As Hillary Clinton continues to lead by a modest margin in most public polls in Iowa with the caucus three months away, a look back to polls in October 2003 reminds one of how quickly things can change just a few months before the caucuses.
In the three public polls released in October 2003 by Zogby, SurveyUSA, and KCCI-TV / Research 2000, Richard Gephardt led in every poll, with Howard Dean a close second. Gephardt, who only received 11 percent of the vote on Caucus Day (a distant fourth place finish), enjoyed an average measured support of 25 percent in the three polls.
Dean, who finished third in Iowa with a disappointing 18 percent, averaged 23 percent of the vote in October 2003 polling.
John Edwards was a distant fourth in the October 2003 polls, averaging just 9 percent. Edwards went on to a very strong second place in the Iowa Caucuses, winning 32 percent of the vote.
John Kerry, who averaged only 13 percent in October 2003 polling, went on to earn nearly triple that support on Caucus Day, winning 38 percent of the vote in January 2004.
“Inevitability” is the word of the month as Senator Clinton dominates in the national Democratic Party horserace polling and enjoys one successful fundraising quarter after another. The plight of Dean, who was also raising eyebrows with his fundraising skills in 2003, should be a cautionary reminder of how nothing in politics is inevitable.