Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Predicting the Future, CS Edition

As the conservative half of our duo, here is my predictions for the Hawkeye State.

1. Obama
2. Hillary
3. Edwards
4. Biden

At this point, the smart money is on Obama in Iowa and I see no reason to go in another direction. He consistently tops the polls -- and I firmly believe that placement (what order the candidates are in) and trend are much more important than numbers. I don't think Hillary has righted herself enough to beat Obama, but she probably has done well enough to place above Edwards. Obama needs to hope for an Obama-Edwards-Clinton finish. Edwards and Clinton are battling for the same voters -- lower middle class, uneducated blue collars and middle class women -- and if Edwards is forced out early on (3rd place in IA and NH would make it nearly impossible for him to win), it frees up those voters for Hillary.

1. Romney
2. Huckabee
3. Thompson
4. McCain
5. Paul
6. Guiliani

This has turned into essentially two races: the race for first (Mitt v. Huck) and the race for third (McCain v. Fred). I think Huckabee peaked about two weeks too soon. The press has turned from adoring to inspecting (and he has a Clintonesque background -- substitute questionable ethics for questionable taste in lovers) and Romney has been doing a good job of hitting him hard. Huckabee's latest trick is taken straight out of the Paul Wellstone playbook (I couldn't find a link, but Wellstone's underdog 1990 campaign didn't have the money to run their famous "Looking for Rudy" ad, so they called a press conference and showed it there. The ad ended up being shown on newscasts across the state -- at no cost). That tactic is brilliant when you in Wellstone's situation: broke and the serious underdog. As the Iowa front-runner, it smacks of desperation. The Huckabee campaign would not do this if their internals showed their man with a solid lead in the state.

McCain has been making strides in the state and a third place finish in Iowa followed by a first in New Hampshire might even elevate him to front-runner status (assuming Huckabee can beat Romney in IA). Fred has gotten better on the trail -- probably too little, too late to actually win the nomination -- and has done a very good job situating himself as the truly conservative candidate. I think he edges McCain by one or two percentage points.

I'd love to have the readers put their predictions in the comments section -- now that you have heard from me and Blugold Matt.