Going For The Trifecta In Iowa
Two new polls show different things in Iowa. The latest Des Moines Register poll shows Obama now leading Clinton 28%-25%, within the margin of error, using a sample of 500 likely Democratic caucus goers. This poll also shows that many in Iowa remain undecided. However, a new large poll from Pew and the AP that covered all three of the early states shows that Hillary is comfortably ahead among likely Democratic participants in New Hampshire and South Carolina, and is ahead of Obama by five points in Iowa. According to this poll, Hillary owns the health care issue.
If Hillary seems comfortably ahead in New Hampshire and South Carolina, her camp probably feels they can absorb a loss in Iowa, but that doesn't mean they'll let it happen. Given her strength on health care and Obama's relative weakness against her on the issue, count on Hillary to go for the trifecta in Iowa by pounding him on integrity and by questioning which of them is the real Democrat.
Remember, Rove taught us to attack from our position of weakness. It was thought that Hillary was vulnerable on trade, and being too centrist. Yet it would make sense for her campaign to roll the dice in Iowa the rest of the way by attacking Obama on health care, his Democratic bona fides, and by distancing herself from free trade.
Obama rightly thought that this race would revolve in large measure around Iraq, Iran, and in his ability to emerge quickly as the Anyone But Hillary candidate. But what happens if Hillary responds by making it a two-person race, beating him on domestic issues, reminding voters that all Democrats will get us out of Iraq and avoid a war with Iran, and creating doubt about Obama's commitment to progressive change? If she does this successfully and takes all three early races, Obama's in trouble.