When Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney ran into each other yesterday in Iowa, they smiled for the cameras. Both Presidential hopefuls hoped this wouldn’t be their last encounter – and, if current polling in Iowa can be extrapolated to national trends (and Kerry clearly showed us last year that it can), then this match up doesn’t seem too unlikely. The latest Rasmussen poll puts Clinton 4% points ahead of Romney in a hypothetical head-to-head election, and so I interpret that to mean her real lead is around +15%. You can further explore my disillusion with Rasmussen here (or here) ((or here)).
The Clinton camp, while surging in almost every poll, seems to be struggling with some logistic issues that are preventing it from simply demolishing Obama before the game even begins. Namely, Bill Clinton seems to be overshadowing her at joint-appearances. Even worse, his ongoing political commentary (such as his outburst on the Libby issue, criticized here by Gribit’s Word and contextualized beautifully by Between the Links here) is showering the wrong kind of attention on her camp. Still, she has put together a more effective frontrunner’s campaign than GOP counterpart John McCain (explore Gary‘s take on his implosion here).
One great aspect of an effective primary campaign can be the momentum it brings a candidate once we roll past the conventions. Don’t believe me? Check out these graphs, which show that Clinton’s pattern of ups and downs in Iowa (top graph) nearly mirrors her pattern in national polling against Giuliani (bottom graph):
Those trendlines tell me that Clinton is controlling the tone in the General Election a mere 484 days before it is to be held. It further tells me that, despite the fact that Obama is a better campaigner (analysis here by Comments from Left Field), she isn’t worried. But most importantly, while Rudy is cruising in the National Primary, he is drastically losing his once formidable lead against Mlle. Clinton. She has all the power. But, of course, with great power…