The Democrats – who’ll quit first?
I had dinner with David Mark of Campaigns and Elections magazine on Saturday, and we briefly talked about which Democrats will be the first to abandon the presidential campaign. Here are my guesses.

1.) John Edwards
A good candidate on paper, Edwards has failed to gather any traction whatsoever. There’s evidence that he’s even been slipping in the last month, as his one advantage (money) was lost to Howard Dean. State-by-state, Edwards is stiffing:

Iowa – 5 percent (5th overall)

New Hampshire – 2 percent (5th overall, tied with Clark and Graham)

California – 4 percent (5th)

Arizona – 1 percent (7th)

And South Carolina, the state that Edwards should be winning? He’s got 7 percent, making him fourth overall.

In national polls, Edwards has plummetted from 2nd to 7th. And he doesn’t have much room to move up. He’s fighting for the same base as Lieberman, Gephardt, Graham and Kerry. What advantages does he have over those four? Not experience. Not name recognition. Not biography (Kerry’s Vietnam thing is more powerful than “first in my family to go college”). Graham’s ability to carry Florida trumps Edwards’ ability to carry North Carolina.

My prediction: Edwards will drop out by the end of 2003, but will not support another candidate until Graham and Lieberman drop out.

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