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Tom Rinaldo

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Member since: Mon Oct 20, 2003, 05:39 PM
Number of posts: 22,145

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How Fast Can It Change? Iowa Caucus Polling - December 2003 and December 2007

The Iowa Democratic Caucus was held on January 19, 2004. On December 2, 2003 Howard Dean was leading the pack with 26% supporting him, with Dick Gephardt in second at 22%. John Kerry was in third at 9%, and John Edwards was fourth with 5%.

On January 7th, less than two week out, the numbers were different but the ranking was the same: Dean 30%, Gephardt 23%, Kerry 18%, Edwards 11%.

The actual results on January the 19th were: John Kerry 37.64% John Edwards 31.83%, Howard Dean 18.02%, and Dick Gephardt 10.06%.

Source Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_Democratic_Party_presidential_primaries%2C_2004#Iowa

The changes in how Democratic candidates fared between pre-caucus polling for the Iowa Caucus and the actual results on January 3, 2008 were not quite as dramatic, but they still were major. I found this data from ARG (American Research Group) for the Iowa Primary Contest. For point of reference, ARG was ranked tied for 5th out of 20 polling operations for their accuracy in predicting the final outcome of the 2008 presidential elections. Source: http://www.politisite.com/2010/08/06/poll-accuracy-in-the-2008-presidential-election-rasmussen-pew/

12/16 - 12/19/2007
Clinton 29%
Obama 25%
Edwards 18%

12/26 - 12/28
Clinton 31%
Obama 24%
Edwards 24%

12/31 - 1/2/08
Clinton 34%
Obama 25%
Edwards 21%

Actual Iowa Results on January 3, 2008
Obama 37.6%
Edwards 29.7%
Clinton 29.4%

Not to be misleading, the Real Clear Politics (RCP) composite polling data for Iowa that year was more accurate in the final days than ARG was for the Iowa contest (but harder to break out comparative figures out of), though composite figures for the weeks before those final days were similar.

For the period 12/26/07 through 1/02/07 RCP predicted:
Obama 30.8%
Clinton 29.2%
Edwards 26%

It should be noted that while both Joe Biden and Bill Richardson were only polling in single digits, they each still under performed by several points on the night of the actual caucus.

Here is something from the Gallup organization that is worth pondering, but while you do please note that it was published on January 6, 2004. In other words, it does not include data from the 2004 and 2008 races

"There have been 10 races over the last 50 years in which there was a significant contest for the Democratic nomination: 1952, 1956, 1960, 1968, 1972, 1976, 1984, 1988, 1992, and 2000. (The omitted years of 1964, 1980, and 1996 were ones in which a Democratic incumbent president ran for re-election with little or no opposition.)...

...In fact, in only 4 out of the 10 elections (Adlai Stevenson in 1952, John F. Kennedy in 1960, Walter Mondale in 1984, and Al Gore in 2000) did the front-runner in late December/early January win the Democratic Party's nomination. In all other instances, someone else came from behind as the primary season unfolded."

One final point. National opinion polls can react strongly to he results of early caucuses and primaries. Let's go back to the 2004 Democratic contest again and look at how national opinion polls correlated to early states results. Remember, Iowa voted on January 19th and NH on January 27. Here is a snapshot from a CBS national opinion poll taken shortly before those contests, and one a month later. Source:

Shortly before the 2004 Iowa Caucus, national polling:
Dean 24
Clark 12
Gephardt 11
Kerry 7
Edwards 5

One month later it looked like this
Kerry 53
Edwards 7
Sharpton 4
Kucinich 1
Other 12

It is a little bit early to be talking about the 2016 presumptive Democratic nominee.

Do You Believe That America is Exceptional? I Do.

What Makes America "Exceptional"? A Mirror for Our Better Angels - Do you recognize ourselves in it?

I am proud to be American when our enemies hate us for the qualities that make us great.

I am proud that Americans believe that all people are created equal and that women have the same rights as do men for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is something that America stands for in the world. One could say that makes America exceptional.

