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January 10, 2008

Edwards Messaging — Not Resonating

Posted in: 2008 Election

Booman evaluates how the populist message of the Edwards campaign fared in New Hampshire relative to income. The upshot — not so well. He tends to do better with people at the higher income level than the lower; people who make $15,000-30,000 a year favor Clinton by a wide margin:

Under $15,000/year:
Clinton: 49% (+10)
Edwards: 13% (-4)
Obama: 37% (+1)

$15,000-$30,000/year:
Clinton: 50% (+11)
Edwards: 15% (-2)
Obama: 29% (-7)

$30,000-$50,000 year:
Clinton: 44% (+5)
Edwards: 17% (0)
Obama: 32% (-4)

When I wrote about watching the Edwards campaign in Iowa, I said that although I really like Edwards I thought his messaging was off. As opposed to Huckabee, who I’d seen the night before in the same venue. Huckabee is also running a populist campaign, though a faux one (dumb Chuck Norris stood up there and told the crowd that rich people like him should pay more taxes than poor folk, and that’s why he supported the FairTax — and was probably just stupid enough to believe it). But Huckabee’s skill and communicating, the funny and good-natured context within which he couched his message stood in contrast to Edwards’ often strident tone.

So I thought it would be interesting to see how Huckabee’s message fared in New Hampshire:

No college degree:
Huckabee 14 (+3)
McCain 31 (-6)
Romney 31 (-1)

Very worried about economy:
Huckabee 15 (+4)
McCain 34 (-3)
Romney 24 (-8)

Income $15,000 – 30,000:
Huckabee 23% (+12)
McCain 38% (+1)
Romney 23% (-9)

Most important issue Economy:
Huckabee 14 (+3)
McCain 41 (+4)
Romney 21 (-9)

Rates National Economy as poor:
Huckabee 15% ( +9)
McCain 30% (-7)
Romney 14% (-18)
(Ron Paul walked away with this one at 30% of the vote)

There has been a lot of focus on the fact that the evangelical and "values" crowd supports Huckabee, and the New Hampshire results bear that out. But it looks like Huckabee’s faux populist, working class message is resonating within the GOP as well.

Hello, class war. 

Anyway, others have made the argument that Edwards has suffered from unfair media coverage, and that he’s had trouble getting his message out. While that may be part of the problem, having seen his campaign in person I don’t think that’s all of it.


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