Hillary Donor on a Race Without Edwards, Biden, Dodd, Richardson

It’s an old argument at this point, but one that hasn’t become any less relevant: Whether Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama would benefit from the collapse of their primary opponents.

The Obama campaign articulated their case to me some months back as to why his candidate would benefit if John Edwards ceases to be a viable candidate before Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, for example.

A few minutes ago, I spoke to Hassan Nemazee, an influential Clinton donor, who also felt Edwards voters in Iowa might lean towards Obama. But citing a recent Zogby poll, he contended that Clinton stood to benefit much more substantially from the orphaned supporters of the Biden, Dodd and Richardson campaigns.

“I suspect that you are going to also see that candidates like an Edwards, who is in his upper teens and low 20’s, may not be viable in all of the caucuses,” said Nemazee. “I think the Edwards one [vote] will more likely go to Obama than it would go to Hillary. But if I had to make a guess, the Richardson, Biden and Dodd second choice votes would most likely go to Hillary, not to Obama. There will be far more of those second choice votes becoming available than there are for Edwards, because Edwards will be viable in the majority of the caucuses that he participates in.”