Wednesday :: Oct 8, 2003

Democratic Primary Preview: Georgia, Ohio, Texas


by CA Pol Junkie

by CA Pol Junkie

This is the ninth in a series of previews of the Democratic primaries, and the third 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; CT, MD, NY

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 of them are still solidly in the running. Unlike 1988's "Super Tuesday", 2004's has very little southern influence. Several southern states will have their primaries the next week, by which time it will be all but over.

Georgia Primary: 3/2/2004, 86 delegates
Past performance:
3/13/1984: Mondale 30.5%, Hart 27.3%, Jackson 21.0%, Glenn 17.9%, McGovern 1.7%
3/8/1988: Jackson 39.8%, Gore 32.4%, Dukakis 15.6%, Gephardt 6.7%, Hart 2.5%, Simon 1.3%, Babbitt 0.5%
3/3/1992: Clinton 57.2%, Tsongas 24.0%, Brown 8.1%, Kerry 4.8%, Uncommitted 3.8%, Harkin 2.1%
Latest poll:
none.
Future results based on history:
Clark, Edwards, Lieberman

The Georgia Democratic Primary is a tale of three electorates: moderate / conservative whites, Atlanta liberal whites, and African-Americans. Clark and Edwards have the inside track at the classic southern whites that voted for Gore in 1988 and joined African-Americans backing Clinton. Note John Glenn's relatively huge performance (second best after Alabama) in 1984 in spite of being out of the race. On that basis, go with the classic moderate hero-figure in the race, Clark, to win Georgia. Note that Tsongas did alot better in 1992 than Dukakis did in 1988. This might be for the fiscal conservatism Dean represents, but Brown did poorly here in 1992, so let's figure third place to go to Lieberman for the DLC credentials that he has in common with Tsongas. Kerry's military background will help him here (although Clark has him beat on that count) and Dean will do well among the Atlanta liberals. If either of them gets disproportionate African-American support, they should be able to place in the top three.

Ohio Primary: 3/2/2004, 140 delegates
Past performance:
5/8/1984: Hart 42.0%, Mondale 40.3%, Jackson 16.4%, McGovern 0.6%, Cranston 0.3%
5/3/1988: Dukakis 62.9%, Jackson 27.4%, Gore 2.2%, Hart 2.1%, Simon 1.1%
6/2/1992: Clinton 61.2%, Brown 18.9%, Tsongas 10.6%, Harkin 2.4%, Kerrey 2.2%
Latest polls:
Ohio Poll: Lieberman 22%, Gephardt 14%, Dean 9%, Kucinich 9%, Kerry 8%, Braun 6%, Sharpton 6%, Graham 5%, Clark 3%, Edwards 1%
Future results based on history:
Gephardt, Dean, Kerry

Ohio is in the industrial heartland, and is a natural part of Gephardt's base. In 1988, Gephardt was out of the race well before Ohio's primary and wasn't even on the ballot. If he has a strong campaign up to this point in 2004, however, his broad support from industrial unions will put him over the top. In 1984, however, the primary race was still competitive to this point and Ohio gave Hart a narrow victory over the establishment labor-supported candidate, Mondale. Brown did reasonably well in 1992 as well, so Dean is well positioned to benefit from the state's acceptance of insurgent outsiders. Third place is hard to judge, since the 1988 and 1992 contests were after the nominee was evident. Kerry must have a constituency here as the establishment moderate-liberal.

Texas Primary: 3/2/2004 (?), 195 delegates
Past performance:
1984: (no primary)
3/8/1988: Dukakis 32.8%, Jackson 24.5%, Gore 20.2%, Gephardt 13.6%, Hart 4.7%, Simon 2.0%
3/10/1992: Clinton 65.6%, Tsongas 19.2%, Brown 8.0%, Kerrey 1.4%, Harkin 1.3%
Latest polls:
None.
Future results based on history:
Dean, Clark, Gephardt

Yes, Dukakis really did get more votes than anyone else in the Texas primary in 1988! Latinos make the difference. Dukakis, who happens to speak fluent Spanish, did very well among Latinos. Preliminary polling from other states seems to indicate Latinos are leaning toward Clark and Dean. Dean actually speaks decent Spanish thanks to a summer working with Cuban immigrants. Of course, classic southern white voters will gravitate toward Clark and Edwards, while the African-American vote will presumably be split. Like in Georgia, there are also urban white liberals, particularly around Austin. The results this year are likely to be as fractured in 1988, but look for urban liberals and Latinos to give Dean the plurality, with Clark's share of the southern whites and Latinos giving him second. Edwards' share of southern whites might be enough to give him third, but Gephardt is in good shape thanks to his relatively decent showing in 1988.

Next week, the final preview: California, Hawaii, Minnesota

CA Pol Junkie :: 2:46 PM :: Comments (6) :: Digg It!