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Friday, January 04, 2008

Iowa Caucus Results Analyzed

Iowa Caucus Analysis, Friday, January 4th
(Note: The odds have been updated on The Line on the lefthand sidebar.)

Republican Implications
The Romney Rejection

The Republican Iowa Caucus was a referendum on Mitt Romney.

The Iowa Caucus results, found here, helped three of the four viable Republicans. Mike Huckabee, clearly, is thrilled with the nine-point win. All eyes will be on New Hampshire polls to see what kind of bounce Huckabee has earned with the victory. A nine-point victory over Romney, when Romney spent nearly twenty times as much money in the state, is a significant development heading into the New Hampshire Primary. Romney poured much of his personal fortune into Iowa, aiming for no less than first place. He outspent the entire field combined, and still lost by nearly double digits.

Romney's stumble greatly helps John McCain. McCain was battling with Romney for first in New Hampshire, and Huckabee's shellacking of Romney is a great help to McCain's chances. The Romney underachievement in Iowa, while McCain did an as-expected fourth place, will hurt Romney's New Hampshire numbers while aiding McCain's. The Huckabee win gets the former Arkansas governor a strong third place showing if not a second over Romney. If Romney does indeed finish third or lower in New Hampshire, it's time to pack it up.

Giuliani is another who should be pleased with Huckabee's success, as Huckabee is the Republican candidate least likely to compete with Giuliani in the big primary states, specifically California, New York, and New Jersey.

For those keeping track, of the four viable GOP candidates (Giuliani, Romney, Huckabee, McCain), Iowa helped three of them (Giuliani, Huckabee, McCain) and hurt one (Romney). Ultimately, it seemed that Iowa was indeed a referendum on Mitt Romney. John McCain summed it up best in his concession speech last night.

"You can't buy an election."

Maybe it's not true in all cases, but it was in Iowa, and it's about to be in New Hampshire.

Democratic Implications
President Obama

An eight-point win? Did anyone see that margin of victory coming?

Maybe history did. One cannot ignore the parallels between yesterday's Iowa results and the Iowa results from four years ago. Hillary Clinton's big lead evaporated, just like Howard Dean's. Barack Obama benefited from a late surge, just like John Kerry. John Edwards came in second, just like John Edwards.

Most importantly, what's about to happen may follow a similar parallel to 2004. There is about to be a rush to Obama, from candidates dropping out and endorsing him, to the already long donor list getting longer.

I expect Barack Obama to win New Hampshire, which I'll further detail below. Nevada's up in the air, but then I expect Barack Obama to win South Carolina as well. Very possibly, Hillary Clinton will not win a legitimate Democratic primary state before February 5th.

Then let's see if that national lead holds up.

Iowa's Impact on Everything
The North's Polls

Most anticipated polls to come this weekend:
1. New Hampshire Democrats
2. Republican National
3. Democratic National
4. New Hampshire Republicans

Up Next: The New Hampshire Primary
The Coveted Independents

Barack Obama will win the New Hampshire primary for two reasons. First, the obvious: the momentum from the Iowa Caucus will carry over. Second, and most important, New Hampshire has a quirky rule which is as significant as the Iowa second-choice wrinkle. In New Hampshire, a registered Independent can walk up on primary day and register with one of the two parties to partake in the primary elections. On their way out, they can switch back to Independent.

This nearly always helps the candidate that most excites and mobilizes the independent voters, a constituency around which Obama's campaign is geared. Any poll taken in New Hampshire that did not include the Independents can be thrown out. Obama gets a huge bump if you include them.

This was evidenced in Iowa. Among Democrats who voted last night, Obama only defeated Clinton 32-31. Among Independents, however, Obama won 41-17, with Edwards earning 23 to once again provide the meat to Obama and Clinton's bread.

Obama's surging campaign probably subdues the Republican ability to draw in Independents for their election. Independents don't seem to be leaning towards the GOP in the election cycle yet, but if they do, it's either because of Huckabee inspiring win or McCain's recent resurgence.

More bad news for Romney.

I'll see you here on Monday to wrap up Iowa and further break down New Hampshire. Have a great weekend.

1 comment:

The Dude said...

The best part of the evening was the fascinating spin at the end of the night. The OPO(Optimism/Pessimism/Optimism)Formula was out in full blast. Huckabee making like William Jennings Bryan and going populist was great. The Dodd/Biden drop opens up huge Ewing Theory potential for John Edwards. White guys tend to do well in these things...The Schilling bump will be huge for McCain...

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