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Tilting at Windmills

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January 3, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

IOWA PREDICTIONS....Here's an open thread for Iowa caucus predictions. I don't have an actual candidate prediction myself, so here's a meta-prediction instead: Iowa won't be quite as important as everyone thinks.

Partly this is because the race on the Democratic side looks pretty close, and a close race is unlikely to provide significant momentum for anyone. But here's the main reason: in the past, except for 2004, Iowa hasn't been all that important. Gore was way ahead of Bradley in 2000 regardless of Iowa; Clinton came in fourth in 1992; Dukakis third in 1988; and Mondale's 1984 win was routine. For my money, you have to go back to 1976 to find another year in which the Iowa caucus really made a big difference.

But we've all been shell shocked by 2004, when John Kerry seemingly came out of nowhere to beat Howard Dean and never looked back. It made Iowa look superhuman, and I have a feeling that Democrats have never gotten over it. So for a long time everyone has been expecting 2008 to be a repeat of 2004, despite the fact that 2004 was sort of a weird one-off fluke.

At least, that's my guess. Obviously early states have more influence than later states, but I really do think 2004 was a fluke. Iowa this year has the potential to end the John Edwards campaign, I think, but I doubt that it has the potential to crown a winner. We'll have to wait for February 5th for that.

And on the Republican side? My prediction is for chaos. And I'm looking forward to it.

Kevin Drum 12:17 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (111)

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Comments

Per the Gop side, the Limbaugh phrase "circular firing squad" comes to mind.

Posted by: absent observer on January 3, 2008 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

I have my bowl of fresh crow ready for tomorrow morning, but here's my prediction:

... Romney will prevail over Huck for simple reason of money and organization. The backing of the establishment, as we saw with Kerry in 2004, is a powerful thing not to be dismissed no matter how many orange hats you throw out, and in many ways the Huck boomlet is relying on the same assumptions as Dean's campaign did back then. However, I wouldn't be surprised to see a lot of Huck's support go to Ron as second choice. Couple that with a huge surge of new voters for Ron and the final breakdown would be: 1: Romney, 2: Ron Paul, 3: McCain or Huckabee. And of course, N: Fred.

I explain my reasoning at Nation-Building blog.

and for what it's worth, I claim first author on the phrase "Huck fin".

Posted by: Aziz Poonawalla on January 3, 2008 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

Ron Paul won't finish No. 2 in Iowa. A respectable fourth and double digits in percentage points? Yes.

Huck beats Romney, by something like 29-27 or 30-28. McCain gets Thompson detritus, etc., hits 18-20 percent. Paul gets 12-13 percent. That leaves 10 percent or a little more for the rest, primarily Rudy.

Dems? Edwards-Clinton-Obama 31-29-27. Richardson only other to break 5 percent.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on January 3, 2008 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

I think a third place finish in Iowa when coupled with a loss New Hampshire be the end of Hillary. Once people realize she isn't inevitable, Hillary could go down in a heap. There are a lot of people who are really concerned about whether she is electable in the general. If the caucus comes out as close as people say the top three move on unscathed.

Posted by: corpus juris on January 3, 2008 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

I think whoever wins in Iowa will probably do what Kerry did in '04, which is pretty much use it as a springboard to take the lead and continue winning. Reasoning here is the focus of the media and the internet. It's a big part of why Iowa seems bigger than it is, but perception counts for a whole lot. Folks have been counting down to these caucuses as if they were the election itself. It's going to be really tough to disabuse people of the notion that whoever wins Iowa isn't the frontrunner and presumptive nominee.

Posted by: Quinn on January 3, 2008 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Iowa may not be crucial ... for Obama or Clinton. But for Edwards it is do or die. To be blunt: if Edwards doesn't finish first (or second over Clinton) then his campaign is doomed.

Posted by: Ara on January 3, 2008 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

My predictions. On the Republican side Mitt Romney will come in first, Huckabee will come in second. For third, I suspect Rudy will come in third. Polls will be proven wrong as movement conservatives and independents come in and support Mitt and Rudy for their strong support of the War on Terror and their attacks on illegal aliens.
For Democrats, I predict Hillary will come in first, Obama second in a virtual tie with Hillary, and Edwards will come in a distant third. Independents will vote for Obama in droves because they are tired of the partisan bickering, but Hillary will win because of her strong support from the Democratic base. Edwards will come in a distant third because people are tired of his bashing of those who work the hardest, his attacks on capitalism, and his attempts to appease the left wing netroots.

Posted by: Al on January 3, 2008 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

End result will be McCain / Huck. Media and villagers will go crazy for McCain, and the crazies will follow Huck.

Posted by: Gore/Edwards 08 on January 3, 2008 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

Random predictions:

Edwards wins. Obama close second. All the Dodd and Kucinch voters break to Edwards. The rural strategy and the lily-whiteness of Iowa carry the day.

Huckster wins. Romney distant second. Jeebus loves corn. Ron Paul takes 3rd.

Posted by: do on January 3, 2008 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

Al you are an establishment kinda guy.

Huckabee, Paul, Edwards, Obma and lately even Clinton have all caught on that this isn't an establishment sort of year. People are scared to death they have been abandoned by the establishment, and they are right to be worried.

Posted by: corpus juris on January 3, 2008 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

So great to have you back. It's nice to read someone who doesn't rest on his adjectives.

Posted by: mike s. on January 3, 2008 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

If Clinton wins Iowa, it's game, set match. If she comes in third with Obama a strong winner, then Obama is in very good shape as he will likely win in NH and SC, and with that momentum will do very well in the Feb 5 states. If Edwards wins and Clinton finishes a somewhat weak 3rd, all bets are off and it will be a mad scramble.

On the Repubs side, if Romney wins by a sizeable amount, he likely recovers in NH, wins SC and probably strolls to the nomination. If the Huckster wins, McCain wins in NH, Huckabee wins SC and Feb 5 becomes very very interesting.

What will happen? God if I know.

Posted by: Jim on January 3, 2008 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

Kerry's success in Iowa demonstrated the need for party discipline and organization within the state to win. In Iowa, popularity in polls should not be relied upon as much as building a homegrown team of supporters.

Dean relied on his popularity and young non-Iowa residents to mobilize support in the caucuses and that strategy failed. The caucus system may not reflect the opinions of the majority as much as it does the opinions of party loyalists, and using outsiders to mobilize support is always risky in any state.

Posted by: Brojo on January 3, 2008 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

I wish I could predict that this is the last time we have to deal with the Iowa caucuses.

Posted by: F. Frederson on January 3, 2008 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

My absurdly precise predictions:

DEMOCRATS
Biden 2
Clinton 31
Dodd 1.7
Edwards 34
Gravel 0
Kucinich .8
Obama 28
Richardson 2.5

REPUBLICANS
Giuliani 5
Huckabee 36
Hunter 2
McCain 18
Paul 5
Romney 29
Thompson 5

Posted by: Henry on January 3, 2008 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

Brojo, if you are right, Edwards should win in a walk. From what I have heard he has the best in state organization in either party.

