Kerry 17%, Lieberman 17%, Gephardt 7%, Braun 3%, Sharpton 2%, Edwards 1%, Kucinich 1%, Graham 0%
Future results based on history:
Kerry, Dean, Lieberman

Rhode Island is a political cousin of Massachusetts, with similar results for the most part in the past. Gephardt's performance was weaker here in 1988, though, so perhaps third place should go elsewhere. Clinton did significantly better here than in Massachusetts - although it's tough to say if that was DLC, southern moderation, or charisma talking. Although Rhode Island has much more in common with Massachusetts than Connecticut, I'll guess that Lieberman would get the regional DLC vote to take third. The poll results are surprising in my view, reflecting Dean's very strong campaign.

Vermont Primary: 3/2/2004, 15 delegates
Past performance:
3/6/1984: Hart 71.1%, Mondale 20.3%, Jackson 7.9%
3/1/1988: Dukakis 55.8%, Jackson 25.7%, Gephardt 7.7%, Simon 5.2%, Hart 4.0%
3/31/1992 (Caucus): Brown 46.7%, Uncommitted 25%, Clinton 16.8%, Tsongas 9.3%
Latest polls:
None.
Future results based on history:
Dean, Kerry, Gephardt

The best way to sum up Vermont is "quirky". They love their outsider and insurgent candidates: Vermont gave Hart his second best primary result in 1984 and Brown's 1992 result was his best overall (yes, better than California). This year, we have a quirky outsider candidate who also happens to have been governor here for 11 years - I wonder what will happen? Of course, Dean often battled with the left wing, with 10% going to the Progressive candidate in the 2000 governor election. The liberal vote is also evident in Jackson's 1988 showing in a state that is essentially all white. Kucinich could sneak into the top three - Vermont does have a socialist congressman, after all, but let's assume the distant second place goes to the regional pseudo-liberal Kerry and Gephardt's 1988 showing will be repeated in 2004.

Next week: Connecticut, Maryland, New York

CA Pol Junkie :: 10:00 AM :: Comments (5) :: Digg It!