Friday, December 14, 2007

Can Joe Biden really surprise in Iowa?

So I've been reading some speculation about how Biden might "surprise everyone" and finish 3rd in the Iowa Caucus come January 3rd.

While I would love that outcome, anything to get him in the top tier, I just don't see how it happens in the Democratic caucus system in Iowa, logistically speaking.

As I understand it, you need ~15% in a precinct to be viable. Since the latest RCP avg has him at 4.3% in Iowa, are there really that many precincts where he breaks 15%? I know he's a lot of voters' 2nd choice, but I don't see how that helps if you're not viable in the first place.

Even where he does hit 15%, to make a strong showing, he'd have to peel voters away from nonviable candidates to get an appreciable share of delegates. What seems to be important is how many 2nd tier supporters have Biden as their 2nd choice. It doesn't seem to help him to be the second choice of Clinton or Obama supporters, since they'd probably be viable in most precincts.

My point is, while I can see Biden leap-frogging Richardson into 4th place, since they both draw on the same pool of foreign policy-minded "experience counts" voters, I can't see how he gets anywhere near or past Edwards. But hey, didn't someone say something about the Politics of Hope?

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