Monday, January 07, 2008

Nomination Countdown- 1/7/08

For political junkies, things are about as interesting and intense as they can get. I could fill page after page trying to give my thoughts on what transpired and what I expect to happen tomorrow in New Hampshire.

However, time is short and I am going to attempt to be as brief as possible and primarily focus on some way out on a limb predictions for the New Hampshire primary.

In Iowa, the victors were Oprah Winfrey and Chuck Norris. In a way at least. Hawkeye State voters went for the "fresh face" in both parties as well as the two candidates who were able to connect on an emotional, if not overly specific or substantive manner, and identify politics ruled the day. The fact that 60 percent of Iowa Republican voters were self-described Evangelicals made it possible for Mike Huckabee, a former Baptist minister, who often ran on religious themes, to be the victor on the Republican side despite the fact that so many conservatives otherwise take issue with him on competence and policy matters. Barack Obama's calls for "change" and the all out implosion of the campaign of Hillary Clinton catapulted Obama to a big win that might very well have been the first step toward a very surprising result for the entire Democrat nomination.

On that side, Dodd and Biden are now out, and the fact that John Edwards was not able to place first in Iowa place him in a tougher spot, especially with all the rallying around Obama that is currently underway. Hillary Clinton may still very much be in the game, but it is unlikely that she will be able to rebound enough to win New Hampshire tomorrow. I could go on and on, but instead I am just going to post some predictions I made a few days ago on what will happen in New Hampshire. As I said, I am way off the limb here and frankly, if I am wrong as far as the Democrats are concerned, it is that Obama will win by a larger margin.


Obama- 41
Clinton- 36
Edwards- 14
Richardson- 5
Kucinich- 2
Others- 2

As for the Grand Old Party, the fact that Mitt Romney invested so much time and money into Iowa, and led there in the polls for so long, and came in a somewhat distant second place to Huckabee has had many in the media and the punditry pronouncing his Presidential ambitions dead or at least saying that New Hampshire is a must win state for him. While Romney easily carried the non-Evangelical vote in Iowa, Huckabee's strength among that demographic was enough to win, in what was a huge turnout. In fact, the Romney turnout model counted on getting 25,000 votes in order to win the state, and actually received 30,000 and came in nine points behind.

So, now it is on to New Hampshire, where non-Evangelicals make up a much smaller portion of the electorate. Thus, it is John McCain who has been seen as moving up in the polls and is now considered the solid favorite to once again win the Granite State primary. Most polls currently show McCain with a lead over Romney, (who did manage to win the little noticed Wyoming Republican Caucus), although some show a very close race.

To make a long story short, McCain's biggest obstacle to winning New Hampshire is probably Obama. If the "Undeclared" voters in New Hampshire lean heavily towards taking a Democrat ballot for Obama tomorrow, as I tend to suspect, it will be much more difficult for McCain to win the state, based on the fact that Romney might be more popular among rank and file Republicans. Romney, who is of course my preferred candidate, had a very strong debate on Fox News last night, but it just may be that there was not enough time to rebound with the very quick window between Iowa and New Hampshire. Nonetheless, I think Romney may have found his voice last night and he should fight on, even if he comes in second place tomorrow. McCain did win New Hampshire eight years ago by 19 points and of course did not win the nomination. Back to back losses for Romney, (albeit to two different candidates) would make his path to the nomination a good deal more difficult, but he should have the money and the organization to fight on, at least until Super Tuesday, and I think there will be a general consensus among conservatives and rank and file Republicans that more states need to be heard from before this process ends or before a whole bunch of major contenders start dropping out. The GOP field remains pretty wide open.

Here are my New Hamphshire Republican predictions. Perhaps it is more wishful thinking on my part than anything else, but I do think that the Mittster stands a decent chance in a state where the Evangelical factor is not going to anywhere near as serious as it was in Iowa and where McCain is also up against an Obamamania buzzsaw.

Romney- 34
McCain- 31
Huckabee- 13
Paul- 10
Giuliani- 8
Thompson- 2
Others- 2


At 7:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 7:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Romney can spin a strong second place finish, say within 3% of McCain, as a victory considering all of the arrows he has had to take in the last 2 weeks. It is all a game of expectations.

Romney's check book is too large for him to be finished after NH. He must win MI if he loses NH.

Just my 2 cents

At 1:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think some of the recent NH polls show ridiculously high margins for Obama. I'll be suprised if he wins by more than 6 points. If it is something like 10 points, expect Hillary to have a meltdown. Democrats I think are more interested in who wins these early contests than Republicans.

I'm goin mostly along with your Repub predictions, but I'd flip Romney and McCain's total. I just don't see Romney doing that bad in his home turf. It's still wide open on that side as far as anyone can tell.

At 10:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To make a correction--"now it is on to New Hampshire, where non-Evangelicals make up a much smaller portion of the electorate"

You mean that evangelicals make up a much smaller part of the GOP electorate than in Iowa, or non-evangelicals make up a much LARGER portion?

At 2:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know what I meant!


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