I saw at Iowa Independent that Hillary Clinton’s former pollster and adviser, Mark Penn, is claiming there could have been a “different outcome” in Iowa if John Edwards had been out of the race.
My conversations with hundreds of Edwards supporters suggested that many preferred Barack Obama or one of the longshot Democratic contenders to Clinton. David Redlawsk has data to back up my anecdotes:
University of Iowa political science professor David Redlawsk conducted a caucus night survey on second choices. “We asked people ‘If your candidate is not viable, what will you do?’ 82 percent of Edwards supporters said they would support another candidate and 18 percent would not,” said Redlawsk. “When we asked which candidate they would then support, 32 percent said Clinton and 51 percent said Obama. Had this actually happened statewide, Obama would have been even further ahead of Clinton.”
“As the campaign progressed few Edwards people gave any indication that Clinton was their second choice,” said Redlawsk […].
I stand by my contention that given the Obama campaign’s almost unlimited resources and well-executed strategy, there is little Clinton or Edwards could have done differently to win the Iowa caucuses.
Incidentally, Clinton still has debt from her presidential campaign, including unpaid bills to Penn. I don’t think he deserves to collect, given the bad advice he gave his client, like pivoting to a “general election strategy” in October 2007 and having no “plan B” in case the campaign went beyond Super Tuesday.
UPDATE: Please take the poll after the jump on the Clinton campaign’s biggest strategic error.Continue Reading...