Sunday, January 06, 2008

New Hampshire primary picks

Back in October, I had New Hampshire called as follows:

1st - McCain (~35%)
2nd - Paul (~30%)
3rd - Romney (~25%)
4th - Giuliani (~20%)

With the rise of Huckabee, the fall of Giuliani, and the inexplicable staying power of the substanceless Thompson, I'm updating that prediction ... but it's not changing as much as you'd think:

1st - McCain (~30%)
2nd and 3rd - Paul and Romney in a close and unpredictable fight, (average 23% each)
4th - Thompson (~10%)
5th - Huckabee (~8%)
6th - Giuliani (5%)
7th - Hunter (~1%)

I originally had Romney picked in third, but I've got mixed feelings about him now. He wasn't able to buy victory in Iowa as I predicted he would do, and Thompson is cutting into his "let's vote safe and comfortable" market share. On the other hand, he's picking up some of Giuliani's lost "establishment" mojo, and I suspect that there's some Huckabee backlash brewing for Tuesday. Huck was the "real conservative protest vote" darling for a bit, but not many people are shithouse rat crazy enough to actually want him to win.

Democrat side: Clear win for Obama, Edwards in credible second, Clinton back in third and does not manage a "comeback kid" turnaround a la Bill.

Of course I'm 0 for 2 on the GOP side and 0 for 1 on the Democrat side so far, so I wouldn't advise running these picks and a fist full of cash over to your bookie.

Any way you cut it, my October picks are becoming less and less relevant. There's blood on the floor now and it's slippery all around, but I don't see Giuliani pulling anything like my October prediction in Michigan, or Paul doing as badly there as I initially predicted. How Romney does is largely up to how Thompson and Huckabee do in New Hampshire. I certainly won't be pulling for Romney, but I'll be honest: Huck scares me, and Giuliani would scare me if he was still a factor.

On the Democrat side, it's getting more and more interesting. I predict an anti-Obama backlash after New Hampshire, but Edwards rather than Clinton will be the beneficiary.

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