The Zogby poll out of Iowa continues to have Dean, Gephardt and Kerry grouped in pretty much a tie (Numbers: Kerry 23%, Dean 22%, Gephardt 19%, Edwards 18%). But the bigger news is out of ARG's New Hampshire poll (Numbers: Dean 28%, Clark 22%, Kerry 18%) Clark remains a half dozen points behind Dean. But look at Kerry -- back at 18%. A week ago he was at 10%.
Now, of course, the precise numbers in these tracking polls are volatile. But trends over time are usually on the mark.
A couple days ago over lunch I was talking to a friend about the Kerry campaign. And I said the big question about Kerry was whether an unexpectedly strong showing in Iowa could whip Kerry back into contention in New Hampshire.
My friend said no, can't happen. And though I'd proposed it as the big question, I instantly agreed.
But clearly I shouldn't have.
The reason it seemed improbable (to me at least) that Kerry could surge back in New Hampshire is, paradoxically, precisely because he used to be so far ahead there.
I can see Clark surging there, or perhaps Edwards, or even Gephardt. But that's because their support was never that high. Someone who's left Candidate X and is looking for someone new will probably look for someone ... well, new, not someone they were supporting before they moved on to candidate X.
Nice theory. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be true. Kerry is quickly moving back into contention in New Hampshire.
Also on the Kerry front, see this article in The New Republic about Kerry's field organizer Michael Whouley -- who may be playing an important role in the shift.