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Friday, January 04, 2008

New Hampshire Predictions and Iowa Aftermath:

First, the aftermath of Iowa: I'll analyze the Democratic Party side of the equation first, since frankly, that's the more interesting of the two. The outcome in Iowa was the political equivalent of the 1960 Valdivia earthquake. The significance of Obama's 8 point win over Edwards and 9 point win over Clinton simply cannot be overstated. I have simply run out of superlatives to use. Even Rush Limbaugh knows that Obama is the Republican Party's worst nightmare, and admitted as such on his radio show today while he tap-danced on Hilary Clinton's political grave. Obama has already taken some of the worst licks he's going to take from Clinton's camp, and he came out on top. There's no demographic in Iowa that he didn't win, most of them by significant amounts. He won the independents, the youth, the women, the minorities (what few there are in Iowa), and by virtue of the fact that Iowa is 92% white, he won the Caucasian vote. He completely destroyed the twin notions of Clinton's inevitability and that of his questionable viability among Caucasian voters. The main advantages Clinton had, and I use the past tense on purpose, were her experience and the aura of inevitability she carried around with her. Well, people want change, and with this loss in Iowa, that aura shattered like a dish at a Greek wedding reception. Hilary coming in third put her campaign on the canvas, and only time will tell if she can answer the ten count. However, with her two main upsides gone, and a large swath of people from all across the political spectrum not liking her all that much, this could be a first round knockout. Edwards is left in an excellent position, though he's still vulnerable. If he doesn't do well in New Hampshire and South Carolina, admittedly unlikely, he'll be seriously behind on points.

On the GOP side, well, who can be too surprised that a Baptist preacher-boy won in a state with a huge proportion of evangelical Christians? Romney's finish, well, wasn't a complete embarrassment, but certainly hurt him going into McCain's stronghold of New Hampshire. If he doesn't do well there, he'll have a very difficult time winning the GOP nomination. Thompson's campaign stubbornly refused to realize it was dead, coming in third with McCain coming in a whisker behind in fourth. Ron Paul came in with a respectable 10%, good, but not nearly good enough. It will take a miracle for Giuliani to pull it off with the strategy he has chosen, and that miracle will likely never come. As for Hunter, he's a tool.

For New Hampshire, I make the following predictions: On the GOP side, I'm picking McCain as the winner, with Romney coming in second at 5% behind, and Huckabee or Ron Paul coming in 8% off the pace. I see Thompson's campaign ending not with a bang, but a whimper. Giuliani's campaign will linger, but will remain on a morphine drip. As for Hunter, who really cares? Still, he may look back on his 1% showing in Iowa with fondness.

On the Democratic Party side, I have it too close to call between Obama and Edwards. Four days is a long time to digest what happened in Iowa, and neither candidate would surprise me by winning. I predict that the winner will win by 2%-3%. I see Clinton in a distant third at 10% off the pace. Richardson will call it a day, and Gravel and Kucinich are irrelevant.

New Hampshire is a must-win for both McCain and Clinton, and in Clinton's case, it takes on even more urgency by being a must-win-decisively. A 4% win or worse will not help her campaign, and a loss will bury her chances to be anything more than a junior Senator from New York or a former First Lady. In McCain's case, even a 2% loss will be near-fatal to his campaign. A Romney win, as unlikely as it is, will blow the GOP race wide open again.

Enjoy Zeromancer.


Candace said...

I love that Sen. Clinton was so thoroughly trounced in Iowa. (It's the war, stupid.)

The Obama phenom continues, and I'm thrilled about it. I've been signed up on his website since day one, and there's been a LOT of blogging and emailing going on there from the beginning. We all believed that Obama would astonish the pundits, and that's exactly what happened.

I think he'll do it again in NH, based on the higher number of Independents, and the bounce he has from Iowa. Many of the Independents who used to support McCain before the war (as I did) will switch to Obama.

It would be fun to see Huckabee get trounced in NH.

Good analysis, MC.

Snave said...

Excellent analysis!

I have pretty much become an Obama supporter. After digesting the messages of just about everyone and listening to my gut (go ahead, call me Chertoff!) I have to say his message tends toward hope a bit more than the rest do. Obama did get a great start in Iowa, and I can only hope Clinton isn't able to catch him. To use a rather hackneyed analogy, I see his as a train leaving the station, and lots of people want to get on that train.

I think pollsters and pundits have "misunderestimated" Obama, and I am thinking he will win New Hampshire by 3-5 percentage points. I don't think it matters too much where Clinton finishes; as long as she doesn't finish first, then doesn't finish first again in South Carolina she may well be out of it, although there are some big states like NY and California coming up. I'm hoping that with lots of media exposure and no more "aura of inevitability" around Clinton, Dems will wake up and not ultimately nominate her.

Re. the GOP, I agree with you. I once feared Fred Thompson as an inevitable GOP nominee, but now I think he is more like the walking dead. The poor guy doesn't look healthy when I see him on TV, and he just doesn't have much energy... I don't like his politics, but I hope he is physically o.k.

I think what we will see with the Republican primaries is Huckey winning lots of them in the South, and other guys winning them in other areas of the country. At least I don't see Huckabee winning in New York, California or Pennsylvania.

Overall, I think Romney is going to have a tough go of it, and that ultimately we will see McCain come out on top... Of course, as wrong as I seem to have been about Thompson, who knows.

As long as nobody in the White House toys with (or finds ways to get around) the 22nd Amendment, I think we will have a very interesting election year. Wait! Are those helicopters I hear? I had better take a moment to adjust my tinfoil hat! Hehehehehehe

Candace said...

I was just reading on Let's Talk that Kucinich is asking for a recount on the NH results. He asked his supporters to back Obama. So, it looks like he's doing this for Obama since it would look terrible for Obama to ask for the recount directly. Interesting to see what the results are!

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

I had read that as well, but I'm not sure that it really matters since Hil only won by 3 points, and they were tied in delegates in that state. This is a state that Hilary had been leading by double digits, so for her to win by only 3 points is almost a defeat. Had the New Hampshire primary been a week later, I think my prediction of a 10% loss for Hilary would have come true. However, I was right that the win was only by 2-3%.

On the Red side, Giuliani and Romney are done.