Posted by: corpus juris on January 3, 2008 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

If Hilbot wins by 3% or more, it's over.
If Hilbot wins by less than 3%, it ain't over.

If Edwards wins, it's not over, period. Although this could be the most interesting outcome. Obama wins NH, Edwards and Obama duke it out in SC, Hilbot, Edwards and Obama duke it out in Michigan, and Feb 5 actually matters.

If Obama wins by 3% or more, it's not over, but the "Hilbot's In Trouble" stories will start pumping in earnest.

If Obama wins by less than 3%, it's not over, and we'll see a similar scenario to an Edwards win, except I think Obama will cruise in SC.

On the GOP side, Romney wins, Huckabee second. McCain third, and ascendant.
Rudy and Fred continue death spiral.

Posted by: Cazart on January 3, 2008 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

Edwards, Hillary and distant third Obama. The msm will then begin their efforts to dismiss the results since they fear Edwards. (Broder has already begun).

Romney, Huckabee, McCain.

Posted by: Chrissy on January 3, 2008 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

I agree that Iowa isn't critically important, unless you're Edwards. I think his biggest detriment is lack of media coverage in favor of Clinton and Obama. In Iowa he has probably his only chance to overcome that with retail politics and the years he's put in building there. A win will force some increased coverage of him, a loss will allow the continuation of the media's Obama vs Clinton obsession and Edwards will quickly fade along with the rest of the second tier candidates.

Posted by: kahner on January 3, 2008 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

How well does Ron Paul have to do for Republican underperformers to cry "mulligan"?

I'm thinking 2nd.

Posted by: Royko on January 3, 2008 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

You say that Iowa can end Edwards' campaign, but it can also end the effort to end Edwards' campaign. The corporate media has continued with their habit of drawing the thick 'serious contender' line just over the strongest anti-corporate-power candidate, and a finish ABOVE Hillary in a state where Hillary spent $400.00 a candidate is going to shut the corporate media up where John Edwards is concerned. They're going to have to stop talking about his hair and start talking about his position.

Posted by: Benjamin Jones on January 3, 2008 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

Obama by a solid 5% over Edwards with Biden shocking the msm by edging Hillary for 3rd.

Romney noses out Huckabee with Paul a surprising 3rd.

Posted by: Heimyankel on January 3, 2008 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

I would agree with Kevin. The Democratic winner in Iowa, if other than Mrs. Clinton, might have a little momentum. Further, it also is becoming apparent that the caucus-goers' second choice may well prove decisive. We need to remember that primary voters do not have the luxury of that option.

But the real issue in determining a campaign's future is sustainability, resources (fiscal and human), and perhaps most important to Democratic voters, electability. Whether the Obama and Edwards camps have the necessary organization outside Iowa (Obama looks like he has the money) remains to be seen. A victory five days from now by Mrs. Clinton in New Hampshire, where several polls still show her with a sustaining lead, will quickly douse any residual flames from Iowa.

And perhaps most importantly, national polls still show Clinton holding commanding leads over her rivals. Now, I'm not at all sure how solid or soft that lead is; we'll find out after tonight whether Iowa impacts her nationally. If a negative result from Iowa doesn't move those numbers much, then that would indicate that Democratic voters in CA, NY, FL and elsewhere may well be her political firewall, and what happens in Iowa tonight won't mean too terribly much six weeks from now.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 3, 2008 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

The person who wins in IA gains a boost of 10-15% points in NH in every single presidential primary. That is enough to put any of the big three ahead in NH. the person who wins both IA and NH has a 75% chance to win the nomination (probably higher if the average were weighted to put more emphasis on more recent elections).

Pretending that IA doesn't matter is foolish at best.

Posted by: soullite on January 3, 2008 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

Romney and Edwards win, but neither winds up with the nomination in the end.

Posted by: Brian on January 3, 2008 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

It doesn't matter. HRC will be the eventual nominee because style, not substance, will carry the day. Democrats would prefer a confident woman to men who are either too angry or too subtle to enact the Democratic agenda. A new era of Clintonian pragmatism, minus all the hesitation of the 1990s, would be good for America!

Posted by: illume on January 3, 2008 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

A note in passing -- the phrase "It made Iowa look superhuman" is staggeringly bad writing. Iowa is a geographic location. I get what you mean, but, still, that's a horrible coinage.

Posted by: Doc Nebula on January 3, 2008 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

My predictions are

a)
Clinton: 65
Edwards: 17
Obama: 13

b)
we will all die alone, all our works will be forgotten, and no one will remember our names


Posted by: Ecclesiastes on January 3, 2008 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

Seriously, I think a lot of you are living in 1976. Voters no longer have the cultural patience for a long nomination, and whats more there is no stomach for on. All three candidates are acceptable in the eyes of at least 90% of the party. If someone takes both the early states, they will win the nomination. The other candidates can spend all the money they want, it won't matter anymore. The primary calender will prevent anyone with early momentum from having the time required to stumble.

Posted by: soullite on January 3, 2008 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

Edwards 33, HRC 30, Obama 29.
Huckabee narrowly wins over Romney, with McCain narrowly edging Ron Paul for 3rd place. Thompson takes 5th place, and Rudy 6th.

Posted by: Jasper on January 3, 2008 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

benjamin, i hope you're right that a second place finish will lead to some serious coverage of Edwards, but I doubt it. There seems to be a desperatre desire to ignore him (it couldn't be that corporate media doesn't like his anti-corporate greed message). They'll just spin a Hillary 3rd place as par for the course, just like her campaign is spinning it already. Then the self-fulfilling prophecy will come about, with no one talking about anyone except O and H, and one goes on to win the nomination.

Posted by: kahner on January 3, 2008 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

"They're going to have to stop talking about his hair and start talking about his position."

I'll bet you played Imagine until the grooves wore out.

Posted by: demisod on January 3, 2008 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

A lot depends on whether the young and enthusiastic crowd that Obama attracts actually goes to caucus. I do not believe that total turnout will be as high as speculated, probably 150,000 at most, though I'd be happy to be wrong.

Predictions, almost certainly wrong (these include second place votes of "nonviables"):

Edwards 38%
Obama 33%
Clinton 29%

The Democratic headline: Clinton finishes third, the "inevitability" argument is smashed.

In the Reptile side, they don't do the "nonviable" cut, so

Huckabee 33%
Romney 33%
McCain 20%
Guiliani 9%
Paul 4%
Thompson 1%

The Repoo headlines: McCain suprisingly strong without much campaigning, Guiliani doesn't crack double digits, and Grandpa Fred drops out.

