KERRY SURGES TO TOP SPOT IN LATEST ZOGBY POLL
by Joe Shea
American Reporter Correspondent
BRADENTON, Fla., Jan. 15, 2004 -- In a dramatic turnaround, U.S. Sen. John F. Kerry has surged to the top of the latest Zogby tracking poll of 501 likely caucus-goers in Iowa, Fox News reported Thursday morning, and has led rival Howard Dean by as much as 7 percent in recent overnight polls.
The poll, which has a four-point margin of error, showed Kerry with 22 percent of the caucus vote, followed by former Vt. Gov. Dean.and Rep. Richard Gephardt at 21 percent and N.C. Sen. John Edwards in fourth place with 17 percent.
"People are taking a good hard look at John Kerry... . And we're right in the hunt for this," senior Kerry advisor Michael Meehan told news-talk host Linda Vester Tuesday afternoon. Kerry just hopes to finish in one of the top three spots, he said.
"According to Zogby, Kerry actually led on Monday night, with 25 percent to 18 percent for Dean," U.S. News & World Report said Thursday. One night's lead is not considered significant, the publication said.
"Basically, what it means is that the Iowa caucus is up for grabs," Meehan said. "John Kerry wants one of those [top three] slots to take the race on to New Hampshire."
The turnaround in Kerry's fortunes has been dramatic since he spoke at a Democratic state convention in Florida in December and drew strong suopport with an eloquent and passionate critique of Bush administration domestic and foreign policy.
Analysts over the past week have attributed the steep decline of Dean, from 45 percent in New Hampshire in December to 21 percent in Iowa today, to a comment he made on Canadian television when he was governor that suggested the Iowa caucuses are controlled by "special interests." Now, facing the caucuses and Iowa voters for the first time, Dean is having to apologize.
But Meehan had nothing negative to say about Dean Thursday.
"I think this is very fluid, and I'm just very happy John Kerry is on the move in Iowa," he said.
Kerry has already picked up endorsements from Iowa's first lady Christie Vilsack, and Thursday announced that popular former Nebraska U.S.. Senator Bob Kerrey will join John Kerry on the campaign trail over the weekend. Sen, Edward Kennedy will campaign with Kerry on Monday. Kennedy has endorsed Kerry, while Bob Kerrey has not.
Bob Kerrey, winner of the Congressional Medal of Homor, is a fellow Vietnam veteran who, like himself, is a highly-decorated war hero, and his presence on the campaign trail with Kerry is seen as tacit support.
In other developments, former U.S. Ambassador Carol Mosely Braun has decided to drop out of the race and endorse Dean. She was introduced to a Dean rally in tiny Carroll, Ia., Thursday morning by U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Ia.), who has also endorsed Dean.
""This campaign has been a wonderful learning experience for me, one that restored my faith in the democratic process," she said. Minutes later, she endorsed Dean. "I thank those Iowa caucus goers who were planning to stand for me, and I ask them to stand instead for Howard Dean," Braun said, adding that she looked forward to dancing with Dean at the Inaugural Ball next year.