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Thursday, January 03, 2008

It's Here! Iowa Questions and Predictions

Iowa Caucus Analysis, Thursday, January 3rd
Finally.

This blog started just over a year ago. In my third blog post, on January 17th of last year, I ranked the Republican contenders. This is what it looked like:
1. John McCain
2. Mitt Romney
3. Rudy Giuliani
4. Mike Huckabee

That's looking pretty good, wouldn't you say?

Back up even more to my first blog post, titled Resisting Temptation. I outlined why Barack Obama should not run, despite Democrats swooning from his 2004 Convention speech. My reasoning, aside from the questionable electability of the inexperienced African-American, was that an Obama candidacy effectively eliminated every other candidate from the Democratic Primary, save Obama and Hillary Clinton. Here's what I wrote in December 2006:

"He's taking all the oxygen away from the other candidates who will be looking to get off the ground... no one else will be able to make a run at Hillary’s money, and I can’t see a good Democrat wanting Hillary to be the nominee either."

Well, I was right and I was wrong. With the exception of Edward's fringe viability, no candidate ever stood a chance to raise the funds necessary to compete, but I never thought that Obama would have a legitimate chance to be President of the United States. However, I failed to believe this at the time: Obama can win the whole thing. That thought has been dismissed. He could become the Democrat that could make a legitimate run at Clinton. Now everyone is asking this question:

"Can Obama overcome the Clinton inevitability?" is just one of the intriguing inquiries that will begin to get answered by today's Iowa Caucus. Here's a quick look as some other fascinating questions for today and the rest of the primary.

"Can John McCain possibly pull this comeback off?" In May, I guaranteed John McCain would win the Republican Primary. I'd feel better about that if I hadn't, like everyone else, written him off this summer. On the left sidebar, I dropped him to as low as 20-1 in The Line, before steadily moving him back up after he didn't go away. This July, he had nothing going for him. Now? A lot of people consider him the favorite.

"Will the Democrats be short-sighted enough to nominate Hillary Clinton?" A Clinton nomination rallies Republicans to the polls more than any other candidate. Everyone knows this. Does everyone also make the connection that more Republicans voting for the Republican nominee translates to more Republicans voting for for the House and Senate? So not only does a Clinton nomination endanger the Democrats' chances of regaining the White House, but it also increases the risk of losing the majority in both houses of Congress.

And yet, they will more than likely nominate her. They better be prepared to lay in a bed they make.

"Can Rudy Giuliani win the nomination via the unprecedented route of not caring about the early primaries?" Rudy Giuliani will not finish in the top 3 in Iowa, New Hampshire, or South Carolina. No candidate with those results has ever gone on to win their party's nomination. His strategy of waiting until the big states (he polls extremely well in Florida, New York, New Jersey, and California) to do well holds potential but, as it is unprecedented, not a sure thing. The possibility remains that the Republicans coalesce around one of the other three candidates after the first handful of states, knowing they need one man alone to compete with Giuliani. Candidates that drop out endorse this challenger, and the undecideds run to him. With no momentum, Giuliani's numbers collapse.

However, if Giuliani hangs on, it'd change traditional primary strategy indefinitely.

"Can Mike Huckabee come out of national obscurity in the last six weeks before the Iowa Caucus to win the nomination?" Will this give legitimate hope to every candidate that polls in single numbers all year round? If Huckabee holds onto Iowa today, finishes a strong third in New Hampshire, and first in South Carolina, it will be his social conservatism taking on Rudy Giuliani's social liberalism for the nomination of the socially conservative party. Two months ago? Most of the country never heard of him... though I thought he was a top four contender last January.

"Can John Edwards rally the Democratic Party with an Iowa win?" The Democrats do not yet realize what they have in front of them. They have an angry, progressive, religious southern Democrat with foreign policy experience and a history fighting special interest groups. It's like the perfect Democrat (note: not the perfect liberal) was created in a machine and out came John Edwards. Yet he cannot get noticed outside of Iowa because of the political machines that are Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. An Iowa win could chance that.

"Can Mitt Romney run the table in the early primaries to re-establish the two-man race with Giuliani?" Once the best bet to take on Giuliani, Romney's Iowa-New Hampshire spendathon is now in danger of becoming the Huckabee-McCain shoestring successes. With Romney's Mormonism becoming less of a problem, it's his wishy-washiness and willingness to attack his Republican brethren that are worrying GOP voters in the early states. So he just keeps pumping the airwaves full of ads hoping to distract them long enough to build momentum by Super Tuesday.

"Can ANY of the following candidates finish top three in Iowa, New Hampshire, or South Carolina: Ron Paul, Joe Biden, Fred Thompson, Mike Gravel, Chris Dodd, Dennis Kucinich, Duncan Hunter, Bill Richardson." With the possible exception of Fred Thompson: No.


Finally, predictions I have little faith in.

Iowa finishes:
Democrats
1. Edwards
2. Obama
3. Clinton
4. Biden
5. Richardson
6. Dodd
7. Kucinich

Republicans
1. Romney
2. Huckabee
3. McCain
4. Paul
5. Thompson
6. Giuliani
7. Hunter


Nominations:
Democrats
1. Clinton
2. Obama
3. Edwards

Republicans
1. McCain
2. Giuliani
3. Romney


See you tomorrow for the results and implications of the Iowa Caucus!

7 comments:

Darren said...

Iowa finishes:
Democrats
1. Obama
2. Edwards
3. Clinton
4. Richardson
5. Biden
6. Dodd
7. Kucinich

Republicans
1. Romney
2. McCain
3. Huckabee
4. Paul
5. Thompson
6. Giuliani
7. Hunter

IC said...

Huckabee drops to third? Wow. Those Romney attack adds would be working like a charm... only to have McCain place second and ride that into a New Hampshire win bumping down Romney!

Saj said...

Predictions:
Democrats
1. Obama
2. Edwards
3. Succubus
4. Richardson
5. Exhumed corpse of Roosevelt
6. Harry Potter
7. Kucinich (Obama thanks him kindly for the 4 to 7%)

Republicans
1. Huckabee
2. McCain
3. Romney
4. Cheney
4. Thompson
5. Giuliani
6. Paul
7. Hunter

http://presidentialpolitics.blogspot.com/2007/03/barack-attack-why-barack-obama-can-and.html

I BELIEVE.

Darren said...

Romney and Huckabee will split each other's votes, while most of their supporters will NOT choose the other as their second choice. Therefore, McCain is assured of 2nd place and either Huck or Romney wins first while the other takes 3rd.

IC said...

Republican Caucus don't do second-choice. Just the Democrats in Iowa.

Keep the predictions coming!

sptmck said...

Happy anniversary!!! And hopefully, this time next year, we have a Dem. in the WH. More of Voldemort and the dark arts of the repugs are enough to scare anyone.

The Dude said...

Performance Enhanced Predictions
Dems:
1.Obama
2.She who shall not be named...
3.Tom Brady
4.Edwards
5.Biden
6.Dodd (CT...Holla at cha boy!)
7.Richardson

Cans:
1.Huckabee
2.Romney
3.Curt Schilling's Homeboy
4.D.A. Arthur Branch
5.Paul (Byah!)
6.Derek Jeter's Mac-daddy
7.Bill Simmon's buddy Jack O

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