Expectations Game: Obama Campaign Predicts Win In Iowa

The bar is set. For Obama to "win" Iowa, he has to win. His campaign predicts a win in Iowa:

Democrat Barack Obama's campaign manager David Plouffe told reporters this morning that Obama is positioned to win the Iowa Caucuses. "We think we're going to enter caucus night with enough supporters identified to win even under the most aggressive scenarios," Plouffe said.

Alrighty then Axelrod and Co. No spinning a loss into a win now on January 3. The Clinton and Edwards campaigns played the usual "do well" platitude games.

So here is the Obama campaign, in the face of dropping poll numbers, confidently predicting victory. Bluster? Strategy? I dunno, but it will be hard to back off of this if they do NOT win.

Update [2007-12-31 14:51:31 by Big Tent Democrat]: More on the Obama campaign conference call below the fold. It may have come more to spin forthcoming bad poll numbers and to attack Edwards

From Noam Scheiber:

Like other people on that Obama conference call today, I noticed campaign manager David Plouffe spending an awful lot of time talking about why a vote for John Edwards is essentially a wasted vote, since (Plouffe claimed) he doesn't really have the resources or the organization to compete after Iowa. It's possible that the Obama people see Edwards as the candidate with momentum in the home stretch. Or it's possible that Obama and Edwards are just competing for the same bloc of voters--pro-reform, skeptical of Hillary. (Or both.) Tough to say, really.

Also, Ambinder says some reporters are speculating that the call was intended to pre-empt what will be lousy numbers for Obama in tonight's Des Moines Register poll. For what it's worth, I did get the sense Plouffe was basically saying: Don't read too much into the polls. We have the best organization, which is going to be the difference here.

Relatedly, Plouffe said at one point, "We've consistently led ... among those definitely attending [the caucuses] in our internal research… We're focused on how we're doing among those deadset on going to that caucus room Thursday night." In my contemporaneous notes, I wrote, "Probably trailing among likely voters"--which, obviously, is what polls report.

On second spin, I think this is REALLY bad for Obama. This conference call seems a grievous mistake to me. The Media will now pick up on the seeming desperation of the Obama campaign.

Big mistake. Should have played it precisely the opposite way. Do the whole "we expect to do well" schtick.

Based on this, I now predict TODAY Edwards wins Iowa, Clinton second, Obama third.

Ths could all change tomorrow.

Fun horserace stuff no?

< Limits To The Kumbaya Schtick | New Iowa Poll: Obama Fading Badly >
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    DMR Poll (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by BDB on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 01:55:39 PM EST
    I wonder if they are trying to head off bad news in the DMR poll tonight.  Folks generally consider that poll a good predictor and historically people move towards the candidates doing well - everyone loves a winner. So maybe they're afraid that a DMR poll showing Obama down and Edwards and Clinton up will only push more people away from Obama and towards Edwards and Clinton?  That the poll makes it true because people follow it?  So they need to try to fight it off.

    Otherwise I cannot imagine why they would do this, even if they were really confident.  It's a much better story for them if Edwards is expected to win and then Obama wins.  Puzzling, but then so much about Obama's campaign has been.  

    And I cannot tell you how ready I am for the Iowa caucus results.  I keep checking the internets hoping those magic tubes will tell me who won, but no matter how many times I check, there still doesn't seem to be an answer.  Which is amazing because I'm pretty sure it's been going on forever.

    Too Late (none / 0) (#7)
    by BDB on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 01:59:13 PM EST
    I see the post has been updated to reflect some of my points, only better.  

    Thank goodness we don't have anyone who is really terrible among the big 3 or otherwise for that matter.  This wouldn't be nearly as much fun if I were worried that the Dems might nominate Guiliani or someone like that.  I certainly have my preferences, but because I don't find any of them dangerous or crazy, I can still enjoy the show.  And it is quite a show.


    Yeah, but (none / 0) (#1)
    by scribe on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 01:40:46 PM EST
    it also fits with Mrs. O's "this time or never" talk from the other day.  Pushing all the chips into the middle of the table is a good strategy when:
    (a) you know you're gonna win, or
    (b) you want to get out of the game early ('cause (1) you have an early appointment tomorrow, (2) there's something else you want to do or (3) you know you're overmatched and want to not have to deal with the agony of slowly losing).

    Oh, yeah (none / 0) (#2)
    by scribe on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 01:41:25 PM EST
    or (c)  you're bluffing bigtime.

    Huh? (none / 0) (#4)
    by RedHead on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 01:42:58 PM EST
    who's bluffing and why??

    Oh, I got it n/t (none / 0) (#5)
    by RedHead on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 01:43:42 PM EST
    Don't stop thinking about tomorrow (none / 0) (#3)
    by RedHead on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 01:41:46 PM EST
    but it will be hard to back off of this if they do NOT win.

    Don't get stuck in mud, reading yesterday's news.  Obama will be finished after he loses Iowa.  He may be cratering as we read.

    Once contestant number one is eliminated, it's time to move on to the other contest.  

    After all, Edwards will get all the coverage if he wins, especially if he wins by double digits in Iowa - think of NH media horse race.  And Hillary will be crowned if she takes Iowa, and the MSM will move to McCain's bus.

    Media Darling (none / 0) (#8)
    by BDB on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 02:07:19 PM EST
    So, BTD, is Obama's attempt to spin the media the side effect of being a media darling?  Does his camp honestly believe they can get the media to print this stuff and not go with the negative interpretation (that they are worried and spinning)?  Or are they so concerned they thought it was worth the risk?  Or are they just stupid and none of this really means anything?

    Obama had a bad Sunday (none / 0) (#9)
    by RedHead on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 02:09:45 PM EST
    according to Zogby (I know, I know) Obama tanked on Sunday and Clinton and Edwards tied in the high 20s.

    Here's a 4-minute segment from this morning's CSPAN (Real Player)

    New poll (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 02:12:17 PM EST
    Obama fading badly. See new post.

    I think (none / 0) (#11)
    by illissius on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 02:25:46 PM EST
    it'll be 1. Clinton 2. Edwards 3. Obama. It's easy to underestimate or dismiss Clinton for any number of reasons, there's not as much hype. Just a hunch, though.

    And yeah, the Obama campaign has been idiotic recently, even if external developments haven't really gone in their favor, either.

    My call (none / 0) (#12)
    by andgarden on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 02:57:53 PM EST
    1. Edwards, 2. Clinton, 3. Obama.

    by how much (none / 0) (#13)
    by RedHead on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 03:30:19 PM EST
    that's important.

    winning by a high margin (8 to 14) or winning by narrow (1).

    remember, rural area carry proportionally higher weight.


    Who remembers Kerry's margin in Iowa? (none / 0) (#14)
    by andgarden on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 03:38:00 PM EST
    I think the only effect of this will be to kill Obama.

    I was thinking beyond that - the NH bounce (none / 0) (#15)
    by RedHead on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 04:11:17 PM EST
    The larger the margin, the bigger the cover, the higher the bounce.

    If Edwards has a narrow win, he's done.  

    If Edwards has a strong win, then he can vault pass Hill in NH.


    Probably (none / 0) (#16)
    by andgarden on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 04:22:20 PM EST
    fun (none / 0) (#17)
    by chemoelectric on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 04:53:03 PM EST
    It's fun, if by fun you mean boring and unproductive.