Iowans Falling in Love with Edwards (Because He's White and Male?)

| Thu Mar. 29, 2007 9:49 AM EDT

Here are the facts. Ever since Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack dropped out of the presidential race, John Edwards has gained fifteen points in Iowa. Hillary Clinton has dropped one point, and Barack Obama, who continues to draw huge crowds in the state, has dropped seven. Edwards and Clinton have pulled into a dead heat for the lead, months in advance of the caucuses.

Here are two conclusions. One, Edwards has been campaigning in Iowa off and on since he lost the 2004 election and all of that hard work is finally paying dividends. Two, there is a portion of Iowa voters who would consciously or subconsciously prefer to support a white man, and when their favorite drops out, they'll find another.

I'm disposed to the second explanation because, after all, why would Edwards' years of campaigning suddenly pay off right after Vilsack drops out? (Vilsack, by the way, looks like this.) Is that too simplistic? Thoughts?

Note that the poll was conducted before Elizabeth Edwards announced the resurgence of her cancer and Tom Vilsack endorsed Hillary Clinton.