Matt Towery

Like most successful businessmen, Buffet -- the Oracle of Omaha -- hasn't a clue as to the intricate political strategy needed to win Golden State's golden prize of the Governor's Mansion, or any other political race. Worse for Schwarzenegger, more savvy conservative GOP candidates, such as former Republican gubernatorial nominee Bill Simon, have seized right away on Buffet's comments and launched TV ads aimed at sheering away right-wing support from Republican Arnold.

Now Schwarzenegger has added Democrat actor Rob Lowe to his list of supporter-advisers. If this trend continues, we may see what appeared to be a sure win for the GOP burst into flames before the first vote can be cast.

In Dean's case, there are no media superstars or corporate giants to muddy the waters. But it seems odd that the man who just a few months ago was considered a bit of a flake by his fellow Democrats has now soared beyond them to lead our poll, plus another survey of Iowa voters by The Des Moines Register.

Dean's quick ascent can be attributed to his embracing of the working power of computer technology, coupled with a campaign message designed to appeal to rural Americans, and to any and all others who feel left out of today's political goings-on.

So far, the strategy has paid off. Dean has out-raised his higher-profile foes through Web-begging appeals for money. He has also reportedly captured growing crowds on the campaign trail with his appeal to young people and his shoot-from-the-hip approach to the issues.

But will Howard Dean's "outsider" campaign still be standing when the traditional Democratic kingmakers, such as unions, start playing hardball? Can he and his fresh-faced legions of supporters survive months of running to stay ahead of the Teamsters, the lawyers, the attack ads, and all the other games and players that come with bare-knuckle politics?

It might be refreshing to see him survive that kind of rough-and-tumble-politics, but if he does, the Democrats might have to face President Bush with a nominee too far to the left for the average American voter.

As for Schwarzenegger, his do-or-die question is whether his fledgling candidacy will come crashing down from the weight of too many self-declared political experts, whose collective political sense serves only to confuse both the candidate and the public.

Matt Towery

Matt Towery is a pollster, attorney, businessman and former elected official. He served as campaign strategist for Congressional, Senate, and gubernatorial campaigns. His latest book is Newsvesting: Use News and Opinion to Grow Your Personal Wealth. Follow him on Twitter @MattTowery