When it comes to the US Presidential primaries, it’s difficult to separate perception from reality. A month or two ago, people were talking about Obama (and Edwards, for that matter) in Iowa as a disconnect between Iowa and the national polls. The idea of Hillary Clinton’s inevitability was well entrenched, at least in the press. A month ago, people seemed to be saying that yes, Obama will win in Iowa, but it doesn’t matter all that much.
But then Obama won in Iowa, and the narrative changed. Suddenly Obama was the front runner, and Clinton was in trouble. Granted, the fact that Hillary ran third in Iowa, the fact that Obama won by 8 points, the fact that Obama got the first-time caucus-goers out – all of these things are important. Or are they? Keith kept playing devil’s advocate on the night of the Iowa caucuses, pointing out that, without independents, Obama’s victory was only a single point. The Clinton campaign has been portrayed as being in “disarray”. Josh Marshall (and others) have talked about how frustrated Hillary seemed in the last debate.
How much of this is real? The latest polls suggest that real change is afoot. Obama is surging in New Hampshire and nationally. But how solid is this? How real is this? Have people made up their minds, or are they just saying what the press tells them they should be thinking? And does it really matter, if that’s the way they end up voting?
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