Hillary Clinton's weakening support with Democratic voters in early voting states could cost her the caucus in Iowa and primary in New Hampshire, political analyst Karl Rove maintains.
In a commentary for The Wall Street Journal
, the former deputy chief of staff for President George W. Bush said Clinton's "weakness remains a huge story" in Iowa in particular, where her support among Democrat caucus-goers has sunk 20 percent since May, and is down to 37 percent, while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders
has muscled up to 30 percent.
But overall, Rove argues, Vice President Joe Biden - who hasn't announced if he'll make a bid – is the wild card.
"[T]he more candidates in the Democratic race, the more Mrs. Clinton’s numbers will drop, and the more unconventional the nominating process will become," Rove writes.
"And in this election, unconventional is doing better than expected."
For the short term at least, things "will probably get worse for Mrs. Clinton," Rove writes.
"It’s possible, even likely, that she will lose both the Feb. 1 Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary eight days later. Mr. Sanders will appeal in a state like Iowa, where there is a strong left-wing sentiment… He could carry New Hampshire in a multicandidate field."
The calendar "becomes Mrs. Clinton's friend" thereafter in competition with "the self-proclaimed democratic socialist" Sanders, he contends.
"Mr. Sanders's problem is simply that there aren’t enough left-wing enclaves… for him to beat [Clinton] for the nomination."
As for Biden, Rove writes, he could likely do well in "blue-collar parts" of northern states, but "once the contest runs through the South, he would have to pick up a substantial part of the black vote" and "generate the level of support that Mr. Obama enjoyed there in 2008."
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