Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Presidential Power Rankings # 49

December 5, 2007


1. Hillary Clinton (1)
2. Barack Obama (2)
3. John Edwards (3)
4. Bill Richardson (4)
5. Joe Biden (5)
6. Chris Dodd (6)
7. Al Gore (7)
8. Dennis Kucinich (8)
9. Mike Gravel (9)

No changes this week's Hanukkah edition, but things are certainly starting to get nasty and interesting between Clinton and Obama. I have thought all along that her nomination is inevitable, and it probably still is, but Obama appears to have perhaps moved ahead in Iowa and that has Hillary in full-blown panic mode, with her campaign trying to attack Obama for things he said in Kindergarten.

The big question will be if Hillary loses in Iowa, will she also lose New Hampshire? I kind of think she can afford to lose a close race in Iowa, and then be able to rebound and portray herself as the next "Comeback Kid" and all that, but for the first time perhaps all year, she has reason to worry about Barack Obama.

If the fighting between Clinton and Obama continues unabetted, that could be an opening for John Edwards to benefit in Iowa as well.

However, if Hillary takes first in Iowa, even in a close one, while Obama will not immediately drop out, the nomination might then be hers.

For those who are wondering, I am continuing to list Al Gore towards the back of the list, just on the extremely rare chance that the Democrat Convention winds up deadlocked and the party turns to him, or something crazy along those lines.


1. Rudy Giuliani (2)
2. Mitt Romney (1)
3. Mike Huckabee (4)
4. John McCain (3)
5. Fred Thompson (5)
6. Ron Paul (6)
7. Tom Tancredo (7)
8. Alan Keyes (8)
9. Duncan Hunter (9)
10. John Cox (10)

As most readers of this humble blog know, I am an ardent Mitt Romney supporter. I also still believe he will wind up as the GOP nominee, but it has been a tough month for his campaign in the ups and downs of Presidential politics. The meteroic rise of Mike Huckabee all of a sudden creates an opportunity for Rudy Giuliani, but the person who now retakes the number one spot has also had a pretty bad few weeks. Things are pretty wide open in the GOP field, and despite the current environment, I still expect the race to come down to Giuliani and Romney, and I think that is a contest that due to Romney's strategy may favor the former Governor. I also think that if Huckabee reaches the final two (which would surprise me), Romney would have even more of an edge.

The crazier things get, the more of an opening that leaves for John McCain, but it would still be a surprise to most if he winds up as the GOP nominee. While Fred Thompson is hoping to finish third in Iowa, it becomes more and more unlikely with each passing week that he may be able to take the nomination.

This is a big week for the Romney campaign with the speech on religion they are giving on Thursday and the focus that the national media will give it regarding the "Mormon issue.' The impact of the speech and the way it is spun can either be extremely good or extremely bad for Mitt Romney.

It should definitely come as a surprise to see that Mike Huckabee, who was once mired in the category of an afterthought, now appears to be the leader in Iowa, on the strength of strong support from Evangelical Christians and may even have caught or is very close to Rudy Giuliani in national polls.

Clearly, we are in the midst "Huckmentum", but I do think it will be a fairly short lived phenomenon and that Huckabee is going to be put under some heavy scrutiny. He cannot match Romney in money or organization and during the Holiday Season, when politics may slow down in Iowa, New Hampshire, and elsewhere, he could find it hard to build something tangible. For now though, Huckabee has to be moved ahead of McCain, on the primary basis of his standing in Iowa.

Romney though appears to certainly still have a decent chance in Iowa, is ahead in New Hampshire, and is in competition for a win in South Carolina and some other early states.

If Huckabee defeats Romney in Iowa though, that will be a big blow for the Romney campaign. While Huckabee would likely go on to meet his Waterloo in New Hampshire, Romney could be so harmed that Giuliani could benefit enough to then win in New Hampshire and South Carolina, en route to Florida and all the February 5 states. That is the current hope for Rudy, even amidst some ethical questions about his personal life while Mayor of New York City and the fact that he has clearly slipped in national polls.

Romney just wants to find a way to get in a two person race with someone. Losing Iowa and quickly rebounding in New Hampshire, would be in line with the GOP tradition of no candidate ever taking both of the first contests, and it would keep him in the game, but the task would be nowhere near as easy as a victory in Iowa, where his campaign may also be grateful now for some seriously lowered expectations visa vis the Huckster.


At 6:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't see how a Huckabee win in Iowa does Romney any good. He's poured money and attention on that state. Romney would have to win NH convincingly to come back from that.

I also agree with some political analysts that Hillary is far from inevitable. I think her stregnth in Iowa and New Hampshire reached it's ceiling somewhere in the 30's. As Iowa has been tightening, she's been going down in NH and SC. If she loses IA, I think she may lose all 3. Then, it depends how solid her huge leads in FL and NV really are. Then again, if she wins IA, however close, it's over.


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