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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Romney, Giulani, and Huckabee... But in What Order?

Iowa Caucus Analysis, December 12th
Yesterday, I ranked the five Republican candidates with no realistic shot to win the nomination. Today, I get to the three that do.


3. Mike HuckabeeWhat he has going for him:
1) Every Iowa and national poll is better than the last for Camp Huckabee. He now has double-digit leads in almost every Iowa poll, and runs second to Giuliani in most nationals.
2) Of all the realistic candidates, he's the only one that isn't fighting historical voting tendencies. Giuliani's a Catholic (only one President has been non-Protestant) with mayor as his highest office (aside from generals, there's been none) who is not holding any office as he's running (none since Eisenhower). Romney's a Mormon (none) who also isn't holding office. McCain is a senator (No sitting Senator has won since 1960). Clinton is a senator and a woman. Obama is a senator and black. Edwards, seemingly the only other candidate who's not fighting historical voting tendencies, was a senator and has been out of office for four years.
3) For the last year, conservative voters seemed to have been waiting for a loyal, consistent conservative (McCain, Romney, and Giuliani didn't fit the bill) who can actually win (Brownback, Hunter, Tancredo could not). If Huckabee is that man, it would not only explain his recent surge, but would also give us good reason to believe that the surge isn't stopping any time soon.
4) Chuck Norris.
What he doesn't have going for him:
1) A poll came out yesterday that revealed that if the election were held today, he would lose to Clinton by 10 points, Obama by 15 points, and Edwards by 25 points. This might scratch the above idea that he's a conservative that could actually win. His fellow Republican contenders will allude to that poll in the coming weeks.
2) He is not nearly as battle tested as the other top Republican candidates. Everything to know about Giuliani, McCain, and Romney we already know. There's a new story about Huckabee's record everyday.
3) His name is Mike Huckabee.
Worst case realistic scenario: Romney blitzkriegs the Iowa airwaves and spends enough money to beat Huckabee in the Iowa Caucus. Romney then takes New Hampshire as well, meaning he bumps Huckabee down in the next few primaries behind both Romney and Giuliani.
Best case realistic scenario: An Iowa win kicks off top two finishes in Wyoming, Nevada, Michigan, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. The problem is, Romney and nationally potent with the big edge for Florida and Super Tuesday.


2. Mitt Romney
What he has going for him:
1) A lot of money and a lot of troops in Iowa.
2) Executive experience, CEO experience, and he looks the part.
3) With strong numbers as governor of a liberal state, Romney has some crossover appeal for a general election.
What he doesn't have going for him:
1) Much more than being a woman, much more than being black, being a Mormon polls horribly and could cost enough votes to lose a close primary and enough votes to lose a close general.
2) The last month or two, everyone has been operating under the assumption that Iowa and New Hampshire were Romney's to win, which would bring him money and momentum to go do battle with Giuliani nationally. Losing Iowa would be nearly a mortal wound for his campaign.
3) Chuck Norris is on Mike Huckabee's side.
Worst case realistic scenario: A second place Iowa finish leads to lots of third and fourth place finishes behind Huckabee, Giuliani, and the candidate du ├ętat.
Best case realistic scenario: Huckabee's surge proves to be too early of a peak, and Romney rights the ship to take Iowa back. This also re-solidifies his New Hampshire lead, and probably gives him a lead in South Carolina. A feasible top two finish in Michigan and Florida means he's right with Giuliani on Super Tuesday.


1. Rudy Giuliani
What he has going for him:
1) He's still the national poll leader, which has never been more important in past primaries as it is now, as most of the country will vote on February 5th.
2) He polls the best in head-to-head polls with Democrats.
3) Mike Huckabee. Mike Huckabee's appearance as a contender has stunted Romney's anticipated surge after Iowa and New Hampshire. With Huckabee and Romney splitting votes before Florida and Super Tuesday, neither would be in a position to make a run at Giuliani.
What he doesn't have going for him:
1) No matter what the polls say, the evangelical pro-lifers who admonish divorce, infidelity, and gay rights still have to go in that voting booth and see if their conscious can pull the lever next to the name of the socially liberal Giuliani.
2) None of his early primary poll numbers are currently heading in the right direction for him. He's about to bottom out in Iowa, and he's not turning heads in Nevada, New Hampshire, Michigan, Wyoming, or South Carolina.
3) Nationally, his poll numbers have been stagnant in the low to mid 20's, or slightly declining with Huckabee's rise and other candidates like Romney, McCain, and Paul picking up a point or two here and there.
Worst case realistic scenario: Sixth place Iowa is a real possibility. Then a meaningless Wyoming convention, and then to New Hampshire, where Romney and McCain are polling above Giuliani, and Huckabee's momentum could be spilled over to bump Giuliani down to fourth. If he can't right the ship by Michigan, and any one of the other major candidates builds up enough momentum by Florida, it could be a dogfight on Super Tuesday.
Best case realistic scenario: A meaningless third place Iowa finish doesn't slow him down as he places top 3 in the first six primaries before winning Florida in time to romp on Super Tuesday.

2 comments:

Bob McCarty Writes said...

Much of the political world’s attention in recent days has been focused upon Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama and how he might benefit from the so-called “Oprah Effect.” Conversely, little attention has been paid to the impact of the “Okra Effect” on Mike Huckabee -- that is, until now.

During the last weekend of September, Republican presidential candidates traveled to Irmo, S.C., to participate in the Okra Strut, an event described in a Boston.com article as “a parade and festival celebrating the slimy green vegetable so beloved in the South.”

While some might scoff at the notion of the Okra Effect, I do not. Why not? Because I’ve analyzed events that have transpired during the two and a half months since the Okra Strut took place.

For instance, the above-referenced article, among other things, included a statement that Rudy Giuliani was looking at South Carolina as a springboard to win Florida on Jan. 29. Apparently, the former New York City mayor’s board has lost some of its spring since then as Real Clear Politics shows Rudy leading the Palmetto State GOP race in only one of five polls.

The article included a mention of Fred Thompson as a native Southerner, popular actor, and former senator from Tennessee, is aiming to jump-start his campaign by sweeping the South, with South Carolina a virtual must-win. And he's still waiting. A Real Clear Politics poll average today shows Thompson in a virtual third-place tie with Giuliani.

Mitt Romney was said to have spent more time and money in the state than Giuliani. After spending that much money (and missing the Okra Strut due to a brief illness), the former Massachusetts governor finds himself mired in second place.

And, finally, the article gave mention to Mike Huckabee as a Baptist minister and former Arkansas governor who has drawn some excitement from evangelicals and conservative activists, but remains far back in the polls and fund-raising. Since then, however, Huckabee has surged into first place in South Carolina.

An Associated Press article four days ago might help explain his rise in popularity.

Huckabee is quoted as saying, "Carrots. I just don't like carrots. I banned them from the governor's mansion when I was governor of Arkansas because I could." Nowhere in the article, however, does one find Huckabee expressing any disdain for the slimy green vegetable to which he might owe his success.

That's why, I think it's safe to conclude, that this one-time long-shot candidate does indeed owe his success to something -- most likely, the Okra Effect.

I won't be surprised if his campaign rallies begin to feature segments during which throngs of Huckabee supporters chant a new slogan, "ALL HAIL OKRA!™"

The Dude said...

Okra is a natural diaretic that flushes out the system.

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