Monday, July 28, 2003

Prof. Sabato on the Democratic contest

Kos over at Daily Kos remarks on UVA professor Larry Sabato’s predictions about the Democratic candidates’ chances against President Bush next November.

Kos is miffed that Sabato omits Dean from the analysis; I tend to agree that the omission of Dean from this list seems odd. (In Sabato’s defense, this analysis was published in June – meaning that Dean’s shocking fundraising performance was not yet known and his status as “insurgent” was still the accepted conventional wisdom.)

To recap, here’s where Dean stands:

  • Statistically tied for the lead in California.

  • Statistically tied for the lead in New Hampshire.

  • Gaining in Iowa.

  • Raised more money than any other candidate in Q2.

  • Will enjoy a fundraising windfall in January when matching funds are disbursed; nearly half of Dean’s contributions are matchable (compared with the average of 14-15%). This could result in a war chest of $12-15m going into the primaries, in addition to whatever he has in the bank after raising money through Q3 and Q4 of this year (I’m assuming he raises another $20m this year. That’s very aggressive, I realize. Even a more conservative estimate still reinforces my point.)

  • Is demonstrating an uncanny knack for leveraging his advantage on the Internet to spend less and raise more — see today’s challenge against the Bush/Cheney ticket as another example — the campaign will have raised over a half million dollars from over 9,000 contributors. How’d they do it? An invitation-only $3/plate turkey lunch.

  • Has more contributors to his campaign than any other, and is trending to widen the gap.

  • Has more volunteers actively involved in the campaign — with six months to go before the primaries — than any other campaign.

While I think the debate about electability is premature — the voters will figure that out for themselves without the pundits decreeing who’s electable — I do think it’s not too early to identify top tier candidates from second tier candidates, etc.

By any objective measure, Dean belongs in the top tier. Whether you think he’s the frontrunner or not is beside the point… but I think it’s an eminently fair request to ask that Sabato’s next analysis include Governor Dean.

The Crystal Ball site is due for a July update. Think Dean will be in that update?

1 comment:

  1. notice though the recently update under Dean's profile:

    July 30, 2003 Update:

    Dean continues to surprise. In fact, the argument could be made that he is the only surprising candidate in the Democratic field. In the second quarter, Dean was the class of the field, raising $7.6 million, far more than the second place John Kerry ($5.8 million). Moreover, Dean is the talk of the political town, and for the first time is now leading Kerry in at least one poll in New Hampshire. There are miles to go before we sleep, but the Democratic establishment is coming to terms with the idea that Dean might actually get nominated. Most fear that prospect, and expect disaster in November. However, a minority of the Democratic poobahs are making their peace with Dean--such is their intense dislike of George W. Bush and so great is their desire to oust him from the White House.