“Polls To Cell Phones: Can You Hear Me Now?” David Yepsen, Des Moines Register, 1/8/04
Howard Dean has come an awfully long way for a guy who has yet to put one vote on the boards. Yes, he's captured a lot of the anger in the party. Yes, he's raised lots of money from small donors. Yes, he's attracting lots of young people. That, in turn, has generated a lot of media buzz, which, in turn generates even more money, bigger crowds and more buzz.
Ordinarily, candidates like all that. But in this case, we could see buyers' remorse, too. A new poll conducted by CNN/Gallup and USA Today shows President Bush would defeat Dean 59 percent to 37 percent. Such Mondalean numbers should cause rational caucus-goers to ask if they're doing the right thing by signing on with the Vermonter. (In fact, two-thirds of likely caucus-goers were undecided or were with another candidate even before this poll, and it's evidence a number of Democrats have reservations about Dean, despite all the ballyhoo.)
A couple observations about these polls, particularly ones of likely caucus-goers: Some may understate Dean's support. He's getting a ton of it from younger voters, and those people are big cell-phone users. It's difficult, if not impossible, for pollsters to contact the correct cell-phone numbers when they make random calls of likely voters.