Wednesday :: Oct 15, 2003

Democratic Primary Preview: California, Hawaii, Minnesota


by CA Pol Junkie

by CA Pol Junkie

This is the tenth and final preview of the Democratic primaries, and the last 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; GA, OH, TX

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.

California Primary: 3/2/2004, 370 delegates
Past performance:
6/5/1984: Hart 38.9%, Mondale 35.3%, Jackson 18.4%, Glenn 3.3%, McGovern 2.4%
6/7/1988: Dukakis 60.9%, Jackson 35.1%, Gore 1.8%, Simon 1.4%
6/2/1992: Clinton 47.5%, Brown 40.2%, Tsongas 7.4%, Kerrey 1.2%
Latest polls:
Field Poll: Clark 17%, Dean 14%, Lieberman 14%, Kerry 9%, Gephardt 5%, Sharpton 4%, Braun 3%, Edwards 1%, Kucinich 1%
USA Today/CNN/Gallup: Clark 19%, Dean 15%, Lieberman 14%, Kerry 8%, Gephardt 5%, Braun 4%, Edwards 4%, Kucinich 3%, Sharpton 3%, Graham 0%
Future results based on history:
Dean, Kerry, Clark

California is the mother of all delegate prizes and with its primary moved up, it will be key in determining the nominee. Perhaps Jerry Brown's strong showing in 1992 should be discounted since this is his home state, but of course there is a reason he was governor here. California is socially liberal but fiscally moderate to conservative. Brown's success, Hart's victory over Mondale, and Gray Davis' unpopularity with Democrats are evidence of the state's disinclination toward the party establishment. That makes Dean a good fit for California. Kerry should do well as a solid moderate/liberal. Third place could go to Clark, Lieberman, or Gephardt. Unions are politically strong in California, but the strongest are those not in Gephardt's base: teachers, state employees, health care workers, and prison guards. Lieberman will probably remind Democratic voters a little too much of Gray Davis - give third place to Clark.

Hawaii Caucus: 3/2/2004, 20 delegates
Past performance:
1984: ???
3/8/1988: Dukakis 55%, Jackson 35%, Gephardt 2%, Gore 1%
3/10/1992: Clinton 51.5%, Tsongas 14.3%, Brown 13.6%, Harkin 12.7%, Kerrey 0.4%
Latest polls:
None.
Future results based on history:
Dean, Kerry, Clark

Hawaii has shown is affinity for liberals with its strong votes for Jackson in 1988 and Harkin in 1992, but the caucus results will depend largely on which candidates are running a 50 state campaign in the most literal sense. The self-organization of the Dean campaign, especially in the caucus arrangement, will make the difference. Kerry will have the resources to run a nationwide campaign and will have appeal here. If Clark's campaign harnesses his grassroots Meetup support, he could do well here too. The other candidates are not likely to have the money, grassroots, or inclination to compete here.

Minnesota Caucus: 3/2/2004, 72 delegates
Past performance:
1984: ???
1988: Dukakis 33.3%, Jackson 19.8%, Simon 17.9%, Gephardt 7.1%, Gore 1.0%
3/3/1992: Harkin 26.7%, Uncommitted 24.3%, Tsongas 19.2%, Clinton 10.3%, Brown 8.2%, Kerrey 7.6%
Latest polls:
None.
Future results based on history:
Gephardt, Dean, Kerry

The Minnesota DFL is known for its support of classic liberals like Mondale, Simon, and Harkin. 2004's caucus is likely to be as fractured as 1992. The liberal vote will be split among Kerry, Dean, Gephardt, and Kucinich. Kucinich has actually been endorsed by former DFL governor candidate John Marty and State Senate leader John Hottinger, giving him institutional support in addition to his small but active grassroots. The Iowa caucus will be a good preview of what might happen here, as first place is a real tossup. Gephardt's organization should be a big help, and he should benefit from being part of the Democratic old guard. Dean's grassroots support will also be strong, so he will compete for the top spot. Like in Iowa, Kerry should be able to take third with his resources and background, but watch for Kucinich to sneak into the top three.

CA Pol Junkie :: 10:24 AM :: Comments (6) :: Digg It!