Posted by: Greg in FL on January 3, 2008 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

Edwards 33, HRC 30, Obama 29.
Huckabee narrowly wins over Romney, with McCain narrowly edging Ron Paul for 3rd place. Thompson takes 5th place, and Rudy 6th.

Oh, what the hell, since I'm in a prescient mood: Clinton and McCain win their respective contests in NH, and then go on to rapidly consolidate their nominations. In November, a Clinton/Obama ticket gains a modest popular vote victory over a McCain/Brownback ticket, but this translates into a more substantial Electoral College victory, as the Dems hold onto all of the 2004 blue states, and add Ohio, Florida, Iowa, New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada to their totals.

Posted by: Jasper on January 3, 2008 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Do: Kucinich told his folks to break Obama not Edwards (not that they have to follow him).

Otherwise, I don't know if Obama has the ground-level organization vs. Edwards or Clinton.

Nationally, don't forget Hillary has a lead, and the in, on superdelegates. It will take a lot to knock her off the hill in the national picture.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on January 3, 2008 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

Jasper wrote: "In November, a Clinton/Obama ticket gains a modest popular vote victory ..."

In 1992, I remember seeing a Photoshop image depicting Bill Clinton as Captain Kirk and Al Gore as Mr. Spock. Which, oddly enough, kind of corresponded to their personalities.

So, according to the theory that politics follows Star Trek, a Hillary Clinton / Barack Obama ticket would be Captain Janeway and Tuvok, of the USS Voyager. Hopefully bringing the starship of state safely home from the Delta Quadrant and the clutches of the Borg.


Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 3, 2008 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

Iowa: Obama by 3 to 5 percent; Edwards and Clinton very close to each other in second and third.

If Obama wins in Iowa and then New Hampshire by several percent, I think that will be pretty much it for Clinton although I'm sure she will keep trying through Feb.

For Republicans I give Romney a bit of an edge to get the nomination over McCain but if McCain wins South Carolina I think he'll then win the nomination.

If Romney gets the Republican nomination, either Obama or Clinton should win the general election fairly comfortably. If McCain gets the Republican nomination it will probably be closer but Obama or Clinton would still probably be able to win.

Posted by: TK on January 3, 2008 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

The same suicidal tendencies that gave us Gore (the old Gore) and Kerry (the only Kerry) as candidates, will ultimately give HRC the nomination. But I think she loses in Iowa first, and wins the nomination later. For Iowa, Obama and Edwards nearly tied, with HRC a competitive third.

On the side of evil, Huckabee will win Iowa, and Thompson will come in ahead of expectations but be out of the race soon after. Giuliani will be out quickly too. Huckabee will fade, and Romney gets the nomination.

Then Romney pairs up with Thompson to strengthen his conservative credentials, and Hillary picks someone who doesn't appear *too* human so that Hillary won't look bad by contrast. Phone calls to Gore are not returned, so she ends up picking somebody that hardly anyone has heard of, destined to be the answer to trivia questions a decade or two later.

Then it's Romney/Thompson vs Hillary/X, and it's a close race but HRC manages to uphold recent Democratic tradition and lose. Massive GOP turnout for the anti-Hillary vote helps prevent the Dems from making strong gains in Congress.


Posted by: bob on January 3, 2008 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

SA, Do you mean the ship of state is now a mini-van?

Posted by: corpus juris on January 3, 2008 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

Ron Paul will win. Maybe he doesn't do so well in the polls, but literally everybody who supports him will be there for the Caucus, a few hours before it starts probably: these are people who spend every hour of their free time spamming YouTube. The other candidates just don't have a base like that.

Posted by: ~~~~ on January 3, 2008 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

I look at polls and I just can't for the life of me come up with a prediction I can believe in.

Except one: if Obama wins, I'm going to be mighty depressed.

I didn't like the guy from day one, but every day that passes, the man gives me more reason to dread his becoming the Democratic nominee.

If he wins, at bare minimum I predict that we will never have truly universal health care so long as Obama is President. He's painted himself into a corner with his right wing disparagement of mandates. The best he will ever deliver is some cockeyed, half assed plan that maybe covers some more people -- just like the health care plans that (fellow?) Republicans Romney and Schwartznegger have implemented.

If you care about progressive policies, and react to "inspiration" and Koolness as mostly important to children and lost souls, it's hard to see an upside to Obama as Democratic nominee.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 3, 2008 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Hmm. No predictions, other than an Obama/Edwards or Edwards/Obama Democratic ticket in November...despite all the other Dem candidates who are currently auditioning for the Veep slot by throwing their supporter's second-choice votes over to Obama in Iowa.

Posted by: grape_crush on January 3, 2008 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

For the Democrats, second choicers put Edwards over the top, while Obama's newbies underperform:

Edwards 31%
Obama 29%
Clinton 27%
Biden 5%
Richardson 4%
Dodd 3%
Kucinich 1%

Here are tonight's GOP results - only the right-wing end-of-times folks are excited, and we know who they're voting for:

Huckabee 35%
Romney 25%
McCain 14%
Paul 11%
Thompson 10%
Giuliani 5%

Posted by: CA Pol Junkie on January 3, 2008 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

If my (not poll tested) gut feeling is right. If either Edwards, or Obama win decisively then a significant percetage of the others supporters elsewhere may switch. The presumption here is that a significant fraction of Obama supporters would go for Edwards as a second choice, and vice versa. If that presumption is wrong, then Iowa is not very important. In any case in a three -or more way race voters have the option of supporting someone other than their first choice if they think his/her chances are futile.

2004 was kinda special, the Dean Scream was used to ridicle the candidate, ending his chances.

Posted by: bigTom on January 3, 2008 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

soullite: "Voters no longer have the cultural patience for a long nomination, and whats more there is no stomach for on."

Well, I for one wouldn't confuse voters' supposed lack of so-called "cultural patience" with the very real and demonstrable impatience of mainstream American media, when attempting to ascertain the primary impetus of this absurd rush to political judgment.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 3, 2008 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

I just don't see Huckabee getting the #1 or #2 spots. He has NO infrastructure to pull off a successful caucus night for himself, certainly not compared to Romney. Plus, all of Huckabee's supporters are new converts who could easily be persuaded at the time. I think it will be Romney, McCain, Huckabee which will be spun as a massive success for McCain.

Dem side I have no clue, but I think Obama or Edwards first with Clinton 3rd, all very very close.

Posted by: Fred F. on January 3, 2008 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

"Iowa won't be quite as important as everyone thinks." Kevin

Gee, who would have expected Kevin to parrot his candidate, Clinton's, spin? If she finishes 3rd by more than a point or two, she's in big trouble. If she finishes second by one point, then I would still expect her to win.

