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Friday, December 07, 2007

The Week That Was in the Republican Race

Iowa Caucus Analysis, December 7th
Prepare for a two man slugfest in Iowa. Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee owned the headlines this week. The build up to Romney's speech on faith in politics, culminating in its delivery yesterday, earned him headlines for days, and thus far has earned positive reviews. Huckabee earned his news by pulling even or ahead with Romney in most Iowa polls. What was perhaps most startling was that a Rasmussen poll had Huckabee ahead of Giuliani in a national poll, which is the first time Giuliani has ceded such a position in any major poll since John McCain was the front runner near the end of 2006.

In sum, both Romney and Huckabee, who were already 1-2 in some order in all Iowa polls, have solidified themselves in those positions. Every major headline belonged to the two of them. Prepare for them to go at it hard over the next four weeks, as the Iowa Caucus is make-or-break for both of them, with Romney outspending Huckabee ten-to-one. The winner has a showdown with Giuliani on Super Tuesday.

Regardless of the winner, they might be worse off for their struggles. The reason for Romney slowing in Iowa polling AND Rudy Giuliani slowing nationally is not only because of Mike Huckabee's surge, but also because Giuliani and Romney, who both considered the other their chief rival, have been bickering for weeks. This turned off some voters and greased Huckabee's rise.

Now, if Romney and Huckabee bicker in the month of December, this could allow Fred Thompson or John McCain to make this a four candidate race. It also allows Giuliani to re-assert a stagnant campaign, without worrying about the usual concerns a national poll leader has to worry about, specifically being the recipient of salvos (see: Clinton, Hillary) from all the other candidates.

What to look for next week:

  • Candidates take shots at Huckabee's record as Arkansas governor. This will lead to several pundits asking, "Did Huckabee peak too soon?"
  • Giuliani makes his presence felt nationally again.
  • McCain and Ron Paul each pick up a point or two in Iowa and New Hampshire.
  • Fred Thompson remains lackluster and unimpressive.
  • Romney gets lead back in Iowa with a blitzkrieg of ads. (Could be later in the month)
  • Tom Tancredo still hates immigrants.
  • Duncan Hunter still needs to introduce himself, "Duncan Hunter... I'm running for President."

See you next week!

3 comments:

L. Step said...

No, let's see if I get this right:
Huckabee, who lied about getting the Arkansas parole board to release a killer-rapist in in a tight race for Presidency with Guiliani, who is known for lying about his 9/11 days (and to his wife as well). Nothing like campaign time in the bible-belt!

darren said...

McCain benefits the most from Huckabee's surge. Two very Christian governors will split the religious vote, netting a third place finish in Iowa for Johnny boy -- which is huge, considering he was considered done a few months back.

IC said...

McCain's best route to third place is if Giuliani decides to punt Iowa to concentrate on New Hampshire and Florida (not impossible) and if Fred Thompson never makes a push.

Difficult, but not out of the question.

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