Its been a couple of weeks since Peter first asked us to make our predictions for this year. I just have one, and Im going out on a limb for it. Howard Dean will not be the Democratic Partys nominee for president. Im not sure who will be--probably Clark or Gephardt--but Dean isnt going to be it.
Consider Deans poll numbers. True, theyre impressive for a northeastern liberal who was virtually unknown a year ago. But theyve hardly moved at all in weeks. This suggests that Dean has already attracted all the support that hes going to get, and its no more than a third of likely primary voters. As the primaries move closer, almost all of those undecided voters will end up going to Clark, Gephardt, Kerry, or Lieberman. Moreover, as the second-tier candidates drop out, their supporters arent likely to turn to Dean (except perhaps both of Dennis Kucinichs).
The only question is when itll all be over. There may be some surprises in Iowa and New Hampshire, but if not the issue may not be settled until the national convention this summer--the first time since the 1950s, I believe, that this will have been the case.