Posted by: Gary Sugar on January 3, 2008 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

If he wins, at bare minimum I predict that we will never have truly universal health care so long as Obama is President. He's painted himself into a corner with his right wing disparagement of mandates.

Where did Democrats get the idea that "mandates" are a feasible way to achieve universal health care? How is the average voter going to react to the explanation that the government is going to provide health care for them by forcing them to pay for something they can't afford? Or forcing them to pay for something they're young and foolish enough to think they don't need (and for health care, that extends into the 30's and 40's for many), or rather, that they don't need badly enough to forego that HDTV, fishing boat, new pickup, etc?


Posted by: bob on January 3, 2008 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

The only honest prediction that I can make is that too much will be made of tonight's "vote" in Iowa.

Americans are not very patient and the world must be
rolling it's collective eyes over the media hype coming out of Iowa.

The November election may decide who our next president will be (I'm not sure 2000 did!), but not what's in store for our country.

I really don't see leadership as a skill that any of these folks claim to have.

So while the world (so we think) may hold it's collective breath over Iowa tonight, the long year ahead will reveal how history will unfold.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on January 3, 2008 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

frankly0: "If he wins, at bare minimum I predict that we will never have truly universal health care so long as Obama is President."

That's a big "If". The cracker trash down South and in the plains states will in all likelihood not vote for a black man for president. For Sen. Obama to win, he would have to run the same table John Kerry did, and pull down Ohio as well.

Now, it could be done, but let's not kid ourselves about the sheer magnitude of that task. We will need to overcome the ingrained economic and social prejudices of these people, which is a ceiling that Democrats have not been able to crack.

If Obama is our nominee, we're simply going to have to break through that very real and imposing barrier. I would suggest that as a first step, people read What's the Matter with Kansas? by Thomas Frank in order to familiarize themselves with the political turf we'll need to tread upon.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 3, 2008 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

If he wins, at bare minimum I predict that we will never have truly universal health care so long as Obama is President.

No kidding. We sure as hell ain't getting it with Clinton, either.

Posted by: shortstop on January 3, 2008 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

Intrade puts the odds on Obama defeating Clinton at seven to two, and on Huckabee's defeating Romney at seven to three. There is no better evidence as to the outcome, unless it be some other prediction market. Predictions of political outcomes are more reliable than of sports outcomes. Mitt and Hillary should be pretty glum.

Posted by: Sportsman on January 3, 2008 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

and in the plains states

Can you define how you're using this term? The lower Mississippi valley votes very differently than the upper Midwest, for example, yet many people include the latter in the description "plains states." Some people even mistakenly including the mountain west in this category.

Frank's book is great, but I wouldn't want us to miss important regional distinctions through some stereotypical ideas about the "heartland" being a monolithic identity covering everything between the coasts.

Posted by: shortstop on January 3, 2008 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin forgets that the 1984 Iowa caucuses also had a huge effect -- not because of Mondale's "routine" win, but because the chattering classes (forever eager to set up a close fight) immediately helped Gary Hart trumpet the hell out of the fact that he had just barely edged George McGovern out for a very distant second. Until that time very few Americans had even heard of Hart, but there were plenty of Democrats smelling a disaster if Mondale were nominated; and the result was that that extremely distant second-place finish catapulted him ahead of Mondale by a landslide in NH -- and would have given him the nomination if it hadn't been for his bizarrely klutzy behavior first in Georgia and then Illinois.

So, yeah, some ridiculous fingernail-breadth win in Iowa -- or even some suprising order of the also-rans there -- has the potential, thanks to the press, to upset the applecart enormously down the road. The effect would be vastly weakened this time by the fact that the time gap between Iowa and NH has now shrunk to only 5 days, but it's still very definitely there -- however preposterous it may be.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on January 3, 2008 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

For Sen. Obama to win, he would have to run the same table John Kerry did, and pull down Ohio as well.

I suppose I don't see that prospect as very implausible.

Honestly, unless there's something in Obama's past worse than anything we've seen, I think he's most likely to win in 2008 -- as is any of the major Democratic nominees. While I do think he would be likely to do somewhat less well than the others, I think a strong wind is at the back of any Democratic nominee in 2008.

As far as electability goes, my worry about Obama is how well he'd fare in the 2012 election. While that may seem like getting way ahead of the game, it's actually a nice way to focus one's mind on the question of what kind of President Obama would make. Mostly likely, if he's perceived as effective, he will be re-elected; if he's perceived as ineffectual, most likely he won't be.

My fear is that he's going to prove to be another Jimmy Carter - a man who also got a free ride from the press during his campaign as has Obama, then proved to be a ineffectual, tiresome scold when he became President.

In personality and style, there are a lot of similarities between Carter and Obama. The same self-righteousness, the same appeal to some kind of transcendent politics, the same eagerness to utter unpleasant truths to all comers. (Ask yourself, is it hard to imagine Obama, in a politically frustrating scenario, lecturing the American people about our "malaise"?).

I just don't see an Obama Presidency ending well.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 3, 2008 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

Just to be clear on Carter:

I actually think that Carter's being a scold is a positive attribute as ex-President. He is listened often enough to have a good effect, but not so often that he is demoralizing and off-putting.

And God knows, America needs a scold -- just not as President.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 3, 2008 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

Ironic that you should mention Jimmy Carter.

The next president will be a democrat, and if Team Clinton continues to commit gaffes, Obama will win.

Either way, he/she will only get ONE term, and in the aftermath, many comparisons will be drawn to Jimmy Carter.

If Obama wins, it will be chalked up to his inexperience. If Hillary wins, it will destroy the Clinton mystique.

As in 2001, there will also be much discussion about whether or not the recession had already started before the new president took office.

Posted by: Elvis on January 3, 2008 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe we can elect Obama directly as ex-President?

Posted by: frankly0 on January 3, 2008 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

If they can keep the recessionary indicators (that are already obvious to astute market observers) hidden from the general public until early 2009, the public is likely to blame the new president. If not, Team Bush's legacy will take yet another hit, and rightly so.

But Helicopter Ben is keeping the printing presses running full time, so maybe they'll keep it propped up one last time.

Personally, I think the broad indices will put in a right shoulder by March of this year, after which, look out below, because a Kondratiev winter is in the forecast.

Posted by: Elvis on January 3, 2008 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

SA, Do you mean the ship of state is now a mini-van?

I was rather pissed when Star Trek: Voyager premiered. We finally, all those centuries later, got a woman in charge of the bridge, and they named her ship after a freakin' Minivan???

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on January 3, 2008 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

I think Iowa is just as important as most people think. It didn't have to play out that way, but the campaigns have all staked a heavy share of their futures on the caucuses. In an attempt to illustrate why I feel that way, instead of predicting the caucuses I'll to try to predict what happens after the caucuses for each of the 6 most likely scenarios for first, second and third place:

C,E,O -- Obama limps into NH and is probably out, Edwards has probably a 1/4 shot at taking the "anti-Clinton" momentum and turning into a serious showing in NH. If he doesn't, and Clinton wins there by a big margin, the whole thing becomes a coronation.

