Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Predicting New Hampshire

On Thursday, I posted my prediction for the Iowa Caucus. Today, we are four weeks away from New Hampshire so I will try to do the same there, though it is more difficult to do so because the results will depend a lot on Iowa.

On the Republican side, I think it is a bit easier to predict. Back in September, I predicted something that was viewed as very unlikely then and is still considered unlikely: John McCain will win the Republican nomination for president. I still believe that that will be the case. The road map for doing so is a bit different than I mused at the time, however.

In September I said that McCain would finish first or second in Iowa. I presently have predicted that he will finish sixth. My earlier prediction was grounded in my view that Thompson would fizzle (which he did), that Giuliani has a ceiling around 15% (which he seems to have) and that Romney would slip (which he has). Thus, I assumed McCain would be able to pick up ground from all of these areas and become competitive with Romney. I failed to predict the rise of Mike Huckabee, however, which throws any shot for McCain out the window. Notwithstanding that, a loss for Romney, or a hollow victory over a surging Huckabee (which I've predicted) will wound Romney severely and still allow McCain to win New Hampshire.

So my prediction for New Hampshire would be: McCain, Romney, Huckabee, Giuliani, Paul, Thompson. I suspect Hunter, and possibly Tancredo, will withdraw the night of the Iowa Caucus and if they don't their numbers will be in the 1% range anyway. Huckabee and Giuliani will finish very close to each other and I consider them within the margin of error of my prediction so it could go: McCain, Romney, Giuliani, Huckabee, Paul, Thompson. This all depends on how much press momentum Huckabee gets out of his Iowa strength. Ordinarily I would think a lot, but based on the expectation that he will do well there a month out, he will not get as big of a bump. I think the Republican results in New Hampshire, like in Iowa, will mirror the breakdown of the Democrats from 2004. In that instance, Kerry beat Dean, but they were relatively close, and Clark, Edwards and Lieberman were clumped together in, essentially, a tie for third. I see Giuliani, Huckabee and Paul all in the 8-15% range with McCain near 40 and Romney in the 20s.

On the Democratic side, if my Iowa prediction holds, I believe Obama will suffer a complete meltdown. A third place finish in Iowa would be a disaster for him. Unlike Howard Dean, who governed a neighbouring state for over a decade and began his campaign with a focus on New Hampshire while virtually ignoring Iowa, Obama has no New Hampshire roots and has always played both here and in Iowa. Clinton, I think, could sustain a second place finish to Edwards in Iowa and still win New Hampshire. I would presume that a fifth place finish for Richardson would cause him to withdraw, and Dodd has all but said he is betting the farm on Iowa where he will get 1 or 2%, so I suspect he's out too.

So my prediction for the Democrats, relying highly on the results in Iowa going as I've projected, would be: Clinton, Edwards, Obama, Biden, Gravel, Kucinich. Depending on the strength of Obama's meltdown and if Joe Biden's fourth place finish in Iowa is strong, i.e. competitive with Obama, he could surge and place second or more likely third in New Hampshire and, in turn, be very competitive in Nevada where last year's Senate candidate (Jack Carter, son of Jimmy) is backing him, which would, in turn, make him competitive in South Carolina as the most moderate Democrat in the race. That is mostly wishful thinking on my part considering my affection for Biden as a candidate, but worth considering.


nbt said...

A perfect scenerio for Clinton since Biden has been a shield for her campaign (and will continue to be).

btw, the above comment hit 7 out of ten on the sheer speculative measure. lol

nbt said...

Oh btw, I'm sticking with the scenerio I wrote on your blog in Sept. regarding the Democrats as Oprah's endorsement came too late for Obama for him to make a serious national surge. Also, Edwards revealed on PBS that he does have a deal with the Obama camp. Whether he [Obama] follows through remain to be seen. Anyway, repoasting from a few months ago:

Not that I endorse any of the candidates, but I see this one coming down to a very bitter battle between Hillary and Edwards after NH.

Like all successful democrats before him in the last four decades, Edwards will try to convince southern voters that he is more electable than his opponent --- Hillary.

So far he has run his campaign in a stealth-like, cautionary mode wherein he has positioned himself as the quiet third option in hopes that Obama's train will ultimately derail.

On the other hand, Hillary is banking on a few huge victories early so that delegates from other camps don't have a reason to mobilize. If they do, she could be in trouble because there are a lot of delegates out there who don't have her as their second choice.

Should be interesting. Oh, for the record, I think your guy is working with Hillary. They seem to team up very nicely in debates. I wouldn't be surprised to see him release his delegates to Hillary after he pulls out. Not a big deal since i don't think he was ever in it to win it. Furthermore, I think he would be much more comfortable and effective in the role of Secretary of State.

Which, btw, will be a very challenging gig no matter what party enters the whitehouse after November 08.

nbpolitico said...

I agree with your analysis. It seems to me it will be Clinton and Edwards and that Obama's campaign is all hype and great on paper but not so much in practice, just like Howard Dean.

Biden could prove to be a sleeper though, which is certainly not something I had expected.

McGuire said...

McCain's hopes rest on Hillary winning Iowa. If Obama, who IMO reminds me an awful of McCain in 2000, wins in Iowa, those indies in NH will go & rally behind him. McCain needs them to have any shot in NH.

Mushroom said...


McCain needs a Huckabee win in Iowa to weaken Romney. For Romney and Clinton, New Hampshire is a firewall. They need to win there or their reputation as a frontrunner goes in flames.

nbpolitico said...

mcguire - I am not so sure about that. McCain did win huge among independents in 2000, but he also won among Republicans, though by a narrower margin. I suspect that indepedents in this cycle would be just as likely to go for Giuliani as McCain.

mushroom - Indeed, Romney's momentum needs to be muted in Iowa to help McCain win in New Hampshire, I think a strong showing by Huckabee (and maybe Thompson as well) does this as much as a Romney loss would.

Rob said...

As an aside, the Iowa Electronic Markets have seen
traders selling Clinton and buying Obama. Clinton futures are at their lowest point since July.

The Republican nomination market is much more volatile.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your NB analysis. Should Mike Murphy not resign? He did screw up left and right.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post! Disheartening, but excellent. While I would love nothing more than to see Obama win (like Dean in 2004), I feel this will be a carbon copy in many respects from four years ago. The difference, of course, being that in the summer of 2003, Kerry seemed all but dead and Dean was "it". I think Edwards wins Iowa, followed closely by Hillary. Obama comes in a dissapointing third (like Dean). They move to New Hampshire where Hillary wins solidly. She steamrolls to the nomination.
On the Repub side? Who knows. I do know that Romney will do worse in Iowa then expected. Won't matter too much. He'll win New Hampshire. From there? Who knows who gets nomination. My first guess is Huckabee.

How I want Iowa/New Hampshire to go:

a whole bunch of other people
dead last (including behind write-in votes for Mickey Mouse): Hillary R. Clinton