Bill Richardson Predicted to Win Iowa Caucus

It must be a sign of dissatisfaction with the major candidates that Bill Richardson seems to be getting most of the favorable news and comments the last couple of days beyond Joseph Wilson’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton. Yesterday I reported that Polls Suggest Richardson May Replace Edwards As Number Three in Race as well as Richardson receiving key endorsements in Utah and favorable press in South Carolina and New Hampshire. USA Election Polls goes further out on a limb in predicting that Richardson will win the Iowa caucus.

We are going to go out on a limb six months in advance of the Iowa Caucus to predict that Bill Richardson will win the state of Iowa in this election cycle.

Bill Richardson was at 1.0% in both Iowa and New Hampshire six months ago. Now he is hovering around double digits…

Richardson has been able to make consistent gains in Iowa. A Fairbank Maslin Maullin and Associates poll showed that Bill Richardson had 18% support among the most likely voters in Iowa, 13% among all likely voters. Their determination of who is the most likely voter is unknown to us but was some fraction of all likely voters. With 18%, he edged Barack Obama by 2%…

Before the Iowa Caucus in 2004, it was generally believed that Howard Dean and Dick Gephardt were the front runners. But they came in third and fourth in the state respectively. John Kerry and John Edwards were voted in #1 and #2. Iowa voters do not look to the polls to help them to determine who to vote for. They vote based on the issues and the candidates themselves.

Needless to say, such an upset would probably knock Edwards out of the race, and position Richardson as a front runner going into the subsequent contests.

Richardson’s major problem so far has been mediocre performances in the debates and televised interviews, but supporters feel this is a skill he can improve upon. In the short run Richardson might have benefited by the fact that few were paying attention to him, but ultimately he will need more coverage to succeed. In addition to the recent coverage I noted above, he is discussed both at Swampland and The Fix today. Chris Cillizza writes:

With the focus on the “top tier” New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson may be overlooked. But Richardson is as well-positioned financially as he could possibly have hoped for when he announced his candidacy for president earlier this year.

Between April 1 and June 30, Richardson raised $7.1 million, bringing his year-to-date fundraising total to more than $13 million. Richardson, like Obama, raised more money in the second quarter of the year than in the first…

Seeking to show that the ads, the first flight of which we raved about earlier this year, have worked, Richardson’s campaign released a poll of the “likeliest” of Iowa caucus-goers that showed Edwards leading with 31 percent followed by Clinton at 23 percent, Richardson at 18 percent and Obama at 16 percent. (Among “likely” caucus goers in the Richardson poll, Edwards led with 31 percent followed by Clinton at 24 percent, Obama at 17 percent and Richardson at 13 percent.)

A collection of other independent polling in Iowa seems to show a positive trend line for Richardson, although the independent polls are not as rosy as the governor’s own surveys.

Organizationally, Richardson is in surprisingly good shape in Iowa. He has 11 field offices in the state just one less than Clinton and four fewer than Edwards. (Obama has a whopping 28 field offices.) And, according to’s “Campaign Tracker” — bookmark it if you haven’t already done so — Richardson has done 25 events in the Hawkeye State since the start of the year.

Expect Richardson to attempt to gain more traction in the coming weeks with his plan to remove all American troops from Iraq by the end of this year. That agressive position is sure to play well with Democratic base both nationally and in Iowa, where anti-war sentiment runs high…

Richardson continues to build the kind of candidacy — both financially and organizationally — that will allow him to be a serious presence in the first four caucus and primary states. He remains far behind Clinton and Obama in fundraising and there seems little reason to expect that he will be able to compete with those two candidates when it comes to money.

But, Richardson is doing everything he needs to do to ensure that if the race takes an unforeseen turn, be it a stumble by a frontrunner or some other unpredictable event, he is in position to take advantage of it.

Clinton and Obama have been receiving the most coverage–just like Howard Dean received most of the coverage in 2003. It certainly is possible that, once again, voters in Iowa and New Hampshire will ignore what the media is saying and make completely different decisions.

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