C,O,E -- Edwards is totally done, Obama goes into NH with probably a 1/3 or smaller chance of winning it. If he loses there, Clinton more or less walks away with the whole thing.

E,C,O -- Obama's support drains to "Clinton-Slayer" Edwards very quickly, though perhaps not quickly enough to give Edwards a win in NH. If he wins NH, odds are very good that he wins overall; if he loses NH, the 2008 primary will start to look a lot like the 2004 primary, with Edwards going into Super Tuesday with enough support to be theoretically viable but not enough to have much of a shot.

E,O,C -- Clinton goes into NH with a 1/5 or smaller chance of winning it. If she does she may be the "comeback girl," but if she doesn't she's done. Edwards/Obama becomes one hell of a fight, and isn't decided until probably late February or even March.

O,C,E -- Edwards is essentially done. Clinton goes into NH with something like a 1/3 shot of winning. If she doesn't, Obama is almost certain to win the whole thing (though after Feb. 5th, of course).

O,E,C -- Clinton is essentially done. Edwards probably has a 1/5 or so shot at NH; assuming he doesn't get it Obama almost walks away with the nomination.

So, IMHO, Edwards basically can't get the nomination without winning Iowa (his organization just isn't good enough in NH to win without a surge, and if he doesn't win IA or NH he's out). Meanwhile, if Edwards doesn't win Iowa, whoever does has probably a 3/4 or better shot at winning NH (an IA win generally leads to a big enough NH bump to ensure that). If the same candidate wins IA and NH, he or she almost certainly gets the nomination.

Of course, it's possible that the early states won't have a significant effect on the Feb. 5 states, but I really doubt it. Primary voters seem to love a winner, and Feb. 5 will essentially be a national TV campaign, which makes early perception and narrative a lot harder to change.

Posted by: Adam on January 3, 2008 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

(Ask yourself, is it hard to imagine Obama, in a politically frustrating scenario, lecturing the American people about our "malaise"?).

Very hard to imagine that. Obama is by nature a very inspiring speaker. That's the one thing you can count on him getting right, even if you don't think he'd do a good job on anything else.


Posted by: bob on January 3, 2008 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

My crystal ball says...

Obama over Edwards & Clinton by 5 to 7 points. Edwards edges Clinton enough to claim second.
Romney, Huckabee, McCain in that order make the cut. Ron Paul beats Thompson.

As long as Clinton isn't running away with the nomination then Obama's and Edward's supporters stay with their candidate and it goes on being a 3-way race. But, Edwards will have to compete in the big states on a shoestring budget, which pressures him to focus on selected states. Wins and delegates get distributed pretty evenly far into the contest.

Posted by: dennisS on January 3, 2008 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

BGRS wrote: "I was rather pissed when Star Trek: Voyager premiered. We finally, all those centuries later, got a woman in charge of the bridge, and they named her ship after a freakin' Minivan???"

Actually the starship Voyager in the fictional Star Trek universe was named after the Voyager 1 space probe, launched in September 1977. Voyager 1 is still operational and transmitting data, 9.6 billion miles from the Sun; it is the most distant human-made object from the Earth. Its trajectory will continue to take it farther and farther from the Solar System, so it is in effect an interstellar spacecraft.

Voyager 1 made important discoveries about Jupiter and Saturn and their moons. It is expected to reach the limits of the solar wind (the heliopause) around 2015 and is expected to have enough power to transmit data until 2020.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 3, 2008 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

Ask yourself, is it hard to imagine Obama, in a politically frustrating scenario, lecturing the American people about our "malaise"?

Yes. (Insert Atrios's catchphrase™ here.)

Posted by: junebug on January 3, 2008 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

Obama is by nature a very inspiring speaker.

It's one thing to deliver an inspiring speech when all you are talking about is as-yet undelivered promises.

It's quite another to find something helpful to say when, say, the economy has gone south under your watch, or some foreign policy problem has come to plague you, or some other political difficulty has arisen. That, you see, is when lecturing the country about its "malaise" may seem much, much more attractive than admitting to any mistakes on one's own part.

If Obama has really confronted mistakes he has made as a politician, and really admitted to them, and taken responsibility for them, it's news to me.

What bothers me most is how eager the man has been to adopt right wing talking points when he's in a political hard spot -- far more so than any other Democratic politician, who are almost very, very careful not to undermine Democratic policies. If Obama's being criticized for not offering up a truly universal health care plan, does he in any way own up to the problem? Why, of course not -- instead he throws the whole progressive health care agenda under the bus.

In general, it shows bad character to behave like this, in my opinion. It shows that he cares more about his narcissistic ambition than he does about the millions of people who might be affected by inadequate access to health care.

I can easily imagine Obama under any strained circumstances lecturing the American people about their own failings rather than accepting his own responsibility for anything bad that might have taken place.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 3, 2008 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

Ron Paul will take third place in Iowa. He might even be a strong third, within single digits of Huckleberry & Slick, who will be nearly neck & neck with one another.

Dems: Obama, Clinton, Edwards

Posted by: Elvis_knows on January 3, 2008 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

Actually the starship Voyager in the fictional Star Trek universe was named after the Voyager 1 space probe, launched in September 1977.

I know. It was a joke.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on January 3, 2008 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

frankly0, I have to disagree with you on Obama's electability. Obama has 51% negatives, higher than Hillary. He also is an effete, preppy, not down-to-earth intellecctual and the antithesis of the average hard-working blue collar guy. He cannot relate to the blue collar guy who hunts, drinks beer, drives a pick-up and belongs to the NRA. There are lots of voters like this - not just in the south - but in places like Maine and important states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia. Obama's natural aloofness and introversion further distances him from connecting to people. He doesn't stand a chance in a general.

Posted by: Chrissy on January 3, 2008 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

bob: "Obama is by nature a very inspiring speaker. That's the one thing you can count on him getting right, even if you don't think he'd do a good job on anything else."

While inspirational rhetorical skills are undoubtedly a great asset for a politician, it will amount to little more without a real willingness to back words with actual deeds.

My reluctance toward Obama's candidacy stems from my own inability to see anything in Sen. Obama's record -- either in the U.S. Senate, his eight years in the Illinois General Assembly, or his failed run in the 2000 democratic primary for the U.S. House -- that offers me some confidence in his ability to be a truly effective leader, other than a documented history of cold, hard political calculation (an attribute which may well be an asset in itself, if he's ever faced with a real crisis).

