"For now, however, his profile remains equally diminutive—that of a local and state guy who hasn’t quite made the big leap. Despite hovering around the national stage for years—and delivering a decidedly underwhelming speech at the 2012 Democratic convention—O’Malley simply hasn’t caught fire. A Public Policy Polling survey in May had Hillary Clinton leading with 63 percent to 13 percent for Bernie Sanders, 6 percent for Jim Webb, 5 percent for Lincoln Chafee, and just 2 percent for O'Malley. Oddly enough, despite his lingering popularity in the state, only 31 percent of Marylanders think O’Malley should run for president in 2016, according to a statewide Goucher poll (though that is a 12-point increase from the fall 2014, when only 19 percent thought he should run).
None of these grim numbers are disqualifiers, by any means, not at this very early stage. O’Malley has made some forays into early primary states and the signs aren’t bad. In April, he spent a night playing guitar on stage for a packed crowd at Cooney’s, a tavern in Beaverdale, the Des Moines neighborhood where Obama launched his grass-roots strategy in 2008 (and which is still referred to as “Obamadale”). The next night, O’Malley delivered a well-received speech to a record crowd (along with Webb) at the annual Polk County Democrats’ spring awards dinner, bringing the audience to its feet eight times. “He sounded presidential,” says Tom Henderson, chair of the Polk County Democrats. Responding to the Warren phenomenon, O’Malley called for a return to Glass-Steagall in a Des Moines Register op-ed and echoed Warren on fair trade rules for labor, saying he opposes Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership deal because it represents a “chasing of lower wages abroad.”
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