In spite of Obama's command performance on Meet the Press this morning, I'm concerned with four days remaining until Iowa voters meet up in civic centers across the state. Not just because today's fresh votes show either Clinton or Edwards in the lead, because those polls are extremely tight and put Obama in not much worse a situation than Kerry was in four years ago at this time.
The bigger concerns are this: (1) Older voters are tilting strongly towards Clinton, and they show up to caucus much more than younger votes, who overwhelmingly support Obama; (2) In every poll over the last few months, Iowans second choice is consistently Edwards, which is significant because under the arcane caucus rules, if your first choice gets less than 15% of the vote in a room, you have to switch to your second choice; and (3) The polls are showing that the intensity of those who support Edwards and Clinton is greater than Obama.
Not that any of this creates certainties -- perhaps young voters will turn out in high numbers, but I'm concerned that even though he's a much more credible candidate, Obama's supporters are looking a little too much like Dean's, and just like Dean, Obama has to win the caucus realistically to have a chance. Many pundits say even if Edwards wins and Clinton finishes third, she'd bounce back much better than Obama.
So I'm still very hopeful, perhaps even audaciously so, but in spite of shifting comfortably back into the Obama camp the last month, I'm not sure how long the campsite will stay around.