In a post by John Nichols in today's The Nation Blog, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson seems to be making steady gains in both Iowa and New Hampshire as we move closer to the first caucus and primary of the 2008 presidential campaign.
The post, NH PRIMARY: KEEP AN EYE ON RICHARDSON..., begins:
"New York Senator Hillary Clinton's once-daunting lead among likely voters in the New Hampshire Democratic primary is slipping. But neither of her principle rivals, Illinois Senator Barack Obama nor former North Carolina Senator John Edwards, is gaining much.
The action is with New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson."
The post notes that, since September, Gov. Richardson has moved from 6% to 12% in New Hampshire and is at 11% in Iowa.
"That's a dramatic jump when the two CNN/WMUR polls are compared. But it appears to be the continuation of a pattern of improvement for Richardson that becomes clearer when the Boston Globe survey from earlier this month is factored in. That survey showed the New Mexico governor moving from 6 percent in September to 10 percent.
So we've got two polls tracking an uptick for Richardson from 6 percent to 10 percent to 12 percent.
If the pattern holds, the New Mexican will easily overtake Edwards and could begin closing in on Obama by the time New Hampshire holds its first in the nation primary."
What I find most satisfying in these numbers is the factor that seems to be making the most difference to the voters - Experience.
"It is worth noting that, according to the polls, Richardson is now viewed as more experienced than either Obama or Edwards by the New Hampshire voters. His numbers are dramatically up in other categories, as well, especially on measures of trust -- the New Mexican now leads Clinton in this category."
Now, obviously, we are still some time out and these numbers certainly are not in the 30 and 40% range we have been seeing from the "media nominees" but the fact that they reflect a continuing upward trend is quite satisfying and a testimony to the fact that there is no nominee until the voters have spoken. As Nichols concludes:
"The bottom line: Richardson is moving up. He could stall. But if he keeps going in the direction he's headed in, the governor could yet be a serious contender in the critical first tests of the Democratic race."
Chad (The Left) Shue