DES MOINES, IA – Over the last 24 hours I have put probably 600 miles on the Hyundai rental I had to wait 30 minutes for at the Des Moines Airport, and I have seen exactly one piece of Hillary Clinton paraphernalia, which was a paid billboard in Des Moines. Other than that, nothing. Not a yard sign, not a sticker, zilch.
By way of contrast, Bernie’s campaign material is literally everywhere. All up and down I-80 I saw signs that said “Another Farmer for Bernie” – even though it was hard to even see the farms from the road for most of today due to the incredibly dense fog. I saw tons of yard signs here in Des Moines, and bumper stickers all over cars here in Iowa. I even saw Bernie supporters standing outside the hotel in Cedar Rapids today where Donald Trump and Ben Carson were both holding nearly simultaneous events.
Hillary Clinton might well win Iowa. But it seems clear that Iowa Democrats are having a war between their head and their heart. Their head tells them that they should vote for Hillary (even though by all accounts she is a much weaker general election candidate) but their hearts are clearly with Bernie. While there might be a lot of people who are going to caucus for Hillary today, I don’t know that there is almost anyone who is excited about it.
This is, more or less, exactly the same dynamic that doomed Hillary in 2008. In the polls over the last week of the race, some of them showed Hillary ahead, and some showed Obama ahead. But the genuine enthusiasm people had for Obama won out in the caucus setting. If I had to pick, I would say Bernie comes out with a win today that will be more comfortable than most people expect.