Thursday, January 03, 2008

Reaction to the Iowa caucus results

Right now I have results from 97% of Democratic precincts and 85% of Republican precincts reporting according to CNN. Here's my reaction to the election results starting from the biggest winners and working down the list, starting with Republicans first.
  • Mike Huckabee 34%: The hype and obsession with polling data coming from the mainstream media tends to obscure the fact that presidential candidates try to pick their moment to "surge" their support going into an election. According to a Republican tracking poll, Mike Huckabee (either by intention or accident) managed to pull off his surge around the last week of November. So the big question going into the caucuses was whether the Huckabee surge would last, or whether his support would drop off too soon. Right now, it looks like his surge has held up, but for all we know, someone else will time their surge for this week to stampede the voting into a New Hampshire win. I'm not going to assume that Huckabee will win the New Hampshire primary because of Iowa.


  • Mitt Romney 25%: Romney poured money by the bushel into Iowa and came up in second place. The mainstream media will be trying to spin this as a loss for Romney, which is baloney. Romney isn't out of this race by any means.


  • Fred Thompson 13%: My suspicion is that Fred Thompson is just a "stalking horse" to keep the McCain candidacy alive. So while his third place showing isn't particularly exciting, I'm not expecting him to give up anytime soon.


  • John McCain 13%: Gee, would staying in the race after finishing tied for third place in Iowa help or hurt the Republicans? It would probably hurt them at this point, so don't expect McCain to give up on 2008 either (remember my Fred Thompson conspiracy theory also).


  • Ron Paul 10%: This is pretty good for a candidate coming from the third-party fringe. The irrational enthusiasm for Ron Paul filtering through the mainstream media makes me suspect that a lot of his campaign cash is being donated by liberal Democrats hoping to cripple the Republicans by promoting a Paul-led splinter party.


  • Rudy Giuliani 4%: He wasn't going to contend Iowa. Mission accomplished. The big question is whether a Giuliani surge is going to hit sometime before the next big primary date of February 5.


  • Duncan Hunter 1%: I think its clear that Duncan Hunter will be a recipient of the Election 2008 home game this year.


  • Barack Obama 38%: Great job, Obama! Anything that disproves the Doctrine of Clintonian Infallibility is a well-earned success. Of course, the real test of a Democratic candidate is whether the Democratic establishment can turn you into a "Howard Dean" between today and the New Hampshire primary. If anybody can nail Obama to the wall in the moment of triumph, it's the Clintons.


  • John Edwards 30%: I used to think of Edwards as an "empty suit", but after inching into second place ahead of Hilary Clinton, I think he's earned some respect.


  • Hillary Clinton 29%: The grinding and gnashing of teeth going on in Clinton's Iowa headquarters is audible from California. Look for revenge hits on Obama coming this Friday and Sunday to try to damage Obama's support going into the New Hampshire primary next Tuesday.


  • Chris Dodd and Joe Biden: The first knockouts in the post-Iowa Democratic field. Honor in contention has been satisfied by making it to Iowa.


  • The rest of the Democratic field: It looks like these candidates didn't meet the test of 15% support for "viability", so we can'd draw any detailed conclusions here. Obviously being non-viable is an inherently bad thing to be at this point.

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