Wednesday :: Oct 1, 2003

Democratic Primary Preview: Connecticut, Maryland, New York


by CA Pol Junkie

by CA Pol Junkie

This is the eighth in a series of previews of the Democratic primaries, and the second 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; MA, RI, VT

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. Clark throws a wrench into this analysis, since we don't really know who he is as a politician. Besides being southern and having a military background, he appears to be a nonideological nonpartisan moderate so his position in these rankings reflects those assumptions.

Connecticut Primary: 3/2/2004, 49 delegates
Past performance:
3/27/1984: Hart 52.7%, Mondale 29.1%, Jackson 12.0%, Askew 2.8%, McGovern 1.1%, Hollings 1.0%
3/29/1988: Dukakis 58.1%, Jackson 28.3%, Gore 7.7%, Hart 2.4%, Simon 1.3%, Babbitt 1.0%, Gephardt 0.4%
3/24/1992: Brown 37.2%, Clinton 35.6%, Tsongas 19.5%, Uncommitted 3.1%, Harkin 1.1%, Kerrey 0.7%
Latest poll:
Quinnipiac University: Lieberman 37%, Dean 17%, Kerry 17%, Gephardt 8%, Braun 4%, Edwards 3%, Sharpton 3%, Graham 2%, Kucinich 0%
Future results based on history:
Lieberman, Dean, Kerry

This may be Lieberman's home state, but it will be an interesting race nonetheless. The historical record suggests Connecticut would be very favorable to Dean, since this was one of Brown's best states and Hart had a strong win here in 1984. Lieberman beat Republican Lowell Weicker for Senate in 1988 by running to his right. Weicker became an independent and was elected governor in 1990, and has endorsed Dean. Assuming Lieberman's campaign is strong going into this primary, he should still win it, but Dean will probably run a strong second. With Lieberman taking much of the moderate vote already, that will leave little for a southern moderate like Edwards or Clark. Kerry's regional ties should give him third place easily.

Maryland Primary: 3/2/2004, 69 delegates
Past performance:
5/8/1984: Mondale 42.5%, Jackson 25.5%, Hart 24.3%, Glenn 1.2%, McGovern 1.1%
3/8/1988: Dukakis 45.6%, Jackson 28.7%, Gore 8.7%, Gephardt 7.9%, Simon 3.1%, Hart 1.8%, Babbitt 0.9%
3/3/1992: Tsongas 40.6%, Clinton 33.5%, Brown 8.2%, Uncommitted 6.4%, Harkin 5.8%, Kerrey 4.8%
Latest poll:
Gonzales / Arscott: Dean 25%, Lieberman 23%, Kerry 11%, Gephardt 10%, others < 10%
Future results based on history:
Lieberman, Kerry, Dean

Yeah, Dean may be leading in the only poll here, but historically speaking he has no business being in front! Fellow outsiders Jerry Brown and Gary Hart had weak showings while Tsongas had his third best result here (after Massachusetts and Rhode Island). The bias toward New England establishment and the DLC means Lieberman and Kerry should be strong contenders for first place. The African-American vote is big, so it could decide the winner if one candidate ends up getting the lion's share. Gephardt, Dean, and a southern moderate are all potentially competitive for third place. The southern moderate vote will be split between Edwards and Clark, while Dean's organization and money should be able to improve upon Brown's 1992 performance to take third (ignoring that he is the apparent frontrunner).

New York Primary: 3/2/2004, 236 delegates
Past performance:
4/3/1984: Mondale 45.0%, Hart 27.6%, Jackson 25.7%, Glenn 1.2%, McGovern 0.3%
4/19/1988: Dukakis 50.9%, Jackson 37.1%, Gore 10.0%, Simon 1.1%, Gephardt 0.2%
4/7/1992: Clinton 40.9%, Tsongas 28.6%, Brown 26.2%, Harkin 1.1%, Kerrey 1.1%
Latest polls:
Marist College: Lieberman 23%, Dean 13%, Sharpton 10%, Gephardt 8%, Kerry 8%, Clark 6%, Braun 3%, Edwards 3%, Graham 2%, Kucinich 1%
Quinnipiac University: Clark 18%, Dean 17%, Lieberman 13%, Kerry 12%, Braun 6%, Sharpton 6%, Gephardt 5%, others < 5%
Future results based on history:
Dean, Lieberman, Kerry

Conventional wisdom has it that New York is Lieberman's to lose because of the Jewish vote and regional favoritism. That might make him a strong contender, but Brown's very strong showing in 1992 shows that Dean has a strong constituency in what will be a fragmented vote. The African-American vote is very important and will be pivotal if it coalesces around one candidate in addition to Sharpton. Sharpton could conceivably take third here, but he certainly has less upward potential in the polls than Kerry or Gephardt. Gephardt was out of the race for three weeks before the New York primary in 1988, but 0.2% is still a "miserable failure", so give third place to Kerry. Then there is the Clark factor - New York isn't a big military state, it's certainly not southern, and history hasn't shown it to be especially moderate either. His high showing in the Quinnipiac Poll might be default voters moving away from Lieberman, but still not following the race closely. Both polls are of registered Democrats, not likely Democratic primary voters. We'll have to wait and see who Wesley Clark ends up being on the campaign trail. Clark may be the fallback for many Lieberman supporters when if he falters early.

Next week: Georgia, Ohio, Texas

CA Pol Junkie :: 1:20 PM :: Comments (7) :: Spotlight :: Digg It!