As I've mentioned before, Joe Biden is my favourite Democrat in the U.S. presidential race. I've noticed him starting to get some traction in the all important state of Iowa which, as of now, still stands to be the site of the first vote in the U.S. primary season. If New Hampshire moves its primary up to December, as has been mused, it is likely that the Iowa caucuses will go second and all those who have invested major efforts there to get a surge may be very disappointed, we'll assume, though, that that won't happen.
Anyway, back to Biden. He has seen some good news in Iowa in the past few weeks.
1.) He stands a close third in terms of support of local Iowa politicians. He has 11 endorsements of state representatives and senators compared to 16 for Hillary Clinton and 13 for Barack Obama. This compares to 10 for John Edwards who was for a long time considered the frontrunner in Iowa and who placed a close second there to John Kerry in 2004. Also, according to the same source, he has spent more days in Iowa this year than any other candidate and face time is very important in the Iowa caucus where only about 100,000 die hard party members vote.
2.) He has gained the endorsement of Storm Lake Times. This is a small town paper, but it is the first newspaper anywhere in Iowa to endorse anyone so far this election.
3.) He's edging up in the polls becoming the clear favourite of the lower tier both in Iowa and nationally. Bill Richardson used to be considered among the top tier for his lengthy experience and fourth place standing in polls. Now Biden, who has as much or more experience depending on how you look at it, takes turns with Richardson being in fourth and fifth place. In two of the six most recent national polls, Biden is ahead of Richardson; they are tied in a third. The most recent Iowa poll has Richardson at 9 and Biden at 6. This may not sound great, but Richardson has been falling from double digits, while Biden previously registered as 0 or 1. Moreover, a poll at this time in 2003 had John Kerry at 9 and John Edwards at 7.
4.) David Yepsen, considered the god of Iowa pundits, has been talking Biden's chances up a lot. First, he said Biden would do surprising well then he put it into writing explaining that Biden was going up in the polls at Richardson's expense and was getting out good crowds to his events.
Indeed, what prompted me to write this post was seeing Richardson stuck at 3% in the top corner of Ben Smith's blog. I noticed that while Richardson is still included with the "big three" in the Real Clear Politics average, he probably shouldn't be. I did a review of the polls in their average and it shows Biden has climbed to 2.7% compared to Richardson's 3.1.
So, while Dodd, Kucinch and Gravel get 1s and 0s, Biden and Richardson get mid-high single digits. They probably don't have any business being in the "top tier", but certainly Biden now has as much claim to that as Richardson which is a big difference from a few months ago. I think it would be fair to say that they now constitute a "middle tier" and if coverage is going to draw in Richardson, Biden should be there as well.