Friday, January 04, 2008

Iowa caucus: Hot washup


So, how did I do with my predictions? Not very well. Here are the actual results.

I thought Romney would pull it out and beat Huckabee -- he completely tanked instead.

I didn't think that McCain would do well at all, seeing as how he has been an Iowa scoffer/semi-non-participant for two presidential campaigns in a row. But, with 96% of precincts reporting, he's in a dead heat with Thompson for third. I had McCain picked to be around where Giuliani actually ended up. I thought Thompson would be contesting 3rd/4th place with Ron Paul. Paul's firmly in 5th place at ~10%.

The biggest surprise for me was how poorly Giuliani fared. A lot of GOP pundits are going to be telling you "don't stick a fork in him ... he's not done." They're wrong. He is done.

Giuliani's plan was to lie low in Iowa and New Hampshire, coasting to third or fourth place finishes but showing a firm base of support -- 10-15%; then open up the can of whipass in Florida. He outsmarted himself: Florida might have waited around for him if he had remained in the top tier, but he's in Duncan Hunter low-single-digit territory now, and it's tough to come back from that when you were the alleged frontrunner. His Iowa outcome kills his already shaky New Hampshire third place prospects, and by January 29th the word in Florida is going to be "Rudy who?"

Florida is full of voters who, being older themselves, are unlikely to hold age against a candidate they otherwise respect. The big beneficiary of Giuliani's early breakdown will be John Mccain.

Speaking of which, I first (almost as a joke, but still) predicted that McCain would secure the GOP presidential nomination (and likely the presidency itself) on May 29th, 2007, when his campaign was at its lowest point, and have been seriously predicting that since at least as long ago as October. It's nice to see the pundits catching up with me the last week or so.

McCain will probably take 1st or 2nd place in New Hampshire (Romney's not dead yet, but he's lying on the ground twitching and bleeding -- New Hampshire will be his last hurrah). McCain will do well in South Carolina, and he'll friggin' romp in Michigan and Florida. He very well may run the table on Super Duper Tuesday (I had him picked to win several big states that day, but it turns out I was under- rather than over-estimating him). Knock off the brokered convention jabber. I predict that McCain will secure an absolute majority of convention delegates before Memorial Day at the latest, and possibly as early as February. Running mate? Colin Powell. And no, I'm not kidding.

On the Democratic side, I did poorly as well. I pegged Hillary's percentage, but didn't project that percentage putting her in third place, or Obama breaking out 8 points ahead of her. It's too early to call her dead in the water, but Obama and Edwards both get a big boost out of Iowa; she doesn't.

OK, back to the GOP side, because we have to talk about Ron Paul. He didn't do as well as I predicted, but he exceeded his polling numbers. He got 10% ... Bill Clinton polled 3% in the Iowa Democratic Caucus in 1992. No, I'm not saying Paul is going to pull it out and get the GOP nomination, but I think he did well enough to keep his activist base energized. He has a shot at coming in 2nd or 3rd in New Hampshire. After Super Duper Tuesday, he'll almost certainly be clearly out of the running ... for the GOP nomination. So, I'm adjusting the odds of his seeking (and getting) the Libertarian Party's presidential nomination up from 95% to 97%.

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