I am proud that Americans believe in the right to freely assemble, and to go where we wish to, when we want to, and to be with who we choose unfettered by intrusive government restrictions. It is something that America stands for in the world. One could say that makes America exceptional.

I am proud that Americans believe in freedom of religion; that no one should be discriminated against or penalized because of their religious beliefs or lack of same. It is something that America stands for in the world. One could say that makes America exceptional.

I am proud that our nation was founded with the belief that on these shores those who fled from religious persecution would find safe haven and a fresh start at rebuilding their lives. It was something that America stood for in the world. One could say that made America exceptional.

I am proud that America is predominantly a nation of immigrants. Not because there were times during our history when indigenous peoples were displaced or worse by newer arrivals. Unfortunately war and conquest are historic threads in the tapestry of virtually all humanity. That part is not exceptional. I am proud of America's vibrant tradition of inclusiveness, tolerance and co-existence that time and time again has risen up when most needed, to strengthen the ties that do bind us despite our many differences: E Pluribus Unum, “One Out of Many”. It is something that America stands for in the world. One could say that makes America exceptional.

I am proud of America's pioneering spirit. Our openness to new places, new people, and new experiences. Our willingness to stretch our horizons beyond the familiar and the oft illusionary sense of security that conformity and zealous caution brings is characteristic of our nature. We are known for being willing to take risks to achieve what we believe in. It is something that America stands for in the world. One could say that makes America exceptional.

I am proud that we know our Union is imperfect, and have vowed to strive to make it more perfect rather than just say it is good enough. It is something that America stands for in the world. One could say that makes America exceptional.

I am proud when I see America's brave and generous spirit, one that has encouraged many a man and woman to found or join with a not for profit organization dedicated to reducing human misery both here and around the world. Others were called to enlist in our Armed Forces out of a conviction that it was their duty to defend those who faced violent oppression, even genocide in this world. They did so out of a sense of common humanity, not for personal treasure. It is something that America still stands for in parts of the world. One could say that spirit makes many Americans exceptional.

I am proud when it is our impulse to offer hospitality to a stranger because they are a stranger, not despite them being one. I am proud that it is written on our most famous and cherished national monument "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." It is something that America stands for in the world.

One could say that all of these things make America exceptional, if in fact all of it remains true.

"I'll keep the oil"

Donald Trump said that this morning during his phone interview on Morning Joe while discussing his plans to defeat ISIL to "keep Americans safe". He wouldn't just send in thousands of American troops to fight against ISIL He would also seize the oil that ISIL currently controls. And he would "keep it" - giving some to disabled vets.

I haven't seen anyone in the media or politics pick up on this yet but it could prove to be the most dangerous statement Trump actually made, hidden in the shadows of his wildly anti-American stance about barring people from entering the United States based on a religious test.

ISIL may control oil resources now, but that is a very recent occurrence. ISIL didn't control any significant territory prior to the last few years. Where that oil lies is within the Sunni majority nation of Syria and in regions of Iraq where Kurds and non Kurdish Iraqi Sunnis have long been dominant, all of them believing that oil belonged to them. Who exactly does Donald Trump think he will ultimately be seizing the oil from if he gets his way? True a tiny portion of it may be in various storage tanks controlled by ISIL forces, but the overwhelming bulk of it sits below the ground where it has always, inside other Muslim nations.

So supposedly to make America safer from "Radical Islamic Terrorists, Donald Trump proposes sending an American invasion force into Arab Nations that will, among other things, steal their oil. Sounds a lot like something the actual Crusaders many centuries ago engaged in; occupy and plunder. What do you figure our Kurdish allies in this struggle will think of that? How about all those Iraqi Sunni Muslim tribes who we are counting on to ultimately help us oust ISIL from Mosul?

Exactly how does Trump plan on getting that oil and keeping it? How big an invasion, how large an occupation, and for how long? How many American lives is that oil worth to Trump - on the battle field in the Middle East AND here at home in American cities after his policy confirms the ISIL narrative that Americans really are 21st Century Crusaders out to plunder the Islamic world?

i'm Waiting for Republicans to Come Out Against the No Fly List

It simply follows from their logic. We live in a free society with constitutionally protected equal rights. Why should person A who has not been convicted of any crime be able to board an airplane while person B who has not been convicted of any crime can not?

