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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Presidential Power Rankings, Part II

Iowa is coming up in less than a week, New Hampshire to follow shortly thereafter. I cannot remember a more upside down race in recent history. Voters seem apathetic about all the options in front of them. The polls show tightening races all over the place. I am not sure this time around how much of a bounce Iowa will provide--I don't think it will slingshot its winner to the nomination automatically, the way it did for Kerry in 2004, but the victor will undeniably gain a ton of buzz heading into New Hampshire and the larger states. I will go once again with the top 7 most viable candidates...I have replaced Thompson (whose effort seems to be fading fast) with Huckabee (who has been surging the last couple weeks). Let me know how accurate you think these predictions are; once again, this is in order of likelihood of being President if the general election was held today.

1. Mitt Romney--He's weathered the storn thus far, and poured a considerable amount of time and money and energy into Iowa. In the late stages, he is doing a fairly decent job fending off Huckabee's surge, and his speech about his faith--while not exactly a barnburner--did enough to quiet suspicions about him for now. He has the best organized team, and he leaves nothing to chance--qualities which will help him overcome his robotic exterior and repuation as a soulless flip-flopper.

2. John McCain--Will lose bad in Iowa, but is coming on strong in New Hampshire. He has risen from the dead and is finishing up strong. As GOP voters worry about Romney's lack of spine, Giuliani's social positions, and Huckabee's nationwide appeal, McCain's pragmatism and experience seem more and more appealing. He will be a player before this thing is said and done.

3. Barack Obama-- Successfully retooled his campaign approach and decided to come after Clinton hard. His attacks have not blunted his wide appeal, and his numbers have steadily risen in Iowa, New Hamoshire and SC. He has erased double digit leads by Clinton and is runninng neck and neck with ehr and Edwards. The only downside is his caucas-goers are young college kids primarily who have no idea how to mobilize properly. I suspect Clinton's vote turning machine will be rivaled by no one, but Obama still retains most of the buzz.

4. John Edwards--Playing the Kerry role from 2004. Has gone from a distant third to neck and neck with the other two. He is closing masterfully and his populist rhetoric hardly ever veers into class warfare. Plus, never underestimate being the lone white male in the race. He has more buzz than Clinton, just not as much as Obama. Labor will back him solidly.

5. Hillary Clinton--Still the establishment's choice, but has responded poorly to attacks from Obama and Edwards. Her tightly controlled press appearances have reminded many of the current White House. The buzz seems to be off for now, but the distance between her, Obama and Edwards is still pretty slim. Anything can happen, and I would never underestimate the ability of the old Clinton hands (the Begalas and Carvilles, ect) to tap into the DNC apparatus to churn out the votes. Still, her star has dimmed quite a bit for now. On the other hand, if she can still hang on and win Iowa or at least finish a very close second, she still stands the chance of running the table. How's that for equivocating?

6. Rudolph Giuliani-- As we have suspected, though he has been the national front runner for some time, his numbers were soft. He seemed like a placeholder, and his latest tumbles confirm that. Its not just that he is percieved as liberal on social issues; its that he just hasn't been that impressive as a candidate in general. Plus, I really think that his strategy of waiting out Iowa and NH and holding out hope that people still remember him by the time Super Tuesday rolls around is retarded. Its all about the buzz you have, and winning Iowa and NH gives a candidate a formidable oresence. For him to so easily forsake those states was a silly tactical move, and one that has damaged him.

7. Mike Huckabee-- His strength in Iowa has been impressive, but I do not think he has the wide recognition or appeal (or finances) to build upon an impressive showing there. If he wins Iowa, he will be like Pat Robertson in 1988; I don't see him making much of his efforts here, but his leap to the first tier of candidates with such limited resources is nontheless impressive.

***in sum, I think Romney wins narrowly in Iowa over Huckabee and then he and McCain slug it out in NH. On the Democratic side, I really see a way for Obama or Edwards to take out Clinton in Iowa and really make a dent in her aura of invincibility*** You guys should let me know if my analysis is wildly off the mark. These days, I get my facts from Meet the Press and Drudge. I know very little, but thrse are my impressions.


Anonymous CresceNet said...

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10:59 PM

Blogger neill said...

In an actual election, Obama would win. Not by a huge margin, but by more than a single point. In a caucus, who knows. I would expect Hillary to pull it out, for the same reasons you cite.

The paroxysms of self-destruction on the Republican side are sweet, sweet music to my ears. Huckabee had to spend 10 minutes on Meet the Press last weekend defending his decision to comply with a court order to improve Arkansas's educational system. Their fetishes on abortion, guns, gays and taxes are going to be complete disasters in the general election assuming that the Democrats have some VCRs available.

3:34 PM


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