With the spectre of Iowa still looming behind them, the
Democratic hopefuls will try to convert their triumphs and failures
from last Monday’s caucuses into success in Tuesday’s
New Hampshire primary.
The candidates’ results in Iowa could have a significant
effect on voter sentiment in New Hampshire.
A Boston Globe poll released yesterday showed the once-presumed
frontrunner, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, 10 points behind Sen.
John Kerr of Massachusetts — the victor of the Iowa caucuses
— in New Hampshire.
Political science Prof. Vincent Hutchings said the results in
Iowa have “given considerable media attention to candidates
who appeared to be written off.” Referring to Kerry and
runner-up Edwards he added, “These candidates now appear to
Kerry won in Iowa despite the success of Dean’s attacks on
Washington politicians and despite criticism from Dean over
Kerry’s vote for the October 2002 resolution authorizing the
use of force against Iraq.
Although Dean finished a distant third in Monday’s race,
Hutchings said the result could be a blessing in disguise.
“This may be the beginning of the end for Dean or it may
shift scorn away from him,” Hutchings said. But he added,
“This is a good thing for Dean — it has lowered
Candidates in New Hampshire will not have to face an electoral
system as intricate as that which confounded pundits in Iowa. As in
national elections, voters in New Hampshire will register their
votes via secret ballot in polling sites across the state.
“The hurdle for participation is not as high as the
caucuses,” Hutchings said. “Primary voting is a
solitary process. A caucus is much more socially
interactive.” New Hampshire’s primary is open to
independents, who outnumber partisans in the state, he said.
It remains to be seen whether remaining campaign backers of Rep.
Dick Gephardt, who dropped out of the race after a disappointing
fourth-place finish in Iowa, will migrate to other candidates. Over
the past two days, a slew of New Hampshire Democrats who formerly
backed Gephardt switched their loyalties to the Kerry camp.
Many campaign watchers are waiting to see which candidates
unions will endorse now that Gephardt has dropped out. But Iowa
showed the limited value of these endorsements, as Kerry took a
majority of the union-member vote though he lacked Dean and
Gephardt’s major labor backers.
Kerry also fared well among Iowa veterans. According to Kerry
spokesman David DiMartino, his campaign is mounting a similarly
aggressive veteran outreach program in New Hampshire.
“Kerry may not have to win (in New Hampshire),”
Hutchings said. He doesn’t want expectations to be so high
that a close second is seen as a loss, he added. In 1992 Bill
Clinton became the Democratic presidential nominee without winning
either Iowa or New Hampshire. Kerry’s Monday night win shifts
the locus of scrutiny from Dean’s campaign to his.
Most notable among Kerry’s New Hampshire supporters are
former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen and Manchester Mayor Bob Baines.
Edwards hopes he will capitalize upon his relative victory in
Iowa with a surge in the New Hampshire polls. He has snagged
endorsements from a handful of New Hampshire House representatives,
including that of Minority Leader Peter Burling.
Retired Gen. Wesley Clark, who sat on the bench for the Iowa
caucuses, was polling a distant second to Dean until recently. In
the latest Zogby poll, he is now a distant third. Clark may benefit
from his extensive organization in the Granite state, where he has
nine regional offices.
Conn. Sen. Joe Lieberman also sat out in Iowa. Like Clark he
skipped Iowa and is placing much importance on Tuesday’s
contest. Lieberman received an endorsement this week from New
Hampshire’s largest newspaper, the Manchester Union Leader,
which could play a key role in his campaign, similar to The Des
Moines Register’s endorsement of John Edwards helping him
with a second place finish in Iowa. The Globe poll places Edwards
seven points ahead of Lieberman with 11 percent of potential New
Hampshire primary voters.
Although Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich finished with only 1 percent
of the Iowa state delegate equivalence and Sharpton received even
fewer votes, both have yet to drop out of the race.
New Hampshire’s demographic profile may hurt Rev. Al
Sharpton, who finished in second place in the advisory primary in
D.C., where he garnered one third of the vote among four
participating candidates. The District of Columbia holds a primary
but does not contribute delegates to the national convention.
Sharpton’s success there has been credited to his popularity
“There are, for all intensive purposes, neither any
Latinos nor blacks in either Iowa or Vermont,” Hutchings
said. Iowa is far less urbanized than much of America, he
Both Sharpton and Edwards, who shares success among black
voters, are hoping for victories in the Feb. 3 South Carolina
primary, in which blacks are expected to comprise half of the
The undecideds — 17 percent in the Zogby poll — may
make the difference in New Hampshire. In Iowa, undecided voters
helped to cement Kerry’s lead as his support base
materialized in the final days before the caucuses. Kerry hopes to
pull off a similar victory in a rematch with Dean Tuesday.