With just a few weeks to go, Iowa voters have responded to the polls and are now putting Obama at 28%, Hillary at 25% and Edwards at 23%. This puts Edwards within striking distance of Hillary, forcing her to exit Iowa in 3rd place. Hillary has slipped the most in recent pollings, from 30% to 25%, a 5 point drop, which for her position as front runner is significant. And Oprah has not added her voice to the push for Obama.
Here’s how Political Night Train sees a possible Iowa scenario – Obama and Oprah storm the state for the next four weeks with a positive only message. Hillary continues to go negative on Obama, but runs into a snag since they cannot be seen going negative on Oprah. Edwards hits hard at Hillary on experience and character, and Iraq war record. Sensing a defeat, Hillary abandons Iowa in last weeks before caucus to focus on New Hampshire and South Carolina. She sends Bill out to spin his message, but he sucks up all the oxygen in the room, leaving none for Hillary. Bill still believes 2008 is all about Bill and sees Hillary as his own re-election proxy. Hillary’s campaign may have to do damage control to counter some of Bill’s off-the-cuff comments. If Hillary comes in 2nd or 3rd in Iowa, Obama and Oprah will continue the positive campaign in New Hampshire and South Carolina. Oprah will ignore Hillary. Edwards will continue to hammer Hillary and she will have to respond with more negative campaigning. Also, expect the Clinton dirty tricks to continue, behind the scenes. Don’t be surprised if there are stories about Obama, his wife and Oprah and their connection with their church in Chicago. Don’t be surprised to see stories about how Michelle Obama has a chip on her shoulder for whites.