But if he's the nominee, I'll take it on faith, work hard to see he's elected, and then hope for the best.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 3, 2008 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

(Obama) cannot relate to the blue collar guy who hunts, drinks beer, drives a pick-up and belongs to the NRA. There are lots of voters like this - not just in the south - but in places like Maine and important states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia.

Last I saw, Yosemite Sam wasn't on the ballot. Exactly which Democratic candidate do you think was going to capture this demographic?

Posted by: junebug on January 3, 2008 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

Junebug: Edwards was born and raised blue collar.

Posted by: Chrissy on January 3, 2008 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

Last I saw, Yosemite Sam wasn't on the ballot. Exactly which Democratic candidate do you think was going to capture this demographic
Posted by: junebug on January 3, 2008

Edwards comes closer than the rest. That's why the press had to tar him with the hair cut months ago.

Frankly, Huckabee could capture that demographic in a heartbeat, but since all the smart people are writing him off, Democrats can thank their lucky stars that the blue collar demographic Chrissy is talking about is going to stay home this fall.

Posted by: corpus juris on January 3, 2008 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

I predict that whatever happens in Iowa, that whoever becomes the Republican nominee will be the next President, because the Republicans are going to steal the 2008 election just as they stole the 2000 and 2004 elections.

And it doesn't really matter who wins the Republican nomination, because any of the Republican candidates will do more or less the same thing --namely whatever they are told to do by their owners, America's Ultra-Rich Ruling Class, Inc.

This entire process is a facade to dupe the American people (of whatever political persuasion) into believing that we still have some form of representative government, rather than a corporate dictatorship.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 3, 2008 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

Iowa this year has the potential to end the John Edwards campaign, I think, but I doubt that it has the potential to crown a winner.

And tell me again why 100K politically active people from a relatively insignificant midwestern state together with a mindless media and inept punditry should end anyone's campaign (let alone crown a winner) in a country of 300 million?

Posted by: ckelly on January 3, 2008 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

Iowa won't be quite as important as everyone thinks.

—Kevin Drum

Really? It's hard for me to imagine an outcome that won't be very important -- other than a tie across the board on both the democratic and republican sides.

Oversimplifying somewhat, assume there is at least one point between each candidate in the following series. Forget the margin of error, which of the following, when repeated ad nauseum by the MSM, won't turn out to be "quite as important as everyone thinks"?

Obama, Edwards, Clinton
Obama, Clinton, Edwards
Edwards, Obama, Clinton
Edwards, Clinton, Obama
Clinton, Edwards, Obama
Clinton, Obama, Edwards

Romney, Huckabee, McCain
Romney, McCain, Huckabee
Huckabee, Romney, McCain
Huckabee, McCain, Romney
McCain, Huckabee, Romney
McCain, Romney, Huckabee

To be sure, some are more important than others, but to me every one of the outcomes above could turn out to be "quite as important as everyone thinks."

Posted by: Econobuzz on January 3, 2008 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

ckelly the answer to your question is found with in the phrase " a mindless media and inept punditry."

Tonight the "mindless media and inept punditry" will crown winners." My guess is they are going to name Barack Obama and John McCain winners regardless of the actual outcome. They will try hard to manufacture a Howard Dean Scream. It is about 3:45 Central. The "mindless media and inept punditry" are gathered at some eatery in Des Moines talking about their stories right now. Some have even written them. Producers are lining up talking heads hired to confirm the "official" story line. Whether that official storyline has anything to do with the facts as they unfold tonight has everything to do with how well they have sold you and me on John McCain and Barack Obama up to this point.

I am going to watch the Orange bowl.

Posted by: corpus juris on January 3, 2008 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Edwards was born and raised blue collar.

Understood. But what is it about his career as an attorney, his voting record as a Senator, and his positions as a candidate that makes you think the crowd you depict is going to move towards him? It certainly isn't the beer-drinking, pickup-driving, gun-toting, outdoorsy persona he projects on the campaign trail. Edwards is an excellent candidate for a bunch of reasons, but -- other than the circumstance of his birth -- he has nothing more in common with the folks you're talking about than do the other Democrats. His populist message, I think, speaks directly to a specific (and probably significant) economic subset of the group you describe, but this is a group that pretty regularly votes against their own interests in favor of the antitax/antigovernment positions espoused by groups like Americans for Tax Reform & the NRA. I'd love to think they'd pull the lever for Edwards, but I'm not persuaded their vote is any more likely to go to him that it is any other Democrat.

Posted by: junebug on January 3, 2008 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

dems:obama, clinton, edwards

&

reps: insert old white male here.

Posted by: mestizO on January 3, 2008 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

frankly0: more attractive than admitting to any mistakes on one's own part.

A comment about another candidate not admitting mistakes is rather humorous coming from a Hillary fan like frankly0.

Posted by: bob on January 3, 2008 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

[nothing] that offers me some confidence in his ability to be a truly effective leader, other than a documented history of cold, hard political calculation (an attribute which may well be an asset in itself, if he's ever faced with a real crisis).

I don't disagree--as a Chicagoan, I was calling Obama a charismatic rather than a courageous reformer two years ago when many people here were goggle-eyed about his potential (well, that was one fucking excellent speech)--but had you used feminine pronouns, the above would have described Clinton equally well, perhaps even better. And Edwards deserves some non-love for this particular behavior as well, though to a much smaller extent than the other two.

I fear that many people--this is not directed at you, Donald; I'm speaking generally--are looking in vain for brave and pioneering progressives among the Big Three, the kind of people who should be running our country rather than the kind of people who can mount serious campaigns and, further, can be elected in this country. I fear a lot of post-nomination disappointment and a certain amount of revisionism may come from attributing certain false virtues to the candidates who didn't make it.

Posted by: shortstop on January 3, 2008 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

My reluctance toward Obama's candidacy stems from my own inability to see anything in Sen. Obama's record -- either in the U.S. Senate, his eight years in the Illinois General Assembly, or his failed run in the 2000 democratic primary for the U.S. House -- that offers me some confidence in his ability to be a truly effective leader, other than a documented history of cold, hard political calculation (an attribute which may well be an asset in itself, if he's ever faced with a real crisis).

For myself, I'll take his lack of experience over Hillary's any day. With Hillary I see a candidate who has yet to find herself unable to support a war, or surge, or threat of war from Bush that she could bring herself to vote against. And she's yet to admit what a mistake it was not to see through Bush's "this isn't a vote for war" argument when she voted for the Iraq war. She's yet to admit any mistake of any significance, and I suspect both of these flaws (supporting Bush's warmongering with her votes, and reflexively denying any mistakes) are because she's insecure about potential attacks from the right. I can't blame her, really, since the attacks from the right have been brutal, but as a president would she continue to feel the need to "err on the side of war" to avoid appearing weak? Would she continue to refuse to admit even the smallest of mistakes (like saying Musharrif was a candidate), and much worse, refuse to admit to a big mistake (like the war in Iraq)? Nothing about her handling of any of these things gives me a good feeling about how she'd handle the same sorts of things as President.