That is the supposed basis for Republicans wanting people who have been placed on the Terrorist Watch List No Fly List to be able to buy guns. They claim those people with suspected terrorist sympathies have a constitutional right to own weapons that supersedes our right as a society to take seemingly reasonable measures to prevent a terrorist massacre. After all, maybe they were put on that list by mistake. Maybe the list is so shoddily assembled, so riddled with potential errors, that an innocent person might be prevented from buying an assault rifle even though someone involved in the national security apparatus had reason to think they might be a potential terrorist.

So why is it again that some people are being denied the right to travel freely? Why is their potential livelihood being threatened because they can not move rapidly from point A to point B by plane should their business interests require them to? Are only Americans who want to buy guns having their constitutional rights abridged through placement on a No Fly list? Is it the Republican position that we have to let them all arm themselves while we simultaneously keep them off our planes? But, but, they just might be innocent they say. How can Republicans support the No Fly list then I wonder? I expect them to come out strongly against it, oh, any century now.

Clinton Didn't Implode, So It Goes Like This...

National poll no longer matter on the Democratic side, not at all, except in the very unlikely event that either Clinton or Sanders yet has an event or series of events that makes their campaigns start to fundamentally unravel. That hasn't happened to date and there no longer is any plausible reason to think it still might prior to the Iowa and New Hampshire results coming in.

I am not saying that national polls are inherently irrelevant, I am saying that their influence now is essentially already baked in for the period that precedes the primary season official kick off in January. The next potentially ground changing event in the Democratic race for the presidential nomination will be results from actual polls with ballot boxes, not opinions, and people standing in lines supporting candidates at caucuses, not at rallies.

Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have met or exceeded minimal expectations for remaining viable candidates for President for this stage of the contest. One could say that isn't unexpected for Clinton, and that it is unexpected for Sanders, but it is significant for both of them to have reached this point. There was a time in mid summer when the anxieties within some sectors of the Democratic Party that Clinton might turn out to be a fatally flawed candidate, had gotten to the point where they were hard to ignore. Those anxieties, for many, have receded after Hillary's Fall performance. Meanwhile there always were those who in Sander's own words were prone to "underestimate" him. Sanders has not wilted on the national stage, he's consolidated his standing as the only viable opponent to Clinton.

Efforts to metaphorically "snicker" Sanders off the stage by turning him into a leftist caricature with wild hair and eyes have fallen flat. Sanders is now more or less viewed as a legitimate underdog candidate for President.That should not be underestimated. Try telling that to any number of nationally accomplished politicians on both sides who convincingly washed out in their bid to became President before a single ballot was ever cast. Men like Scott Walker, James Webb and Lincoln Chaffee are just the latest examples of that. Martin O'Malley has fared better than them, his political reputation has not been unduly damaged by this campaign, but he hasn't caught much measurable lightning either, and that's not for lack of trying or of intrinsic political ability. So it remain remarkable what Bernie Sanders has achieved to date against one of the most powerful presences in today's Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton.

There is definitely still a path open to victory for Bernie Sanders, but it depends on him exceeding expectations in Iowa and New Hampshire. At the very least he has to come in a very strong second in Iowa and follow that with a fairly convincing win in New Hampshire shortly after. Even if Bernie achieves those goals he will still remain an underdog, but the campaign will have entered into a new phase with Sanders still in the game. The only polls that matter at all right now are those out of Iowa and New Hampshire. And they only matter because they might effect the psychology of Democrats in those states who can participate in those contests.

Iowa and New Hampshire are retail politics States where a David can still beat a Goliath, and in the process potentially alter the course of political history. Heading into Iowa in 2008 Hillary Clinton was the Democratic presumed nominee, and in 2004 at that point Howard Dean was still the man to beat. John Edwards vaulted out of relative obscurity by coming in second in Iowa in 2004, eventually running for VP that year with the man who won that caucus.

At this point the national election polls are essentially lagging indicators waiting to be rebooted once there are actual election returns for the public, and the media, to finally digest.
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