2008 and the Iowa Effect

New polls in Iowa show Democrat John Edwards and Republican Mitt Romney with surprising leads over their parties' respective national front runners. BlueOregon contributor Jon Perr and veteran of Gary Hart's 1984 campaign ponders whether 2008 could bring a repeat of the Iowa Effect:

New polls just released by the Des Moines Register show John Edwards and Mitt Romney leading the Democratic and Republican Iowa caucus fields respectively. While Edwards (29%) holds a six-point lead over Barack Obama (23%) and national front-runner Hillary Clinton (21%), former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney enjoys a surprising 13% over John McCain (18%) and overall GOP leader Rudy Giuliani (17%). All of which suggests that in 2008, Americans may once again witness the "Iowa Effect."

In a nutshell, the Iowa Effect is the complete upending of the predicted presidential primary landscape by a candidate's unexpected performance in the nation's first caucus. Riding a wave of adoring press coverage by a media eager to hype the tale of the underdog, the perceived winner in Iowa sweeps through New Hampshire and subsequent primary states to take (or at least seriously challenge for) the party's nomination.

For more of the analysis and historical background, visit Perrspectives here.


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