Friday, December 28, 2007

But Can He Win?

For those of you who might be offended, the subject of this does not ignore Hillary, we all know she can win. The question many primary voters have to answer is “I like this guy, but I don’t want to waste my vote – can he actually win this, or should I go to my second choice?” I am going to attempt to answer this, based on polling data and my own spectacularly fallible ability to read the political entrails.

The “Not Really” Tier

Joe Biden: In a better political world, Biden would be battling for the lead in the polls, as he is far more qualified than those at the top. He is also far more experienced than the candidate in his party running on her experience. But he has little personal popularity and his unchanging poll numbers mean he has no chance. This is an indictment of our political system.

Chris Dodd: See Joe Biden, in spades.

Bill Richardson: No, but he has a great chance of being the VP nominee. He, Biden, and Dodd, would make a much stronger top tier than the one we have, but that’s the way things go.

Dennis Kucinich: Yeah, right. Won’t win but will keep cluttering up the race until the end.

Duncan Hunter: Will stick around until the first votes are counted or until his campaign funds run out.

Ron Paul: No, but he is on a mission and his supporters are marginally insane. Look for him to get a shocking number of votes in either Iowa or New Hampshire. Also look for the media to totally ignore the votes he does get.

Fred Thompson: His campaign never caught fire. While his polling numbers have put him in range of the others, he really doesn’t seem to have any sort of momentum or personal drive to get him over the top.

The Contenders - Democrats

Hillary Clinton: Hell yeah. Still the favorite to get the nomination, and still a marginal favorite to become President. The unfortunate assassination of Benazir Bhutto may actually help her...or at least the mainstream media thinks it will, and since they are on her side anyway, they will keep repeating it until the public believes it. Make no mistake, she is who the MSM wants to be President and they will do whatever they can.

Barack Obama: Yes, he can. But if his people aren’t troubled by his national poll numbers, they are fooling themselves. Has money and a national organization, but something may be missing here and a defeat in Iowa could be disastrous, depending on how big.

John Edwards: Yes, but he has to get the nomination and that’s the hard part. A win in Iowa (which I think is at least as likely as anything) and the race turns upside down. The MSM has done everything it can to marginalize him (haircuts? he’s late to rallies?) in an attempt to get a Clinton-Obama showdown, but they can’t ignore actual results. It’s not easy, but at some point Dems may focus on the big picture – he is easily the most electable Democrat.

The Contenders – Republicans

Mitt Romney – Is he the establishment candidate? Does turmoil in Pakistan hurt him (and Huckabee)? Has to be considered a genuine contender, but his plans have gone awry. It was a simple plan : win Iowa, win New Hampshire, narrow the race to himself and Rudy, then roll. Well, what if he loses Iowa and NH? They then head to South Carolina, far less hospitable for him. Has money, has organization, but without momentum, that Mormon thing could prove fatal. Even if he gets the nomination, not a great bet in November.

Rudy Giuliani – Was the leader, may still be the leader, but with everyone under 20%, leadership means little. The sleaze is starting to pile up, and much of his strength in the race comes from his electability, which, while a bit better than Mitt’s, is just not closing the deal. Failures in Iowa and New Hampshire could put him in a difficult position.

John McCain – Rudy’s worst nightmare. The single most likely winner in November, more and more of the GOP establishment are starting to realize that. His resurgent poll numbers reflect the softening of Rudy’s support base. A good third in Iowa followed by a win in NH could make him the top candidate. If Hillary seems to be the Democrats nominee, look for many to rally around the most likely winner – which is him. Will beat any Democrat except Edwards in November.

Mike Huckabee – Included in this group because he can get the nomination. He won’t get elected President. His lack of international experience, his insane tax policy, his extreme religious views, and the many weird things he has said, will overcome his likeability and crush his candidacy should he be the nominee.

No Trouble With The Nomination

Michael Bloomberg – He wants to run, a lot. But he’s not stupid and won’t spend the money without a real chance. A race where Huckabee is the GOP nominee gives him that chance. Not sure whether he would prefer Clinton or Obama on the Dems side, but against Hillary he gets the independents and maybe a third of the GOP, who would be scared by Huckabee. We’re a ways from him making his decision, and if the GOP can’t make a decision and it goes until the convention, that might kill his chances. Absolutely won’t run against McCain or Edwards.

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