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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Updated Presidential Odds (Republicans)

Iowa Caucus Analysis, Tuesday, January 1st
Happy New Year.

On with the show.

Republican Candidates (Democrats yesterday.)

4. Mike Huckabee (Odds on nomination - 9:2)
Rank among Republican Top Four to win Iowa: 1
Rank among RTF to win New Hampshire: 3
Rank among RTF to be ahead by Super Tuesday: 3
Rank among RTF to be leading after Super Tuesday: 4
Reasoning: Iowa and New Hampshire are talked about more than any other early contest, but High Noon for Mike Huckabee is South Carolina. If he holds onto his Iowa lead, he has a chance to make a run, even after a third place finish in New Hampshire. However, if McCain wins New Hampshire, Huckabee cannot withstand McCain riding that bounce into a South Carolina win. Huckabee needs Iowa AND South Carolina to compete on Super Tuesday. If Romney comes out on top in Iowa, whether he outspent Huckabee twenty to one or not, Huckabee's campaign is essentially over.

For Huckabee to compete with Giuliani on Super Tuesday, it is absolutely essential that he be the clear cut conservative alternative. That means neither Romney nor McCain can have any viability left on February 5th. If either of those men take two states, it's enough to sink Huckabee's chances.

3. Mitt Romney (Odds on nomination - 4:1)
Rank among Republican Top Four to win Iowa: 2
Rank among RTF to win New Hampshire: 2
Rank among RTF to be ahead by Super Tuesday: 3
Rank among RTF to be leading after Super Tuesday: 3
Reasoning: Similar to Huckabee, but not as desperate. Romney can still win Iowa. If he does, he's winning New Hampshire, too. If he wins that, he can win South Carolina. If he does that, he's the Republican nominee. The upside is enormous.

But what if he doesn't win Iowa? Then the dominoes don't fall in place. Romney is unique among the candidates as he is the only one who has the potential to win both Iowa and New Hampshire. Huckabee's win in Iowa just means he sews up the 3 spot in New Hampshire and can compete in South Carolina. McCain, at best, places third in Iowa, and needs to win New Hampshire to take South Carolina. Romney, if he comes out on top on any one of those states, is looking like the best chance to take on Giuliani in February and beyond.

However, the most likely scenario is Romney finishing second, second, and third. Still, he's the only one that could go first, first, first.

2. John McCain (Odds on nomination - 7:2)
Rank among Republican Top Four to win Iowa: 3
Rank among RTF to win New Hampshire: 1
Rank among RTF to be ahead by Super Tuesday: 2
Rank among RTF to be leading after Super Tuesday: 2
Reasoning: Can the comeback of the century be completed? McCain, who this summer was counted out by pundits across the country, has come roaring back into contention. His resurrection campaign has been one of slow but building momentum. It can peak this month with a third place Iowa finish and first place New Hampshire finish catapulting him into South Carolina and beyond as savior of the party.

If Mike Huckabee is the favorite of the social conservatives, McCain is undoubtedly the favorite of the foreign policy conservatives, the hawks who support the war in Iraq (a majority of Republicans do) and was the most outspoken advocate for the troop surge which has since slowed the bad news coming out of Iraq. The Republican Party can easily be rallied around this war hero who is old as dirt but has as much experience and leadership as anyone in the GOP. They'll laud his honesty and conviction and stance on social issues, while ignoring his cross-party ties and maverick status.

But first thing's first. A New Hampshire win is an absolute must for McCain. Anything short of that and his campaign is over.

1. Rudy Giuliani (Odds on nomination - 3:1)
Rank among Republican Top Four to win Iowa: 5
Rank among RTF to win New Hampshire: 4
Rank among RTF to be ahead by Super Tuesday: 4
Rank among RTF to be leading after Super Tuesday: 1
Reasoning: He's still the favorite and the new primary schedule is why. The unprecedented weight of Super Tuesday makes national poll leaders still very competitive. Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani, despite their steady decline in the early state polling, should still be considered favorites because of the enormous states they will carry on February 5th.

Yesterday, the Giuliani campaign released a memo that reminded us of some indisputable facts.

Fact #1: Up until January 29th, there will be 78 delegates awarded in the early primaries.
Fact #2: From January 29th (Florida) to February 5th (Super Tuesday), there will be 1,039 delegates awarded.

Now, look at the polling numbers in some of the most sizeable of the states.

Giuliani vs. Closest Opponent
Florida: 30% - 17%
California: 29% - 15%New Jersey: 38% - 12%New York: 40% - 12%

Giuliani, if he wins by those margins, would win hundreds of delegates just in those four states. Therefore, while the three candidates above Giuliani on this list duke it out in the early states to win, maybe, 40 delegates, Giuliani can win 30-35% of Super Tuesday for a healthy 300-350, while all the other seven candidates divvy up the other 70% between them.

So the question becomes, can one other candidate rise enough to win at least 25% of the vote to hang with Giuliani for the rest of the primary calendar? The only way this happens is if one of them performs head and shoulders above the other candidates in the early primaries, and since it's so heated and competitive, it seems unlikely. As said by this blog last week, Huckabee's rise was the best thing to happen to Giuliani.

Finally, let me say this: Never, in the last thirty years, have we been as likely for a brokered convention, which might be the most exciting event in politics. This will happen if no candidate earns 50% of the delegation by the end of the primaries. It's probably not going to happen, but even the chance of a Republican brokered convention is enough to make any pundit swoon.

See you tomorrow when I'll talk about who knows what.

Two days.


Anonymous said...

With almost raising 20 million dollars in the 4th quarter - you are SO underestimating Ron Paul.
Have you not seen the straw polls?

The media will not be able to ignore him much longer.

The Dude said...

I am SO gonna enjoy driving the NAFTA Highway. That thing is gonna be sweet...

Also, don't sleep on Romney's cash. It could be huge if he falters and any deals are on the table. He would be an ideal VP option for McCain...

IC said...

Is anyone else sick of seeing websites spammed by delusional Ron Paul supporters?

The guy isn't winning anything.

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