Pollster.com proclaims that, starting today, Richardson counts as first-tier candidate, based on his “substantial movement” in Iowa and New Hampshire. Richardson has shown no movement nationally, but, argues Pollster.com:
[T]hat is exactly the point. When you see his campaign move in early states but not others and not nationally, you see the variation in strength and the possibility of future growth elsewhere. But not if I leave him out of the plots.
For other Democratic candidates, we’ve not seen a substantial upturn anywhere. Richardson stands alone in that respect at the moment.
Closer to home, our colleague Mark Halperin has also marked Richardson for possible progression, though not as far as “first tier,” telling the Politico’s Ben Smith, “If he stays on this trajectory, he will by summer’s end have created a new second tier, of which he would be the sole member.”
I think this counts as news beyond mere horse-race variety, maybe just “meta horse-race variety,” but news nonetheless. If he delivers a second quarter that’s at all promising, these kinds of pronouncements allow the media to buy into the idea of Richardson as contender, which leads to more fundraising opportunities, more serious coverage and more stories about grabby hands.