Friday, January 04, 2008

Iowa reaction, New Hampshire do-over

Four weeks and a day ago, I made some Iowa predictions which I largely reaffirmed yesterday. Like most predictions I make, they were a ways off of the mark!

Twenty-four days ago, I made my New Hampshire predictions with the caveat that they were routed in my Iowa predictions being accurate. Now I will give you a bit of a post-mortem on my thoughts on Iowa and then revisit predictions for New Hampshire.

Today, as I predicted, the fifth and sixth place finishers in Iowa have dropped out, however I didn't have the fifth one predicted correctly. Despite my high hopes, Joe Biden failed to get traction and won about 1% of the delegates to county conventions. I think he, and the other lower-tier candidates, were swamped by the massive turnout. In 2004, turnout for the Democrats was a record 140,000. Last night that record was obliterated with 240,000. This made reaching the 15% viability threshold much more difficult. As I explained yesterday, if you get 14% in a caucus, you actually get 0 while if you get 15%, you get 15%. Assuming uniform increases in turnout, if you pulled 15 people to a 2004 meeting with 100 attendees, you would have been viable. In 2008, that same meeting would have swollen to 170 attendees and 26 supporters would have been required to be viable. I wonder in how many cases Biden and others missed viability by just a hair due to higher turnouts?

Anyway, on to the big fish. Barack Obama surprised the hell out of me with a big win. Kudos to his team who have huge bragging rights today. On the Republican side, Huckabee had faith in the faithful and that paid for him in spades, the Republican race also set new records for turnout, largely driven by high numbers of evangelical Christians. Romney's loss by a large margin there spells big trouble for his campaign in my view.

Giuliani's numbers need to be given attention. He campaigned in Iowa with about the same effort as John McCain, one might argue even a bit harder than McCain, yet McCain beat him there by a margin of four-to-one. If you look at a chart of poll averages all year, Giuliani was always in third or better until mid-December yet on January third he finished a distant sixth.

On to New Hampshire

On the Republican side, my prediction changes, but only by small shifts. McCain will still win by a large margin. However, I now believe that Huckabee, tied for third in most polls here already, will surge to a virtual tie for second by edging Romney out slightly in the high teens. Giuliani's disasterous showing in Iowa will make it a tough fight for him for fourth with Paul. As I predicted earlier, I imagine Hunter will drop out or at least be totally irrelevant. Thompson will be going directly to South Carolina without passing go, totally ignoring New Hampshire and probably Michigan and Nevada. His numbers in New Hampshire will reflect that.

So my Republican prediction would be:

McCain 40%
Huckabee 18%
Romney 17%
Paul 11%
Giuliani 10%
Thompson 3%

Watch for Romney to start running hard today in Michigan in terms of money and advertising. He learned last night that money can't buy a small state like Iowa and that is why he will be badly beaten in New Hampshire as well. Michigan, his home state where his father was a popular governor, will be where he takes his last stand on January 15. His hope will be that, despite McCain's win there in 2000, his name recognition and his ability to spend infinity dollars on television advertisements there will allow him to eke out a win and get back into the game. If Romney can't win New Hampshire or Michigan, he will have no option but to drop out.


The Democratic race is also very interesting. I have never given Barack Obama much of a chance in this race. I must now retract that; he is a very serious player for the nomination. Clinton must win or virtually win New Hampshire now in order to survive in my view. If she trails Obama by substantially less than the 9% she lost by in Iowa, she can channel her husband's claim to a comeback and maybe recover. However, if she loses by a similar or greater margin, I would say it is all over but the crying.

In recent polls, Obama and Clinton have been close in New Hampshire and he has even led in some, and this is without the surge that will come from last night's victory. New Hampshire's debate on Saturday will be critical for her.

However, I think that she is in a lot of trouble. Couple that with the Democratic history of never electing its frontrunners and I predict the following for New Hamphire.

Obama 43%
Clinton 27%
Edwards 25%
Richardson 3%
Kucinich 2%


Anonymous said...

Good one. However, I think McCain will not quite make it to 40%.

Léo Bourdon said...

Clinton trailing by 16% in NH? I don't think so... Democrats over there love Bill. She might not overcome the Obama bandwaggon, but I'd be surprise if she trails more than in Iowa.

Mushroom said...

It could be that bad. Hillary's concession speech in Iowa was dry and uninspiring. Obama, meanwhile, seized the initiative and gave one that reminds people of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy!!!!

Steve V said...


Romney in third? I'm not sure he falls that hard here. Polling suggests about 60% of independents plan to vote in the Democratic primary, it may even be more now with Obama's victory, and his appeal to indies. McCain needs independents too, so your margins might be high.

Today's Zogby poll has McCain up by 4 points, the Suffolk poll actually has Romney rebounding, back out front by 4 points. Of course, this all before Iowa is factored in. I predict NH will still be a battle, with McCain winning by a closer margin. Saturday's debates will be a real key.

nbt said...

Agreed. Although, I don't see where Huckabee can go from here without any $$$. His message is too one dimensional. Plus, the republican establishment don't even seem to like it.

In other words, how does one win a nomination with just the support of evangelicals and without the support of a vast majority of republicans?? He's done.

nbt said...

On the Republican side, looks like McCain isn't backing away from his anti-isolationist stance.

Geez, I've heard of nation building, but...

...100 years??

This will get some play in NH. Believe me.

nbpolitico said...

Leo - Obama was tied with her before she finished THIRD in Iowa. People love Bill, not her, and I don't think her support will hold.

Steve - People make a big deal about McCain and independents but New Hampshire independents are strongly anti-war and no longer side with McCain who has taken it on as his issue. In 2000, McCain won huge among independents but he also won among registered Republicans in NH and that was against a clear establishment candidate. Nobody likes Romney, they have been supporting him as a combination of the lesser of two evils and because he has spent so much on advertising that they know all kinds of positive things about him. Romney has been positioning himself to the right to win among Christian conservatives thinking that this was a race between him, McCain and Giuliani. With Huckabee in, that support he had been holding is gone and the rest will soon slip away, I predict.

NBT - I think Huckabee will soon find that money. He has raised $400,000 so far today. But, I don't think he will win the nomination, I think McCain will. As I have predicted since September.

McGuire said...

I'd love it if Huck would come number 2, but as I point out on my post on the primary tonite it likely won't happen. As well I would love to see Romney get blown out but it's gonna be close. If it wasn't it'd be game over for him.