Her instincts about health care reform were terrible the first time around, and like I mentioned above, the whole "mandate" thing might make wonkish sense but voters are going to be massively turned off by the way it sounds, so I don't have confidence in her ability to accomplish anything there, either.

I'll be an enthusiastic supporter of either Edwards or Obama. If Hillary gets the nomination I wouldn't send any money or have anything but trepidation about what kind of president she would be, but in the end I'd vote for her if it's a close race in my state because in a lesser-of-two-evils sense she's going to be better than the GOP nominee.

Posted by: bob on January 3, 2008 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

This entire process is a facade to dupe the American people (of whatever political persuasion) into believing that we still have some form of representative government, rather than a corporate dictatorship.

SecularAnimist: if the corporate dictatorial conspiracy is that far along, why not just co-opt the Democratic party and let them win? Wouldn't that be a more effective way to "dupe" the American people, by making the mirage of a competitive democracy more compelling?

Posted by: Jasper on January 3, 2008 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

His populist message, I think, speaks directly to a specific (and probably significant) economic subset of the group you describe, but this is a group that pretty regularly votes against their own interests in favor of the antitax/antigovernment positions espoused by groups like Americans for Tax Reform & the NRA. I'd love to think they'd pull the lever for Edwards, but I'm not persuaded their vote is any more likely to go to him that it is any other Democrat.

This is right on, junebug, and I'd add that Edwards' populist message ironically resonates much more strongly with slightly better-heeled liberal voters who don't vote against their own interests but would have far less to lose than the voters Chrissy describes if they did. To assume that Edwards' blue-collar upbringing is prominent in the way he's perceived by the "blue-collar guy who hunts, drinks beer, drives a pickup and belongs to the NRA" is largely wishful thinking not borne out by data.

Posted by: shortstop on January 3, 2008 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

That must have been fake Al above: too many big words, including "Democratic".

Posted by: Kenji on January 3, 2008 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

Since all our tries are entirely objective, but also entirely different from one another...

Edwards 100%

everybody else can go home!

Posted by: MarkH on January 3, 2008 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

I refer you to my short piece, "On the predictive properties of the Iowa & NH primaries."

The skinny is that while neither of them are particularly predictive by themselves, they're pretty powerful taken together.

Looking at only those years and parties (from 1976 on) where the nomination was seriously contested (ignoring, e.g. the 2004 GOP, the 1996 Dems, and even the 1992 GOP, which wasn't very contested):

1) Candidates winning both are 5-for-5 in winning their party's nomination.

2) Candidates winning neither are 1-for-12.

The exception was the Dems in 1992, which was flukey because Iowa wasn't contested that year, but rather given to Harkin. So there effectively wasn't the opportunity for Iowa and NH to do a double elimination on Clinton.

Of course, patterns on small data sets are made to be broken. Just because they've worked so far, doesn't mean they'll keep working. But that's the pattern.

I think the real lesson is that, barring unusual circumstances, you've got to win one or the other to be in play for your party's nomination. On the GOP side, if the Iowa and NH winners are Huck and Mitt, Huck and McCain, Mitt and McCain, or Mitt and Mitt, then that's effectively the field the rest of the way.

That might not be true on the Dem side, if only because both Hillary and Obama have raised tremendous piles of money, and money tends to keep you in the game. If Hillary wins both, or Obama wins both, that's game. If Edwards wins both, maybe not. If it's a split verdict and Edwards is the odd man out, he's dead. If it's a split decision and Hillary or Obama goes 0-for-2, maybe not.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on January 3, 2008 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

Obama with a small win over Edwards,
Clinton crushes both in NH but Obama survives long enough to fight for SC/Nevada but then it's over.

Posted by: MNPundit on January 3, 2008 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

... I'd add that Edwards' populist message ironically resonates much more strongly with slightly better-heeled liberal voters who don't vote against their own interests...

I can't claim to be better-heeled, shortstop, but his message definitely resonates with me, so I'm really discouraged (with Edwards or with my own shortsightedness?) about the public financing issue and what it says about his longer-term viability. (I also find myself a little nervous about insipid rumors, which I'd love to dismiss out of hand, but then we've all been down that road a couple/few times already. I'd absolutely hate to get burned in the general -- especially with the junior varsity that the Republicans have going this time around.)

Posted by: junebug on January 3, 2008 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

Shortstop and Junebug: Perception is important. The demographic that has voted against their own interests has only done so because we have put up elitist candidates who don't get their lives and how to reach them. The Republicans have understood the importance of this demographic and basically tricked them. They tricked them by posing Reagan as a "regular blue collar guy". They tricked them with W, and his phony ranch and buzzsaw and hick accent. With a candidate like Edwards they just can't. That is why they are scared. That is why they are trying to convince people that Edwards is not one of them. The people the Republicans have tricked into voting against their own interests have either been screwed by insurance companies and big employers or they know someone who has and the candidacy of someone like Edwards who speaks directly and simply to their concerns is enormously threatening to the Republican party. This is a game of chess where you take as many pieces (voters) from the other side as you can. You don't sit there and say those pieces aren't worth bothering with or you lose. Again.

Posted by: Chrissy on January 3, 2008 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

Agreed on the nervousness and the reasons for it, junebug, and by "slightly better-heeled," I simply meant "better off financially than many or most of the voters Chrissy was referring to but still plenty capable of getting economically smacked by Republican policies."

Chrissy: That is why they are trying to convince people that Edwards is not one of them.

With the group you're talking about, they appear to have succeeded.

Look, no one here has said or even implied that "those pieces aren't worth bothering with." What we're saying is that we'd like to see your evidence that the perception of Edwards among the demographic you're discussing is--not ought to be; is--more positive than that of any Republican. Really, it'd be great news and I'd love to see it--just tell us what has led you to this conclusion.

Posted by: shortstop on January 3, 2008 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop: Evidence? Check Rasmussen. Edwards beats all Republicans. The only Dem who does. Also CNN poll tracks the same. Although I know polls are not as important as the poll you take when you talk to people around you. In my case a red state. Edwards will leave Republican party DOA on election day '08.

Posted by: Chrissy on January 3, 2008 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

Evidence? Check Rasmussen. Edwards beats all Republicans. The only Dem who does.

The only Dem who does, or the only Dem who does in that poll? According to Zogby & NBC (scroll to the bottom), Obama does better against Republicans than his competitors. But this is beside the point. None of these polls has anything to say about Edwards doing better than any others among the Yosemite Sam demographic you mentioned originally. Where are you getting your evidence?

