Now that Edwards has castrated himself in a potential general election by accepting federal matching funds (and the accompanying spending limits between now and the late August convention) it's no longer a question who I'm voting for. I still think that Obama is falling far short of my expectations for him (though it's still 13 weeks out from Iowa), but he's clearly the best viable choice. It does piss me off that the current reality of the our presidential election system has taken away my ability to make a choice based solely on Obama's and Edwards' respective merits, but that's another post for another day (unless I decide to write about it tonight).
Anyway, I'm perfectly happy to be an Obama guy and I'm excited to vote for a guy who comes closer to that amorphous real deal standard than anybody who's run for president for at least a generation. I'm even happier to report that since I've made up my mind, Obama is suddenly winning in Iowa, or at the very least, appears to have overtaken Edwards there. Coincidence...probably not.
American Research Group, whose polls have consistently inflated (or so it seems) Hillary's numbers, shows Obama catching Edwards in their end of August and end of September polls. That is significant in and of itself because (outside of Strategic Vision's polls) Obama beaten one of the other two candidates only once that I know of.
What I really want to talk about is the new Newsweek poll, which uses a pretty stringent (appropriately so, I think) screen.
The numbers for likely caucus goers:
Edwards 22% (third place finishes have become a pattern for Edwards in Iowa polls in recent weeks)
Biden 5% (this is why I say Biden, unlike Dodd, has a glimmer of hope)
Huckabee 12% (unsurprisingly, Rudy's and Huck's numbers vary in an inverse relationship in IA polls)
McCain 9% (the one guy who can finish fifth here and not see the press kill him for it)
Brownback 2% (when was the last time as campaign was this disappointing?)
(Keyes/Gingrich not included)
I would be shocked to see Edwards do anything other than continue his slide into third place in Iowa. The voters who will go to the caucuses (and who report that to pollsters) understand the significance of Edwards' public funding decision better than any electorate, anywhere.