VodkaPundit

Shop Talk II

Is Howard Dean a regional candidate?

According to the latest Zogby tracking polls, Dean’s lead over Dick Gephardt in Iowa has shrunk to two points, with Kerry and Edwards both enjoying mini-surges.

The fact that both Edwards and Kerry are benefitting from Dean’s slide indicates that while Iowa voters may be looking for an unDean candidate, they haven’t yet settled on one. That’s the good news for Dean, because lost votes split amongst two rivals don’t add up to a single, strong challenger.

But outside of the populist Upper Midwest (a natural haven for his in-your-face style), where is Dean doing well? New York, New Hampshire. . . and not many other places outside of the Northeast. In much of the West and almost all of the South, Dean trails or ties either Edwards or Clark.

As a primary candidate, Dean’s strengths are in the traditional Democratic strongholds of the Northeast and the Upper Midwest (Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois). As a national candidate, most — if not all — of these states are going to go Democratic no matter who the nominee is.

And as we learned earlier today (second map down), in a tight race, the Democratic nominee cannot afford to lose any of the states where Dean is already strong, and has to pick up a state or two where Dean suffers in comparison to his Democratic rivals.

So, yes, Dean certainly looks like a regional candidate today. The wrong region.