Well, this is interesting.
From today’s Washington Post:
And despite widespread impressions that Obama is banking on unreliable first-time voters, Clinton depends on them heavily as well: About half of her supporters said they have never attended a caucus. Forty-three percent of Obama’s backers and 24 percent of Edwards’s would be first-time caucus-goers. Previous attendance is one of the strongest indicators of who will vote.
I note with amusement that the same Anne E. Kornblut who got it so so wrong in my previous diary today is coauthor of the piece quoted above.
Anyhoo, that ‘previous attendance’ number tells me the Iowa race is very much undecided, when you consider the other key piece of information:
Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) draws support from 30 percent of likely Democratic caucus-goers in Iowa, compared with 26 percent for Clinton and 22 percent for former senator John Edwards (N.C.). New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson received 11 percent.
Some simple math. Let’s say there are 100,000 primary voters. If 1/4 of the folks for whom this is the first time don’t show up, and the rest do, the voting would go down as follows:
Obama – (30% X 100,000) – (1/4 X 43% X 100,000) = 19,250 votes
Clinton – (26% X 100,000) – (1/4 X 50% X 100,000) = 13,500 votes
Edwards – (22% X 100,000) – (1/4 X 24% X 100,000) = 16,000 votes
This was just an example with 100,000 base voters. The relative math works the same regardless of the base number.
Not that I’m trying to pick a fight with Armando, but I really don’t think Edwards is quite dead yet. Neither is Obama, of course.
Note – I’m not some big time Edwards supporter, just a dude who’s getting drawn into following the horserace despite my better instincts.