Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Guessing Iowa

Predicting the Iowa caucuses is somewhere between hard and impossible, with all the reliability of predictions based on animal entrails. Still, punditry demands these kinds of things, so here goes.

1. Edwards
2. Obama
3. Clinton

A few days ago this would have been different, with Obama in third. The Des Moines Register poll changes that, not because I think it’s all that accurate, but because it has created a perception about the race which benefits Obama. Perhaps there will be, as the poll shows, a 33% increase in first-time voters, perhaps there will be a huge turnout of Independents and Republicans voting for Obama, but I wouldn’t bet on those two happening. Still, in politics, perception is reality, and the perception that he is surging late and has broad appeal could well lead to that happening or just adding a few points by other means. I still think Edwards wins the caucuses on second-choice votes, but Obama could win the entrance polls and that could really confuse things. The key is the margin – 30-29-28 is meaningless, 34-29-24 is very meaningful, with the story split between the winner and the loser. If it should be Edwards with 34 and Obama with 24, this race would be turned on its head. The other way around eliminates Edwards, and would give Obama a huge boost. A bad third by Clinton would puncture her inevitability balloon and leave this wide open. The Kucinich “endorsement” of Obama might be worth a point or two and that might prove significant. A significant Clinton win would depress far too many people to even think about.

1. Huckabee
2. Romney
3. McCain
4. Paul

I included Paul because I think he’ll get to 10% and Thompson won’t. The question here is whether Romney’s all-out assault on Huckabee worked. If it didn’t, it is a major blow to Romney. The key number here is McCain’s vote total. If he gets to 15% or more, without really having a campaign in Iowa, it will be treated as a victory by the media and will get him a bump in NH. Big Prediction Alert....if McCain gets 15% or more and Huckabee and Clinton win, John McCain will be the next President. Even without the Clinton win, I wouldn’t bet against McCain if the other two happen.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home