...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003
      ( 3:37 PM )
Was It That Letter I Wrote?

The astounding results of the latest Zogby poll are now online. There was much ado about the results as reported by the NYT this morning. Many of the comments (before it came out and was verified) on DKos were of the disbelieving type, as in: it must have been a typo. But it evidently is true:

Nearly two in five (38%) supported Dean, giving him
a substantial lead over Massachusetts Senator John
Kerry at 17%. In February polling in New Hampshire,
Kerry led Dean, 26% - 13%. In June, the gap had
narrowed to Kerry 25%, Dean 22%.

This kind of jump in one month is amazing. The Dean Campaign isn't attributing the jump to anything in particular. I don't know that all the letter writing that people did at Meet-Up last month was the key, but it might have made a little difference. Right after the letter-writing campaign to Iowans, his numbers in Iowa surged as well. This is an incredible lead over the favorite, Kerry. I don't know if it is sustainable, but at the pace Dean is going and considering how well his fundraising is picking up, I don't think Kerry is going to be the one to beat anymore. However, the Kerry team is saying it's all because of Dean's increased visibility via ads and stuff like that. But so what? If it was just name recognition that put Kerry ahead, that doesn't bode well for his being a "comeback kid."

I think the Dean Campaign is going to be going through some major growing pains in the next month. They have the huge end-of-quarter goal they are trying to reach, but at the same time they have to suddenly mold themselves into a prime-time, competitive and professional campaign. I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Dean this past weekend (if you're interested, I can give you more of my impressions of him personally) when he was in Portland and the privilege of standing casually with him and his staff as they and the press boarded the "grassroots express" to fly to Seattle. Dean was genuinely overwhelmed by the turnout he'd gotten on the Sleepless Summer Tour so far - and he hadn't even gone to Seattle with its 10,000 attendees. In response to this, one of his staffers commented that just two months ago their campaign had 3 political desks to Kerry's 30. Now, it was like they are a mom-and-pop store that has suddenly gone multi-national.

I hope that the campaign will use this very comfortable lead in the polls and in fundraising to take the time it needs to mold itself into the professional, smooth-running machine it needs to be for the race ahead. Trippi is on the ball, but it has to move from him into a delegation of people who are not yes-men, but people who will make good decisions, spend money in the right places, and keep the core beliefs at the center of their vision. They also need some really good speech writers. It's time to move on up into the big time. I think the dismissals of Dean are going to have to stop now - his staying power and his appeal are ballooning and it's time for his team to get really serious.

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