Analyst calls Dean frontrunner in Iowa race

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(Host) According to Iowa State University political science professor Steffan Schmidt, there’s no doubt that Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean has emerged as the front runner in the race to win the Iowa caucuses.

Speaking Tuesday night on VPR’s Switchboard program, Schmidt said Dean has spent a lot of time in Iowa developing a strong grassroots base and Schmidt says this kind of strategy is critical to garner support in the caucus process:

(Schmidt) “There’s no question in my mind that he is the frontrunner in Iowa and that’s a fairly solid position that he has. I don’t think Wesley Clark is going to take too many Iowa caucus voters away from Dean and he continues to launch new initiatives that are terrific for a state like Iowa. He’s got a new ‘Seniors for Dean’ outreach going on and Iowa has the second or third largest population over 65. So older voters and older caucus goers are a crucial constituency and I think that’s a smart move.”

(Host) Schmidt thinks Dean has emerged as the front runner because he’s been able to bring a lot of passion to the issues that he’s identified as priorities:

(Schmidt) “And Dean had some characteristics going out right out of the starting gate that immediately galvanized people. He was the guy who went right for Bush’s throat, he was the guy who drew first blood and the other candidates then – I think, at least from what I’ve seen here – tried to do sort of imitations of Dean when they went after Bush. And people would rather go with the genuine product than with a knock off.”

(Host) The Iowa caucuses will kick off the Democratic presidential race on January 19.

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