If you only read the newspapers and the blogs, you’d think that the Clark campaign was on its last legs. His capacity for nuance (e.g., his saying that of course the United States has to rebuild Iraq, but he wouldn’t support handing the President a blank check for $87 billion until the President had presented somethign like a coherent plan of action)is being spun as “inconsistency,” and the natural growing pains of a late-starting campaign are being treated as if they were a terminal condition.
It’s not surprising that some of the recent polling hasn’t been as encouraging as the polling a couple of weeks ago, which showed Clark coming out of nowhere into first place. The Newsweek poll earlier this week had him three points behind Dean, and CNN/USA Today/Gallup a couple of days ago had him one point down. On the other hand, the Quinnipiac poll out today has him at 17%, four points ahead of Dean and Lieberman. Quinnipiac also has Clark within four points of Bush, slightly better than any of the others.
These are all small-sample-size polls, so a couple of points one way or the other can’t be taken too seriously, but from where I sit Clark still looks very solidly positioned. And if Los Angeles is typical, the Clark army is still recruiting; between the announcement and today the number of signed-on volunteers in LA has roughly doubled, to something over 1000.