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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Looking Ahead: The Road After NH

NH polls are pouring in at a fast clip, and a good place to crunch the numbers and keep up is Pollster.com, where Eric Dienstfrey and Mark Blumenthal are on the case. For those who want to look ahead, Chris Kromm has an interesting take at Facing South on the January 19th Primary in South Carolina. And, John Harwood’s New York Times post “After New Hampshire, a Rapidly Changing Race” is a good place to begin thinking ahead. Likening the campaign that begins tomorrow to the TV series “Survivor,” Harwood has some insights about the candidates’ efforts to connect with complex constituencies after IA and NH :

After courting mostly white electorates in Iowa and New Hampshire, Democratic candidates will compete for Latinos in Nevada and blacks in South Carolina and the rest of the South. That heralds an increased focus on bread-and-butter economics and decreased attention to more esoteric discussions of political reform.
“More church visits, more plant visits,” says Donna Brazile, an African-American strategist who managed Al Gore’s 2000 campaign.
The black vote represents an appreciating asset for Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, so long as his campaign appears robust. A question facing Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, in Nevada and in the Western states that vote Feb. 5, is whether she can hold the formidable Hispanic support that she has marshaled so far. In California, Asian-Americans represent another wild card.
The Republican primary electorate grows more variegated as well, with the Irish, Italian and Polish “Reagan Democrats” of major cities like Detroit; Arab-Americans in Dearborn, Mich.; and Cuban immigrants in Miami.
More than the campaign’s opening chapter, this phase rewards nimble candidates and magnifies mistakes.

The scope of the campaign ahead is also vastly enhanced, as Harwood explains:

The scale of the new battlefield represents an immense logistical, financial and management challenge. Not even the best-financed campaign has the time or the money to visit or advertise in the scores of media markets involved in the contest through Feb. 5; there are 35 markets alone in California, Florida and Michigan.

Another major factor coming post-NH is an increasing possibility of a recession, and almost certainly a “troubled economy,” according to Paul Krugman’s op-ed column in today’s Times.
Although much of the media buzz is centered around the Obama-Clinton poll numbers, remember that Edwards came in 2nd in Iowa and he has made it clear that he is in it for the long haul. In that regard, Seema Mehta and James Rainey have an L.A. Times update on the Edwards campaign strategy in light of recent polling and primary numbers.

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