Posted by: junebug on January 3, 2008 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

Junebug: Zogby relies on online polling. Questionable. Also an Obama supporter. I question his data. NBC did not include Edwards. Only HRC and BO. Besides, as the daughter of a statistician/social scientist mom, I've been raised to doubt some polls and trust the feedback from people you know. Just as valid.

Posted by: Chrissy on January 3, 2008 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

If Kevin thinks chaos is going to happen, then there's only way that chaos will occur, a strong showing by Ron Paul tonight.

Posted by: Sean Scallon on January 3, 2008 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

I predict that whatever happens in Iowa, that whoever becomes the Republican nominee will be the next President, because the Republicans are going to steal the 2008 election just as they stole the 2000 and 2004 elections.

Thank you! Just when you thought liberals weren't up on what's really going on, SA comes along and says it. Except we don't need to steal the election--we'll just win the popular vote and the electoral vote. Liberals will deny reality and claim we stole it, but that's okay. No one likes a sad sack.

And it doesn't really matter who wins the Republican nomination, because any of the Republican candidates will do more or less the same thing --namely whatever they are told to do by their owners, America's Ultra-Rich Ruling Class, Inc.

Ka-ching! Yes, the business of America is business, and whoever gets the nomination and then wins will take care of the business class in this country. If it's an election year, regardless of what year it is, then somewhere, in this country, a politician is spouting populist lies and then going into a back room to cut deals with the people who make things work in this country. Kudos to SA for figuring this out. It probably only took her about fifty years to figure out how the country really works. And the way it works is this--if you're in business, and you're making money, and you're part of the actual productive class in this country, you get taken care of. If you're a layabout and a burnout, lying on a couch and complaining about things and you have no money in your pocket, guess what, hillbilly? No one cares what you think! That's what makes America the Beautiful.

This entire process is a facade to dupe the American people (of whatever political persuasion) into believing that we still have some form of representative government, rather than a corporate dictatorship.

Ah, but we didn't fool you, did we SA? No, because you're too smart. Except you've done nothing but whine about the so-called problem. You bitch and complain and nothing is achieved. I guess you're a liberal, sister.

Really, kids. Where do you find such morose losers? Do you think you can win an election by listening to such a downer.

Hold on...have to find my handgun...nothing matters and what if it did...time to end it all...oh, I can't take it anymore...there's nothing worth living for...everything is madness...no one is listening to me...oh, the humanity of it all...sometimes I wish I didn't know so much about the world...oh, goodbye cruel...

Nah. I think I'll enjoy a wintry evening and settle in with a nice glass of wine. Enjoy, kids! Your future awaits.

It's an endless bummer...

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 3, 2008 at 8:26 PM | PERMALINK

Junebug: Zogby relies on online polling. Questionable.

The Zogby poll referred to was conducted by phone, as it indicates at the top of the page.

Also an Obama supporter. I question his data.

So he rigged it?

Besides, as the daughter of a statistician/social scientist mom, I've been raised to doubt some polls and trust the feedback from people you know. Just as valid.

I don't know what statistician or social scientist is going to tell you to disregard a scientifically conducted poll in favor of anecdotes, but it's kind of funny that you don't seem to have any doubts about the Rasmussen poll which confirms your hopes.

Posted by: junebug on January 3, 2008 at 8:28 PM | PERMALINK

Do people think it matters if Edwards loses if the votes are close?

Posted by: denise on January 3, 2008 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

Okay, Chrissy, you love the Rasmussen poll because it backs up your wishes, hate the others which don't, and think anecdotes trump all polls, um, but not necessarily Rasmussen, and not, presumably, when those anecdotes consist of members of the demographic we've been discussing calling John Edwards a big phony overeducated overpaid trial lawyer with girly hair.

Can you please present your evidence that Edwards is beating Republicans among that demographic? Come on, work with us here.

Posted by: shortstop on January 3, 2008 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

"My predictions. On the Republican side Mitt Romney will come in first, Huckabee will come in second. For third, I suspect Rudy will come in third."

Yes sir, Al is the kind of great analyst you'd want to hire for your campaign team!

Posted by: Speed on January 3, 2008 at 9:17 PM | PERMALINK

Shortstop: quit being the schoolmarm and hall monitor around here. Nobody appointed you. I gave you the evidence. Accept it or not. There are as many bogus polls as there are bogus and biased people. No one really cares. And Junebug, go into hibernation sister.

Posted by: Chrissy on January 3, 2008 at 9:22 PM | PERMALINK

Henry made a good pick at 12:46 PM with Huckabee at 36%.

Posted by: Speed on January 3, 2008 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

The Chrissassity of Hope, calm down, sister. No one's being unreasonable by asking for a something a little more credible than your fondest hope, your gut feel or a tarot reading. If you can't support your own statements, no reason to lash out at everyone else.

Posted by: shortstop on January 3, 2008 at 9:36 PM | PERMALINK

Somewhere, "Up with People" is missing a baton twirler with a great smile named Chrissy.

Chrissy, I'd like you to meet Secular Animist. Secular Animist, I'd like you to meet Chrissy.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 3, 2008 at 9:50 PM | PERMALINK

And Junebug, go into hibernation sister.

Sister?

Posted by: junebug on January 3, 2008 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

Um, Junebug ...

Edwards has consistently polled better against the republicans than Clinton in a general election matchup. He is also viewed as less liberal than Clinton by the general electorate. God knows why, but it's the truth.

Posted by: Adam on January 3, 2008 at 10:43 PM | PERMALINK

I don't doubt either point, Adam.

Posted by: junebug on January 3, 2008 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

Those points weren't in contention, Adam. See Chrissy's statement at 4:18 and junebug's responses at 4:26 and 4:50 to find out what was.

Posted by: shortstop on January 3, 2008 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

Sportsman should win the prize, whatever it is. He made the most accurate prediction.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on January 4, 2008 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

I am a Democrat. I hate Bush’s presidency. I hated the war in Iraq before we were involved and continue to. I think we are in deep sheet politically and economically due to the money wasted on this war. I believe we need a President who can get us out of it. I am not going to vote Democrat if Obama gets the nomination. Depending on the Republican nominee, I might vote Republican - because he could be less evil then Obama.

Change is a beautiful word that sounded very seductive when used by Obama, especially today considering the sheet that we are in. Without change, mankind would stand still. However it is only a seductive word at the moment. What we need right now is somebody who can and knows how to navigate us out of where we are and Obama is not this person. There were political leaders before that wanted change, but what they achieved was destruction - like in Russia &Iraq. Not all changes are good and it is extremely important when, where and how changes are implemented!
What is Obama’s position today in Kenya?

Posted by: an on January 6, 2008 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

Er, Kevin: there's a great future for you in meteorological forecasting. Weathermen get it spectacularly wrong all the time, too. And nobody ever says a word.

No downside to the soothsaying game, evidently.

Posted by: Hart Williams on January 7, 2008 at 9:34 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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