Saturday, January 19, 2008

Behind Poor Numbers

John Edwards' distant third-place finish in Nevada says two things: First, televising these caucuses live from the Strip, as CNN did, really hurt the public image of Senator Edwards' campaign. Why? With 166 voters at Caesar's Palace only 2 voted for Edwards. Two of 166 is barely more than 1% support. Across the state, the 5% Edwards pulled isn't much better.

Second, Edwards' showing exposed one of the biggest and most obvious flaws of the caucus system itself. Recent polls leading into today's voting showed John Edwards with between 12 and 18% of the vote. On a caucus by caucus basis, a portion of Edwards' supporters could have survived the 15% viability test and avoided having to throw their support behind another candidate. Just as Iowa's caucus system cut down the combined support of Richardson, Biden, and Dodd from ~16% to 2%, Edwards was effectively squeezed out of the final results in Nevada because his support hovered around the viability mark.

A candidate with a message that doesn't resonate with voters, or a voting system that doesn't fairly represent all voters and candidates?

You decide.

(photo credit: 2008 by Luke N. Vargas. All Rights Reserved.)

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