13 Days Out: The State of The Race

The very important Iowa caucuses are 13 days away which will mark the mad dash to nominate the candidates. Chris Cilizza has a nice rundown.

If you believe in polls, RCP and pollster.com do a good job of summarizing the polling. In Iowa, the polls show Obama in a virtual tie with Clinton with Edwards further back. However, polling Iowa is especially tricky because of the caucusing format and the 15% thresholds per precinct (an incredibly undemocratic provision by the way.) Because of all this, it is safe to say that no one really knows who is going to win Iowa among the top 3. I think Obama wins narrowly with Clinton 2nd and a fading Edwards 3rd. It becomes a new ballgame after that with a real race between Clinton and Obama. New Hampshire will be wild.

Among the GOP, Huckabee has moved into a solid lead in Iowa and since there are no 15% thresholds for the GOP in Iowa, this seems to be a likely result. But Huckabee has money problems and a lot of resistance from the Establishment GOP. Like Cilizza, I still see Romney as the favorite for the GOP nomination. More.

Cilizza writes:

no one currently has more paths to the nomination than Romney. He can win a short fight -- victories in a series of early states -- or a prolonged battle -- a delegate fight through Feb. 5. No other candidate can say the same. While many political insiders have grown weary of Romney's relentless optimism, voters haven't.

I think that is right. Cilizza is wrong though, in my view to continue to see Rudy as the #2 in the GOP race. Rudy is toast. He can't win a primary for a month. He has been caught in the national polls and in Florida. There is no path for Rudy to win this. In essence he has no positive story for a month before the Mega Primary day on February 5. He has no money advantage on Romney who can pour tens of millions of his own money into the race.

McCain is making a comeback but his lack of money makes it impossible or me to see how he wins.

So my bottom line - Hillary slight favorite to win the Dem nod. Romey a solid favorite to win the GOP nod.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Please clarify: (none / 0) (#1)
    by oculus on Fri Dec 21, 2007 at 10:48:54 AM EST
    the 15% thresholds per precinct

    Supporter of candidates (none / 0) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Dec 21, 2007 at 11:02:53 AM EST
    in a precinct who do not garner 15% of the support in that precinct are required to choose a candidate who DOES have 15% support.

    Hence, the reptitious references to "second choices" in Iowa discussions.


    My brother confirmed the caucus (none / 0) (#4)
    by oculus on Fri Dec 21, 2007 at 11:13:36 AM EST
    system was in place in Iowa when we were going to high school there.  Not much publicity though.  Given how nasty the weather could be in Iowa in early Jan., and the fact college students probably have to vote in the precients where they are registered, no wonder Hillary Clinton is visiting all 50 counties by helicopter.  What a crap shoot.

    Note to self: read up on (none / 0) (#8)
    by oculus on Fri Dec 21, 2007 at 11:42:23 AM EST
    caucus procedure.  Is it one vote per precinct s at the end of the night?  

    One delegate you mean? (none / 0) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Dec 21, 2007 at 11:47:44 AM EST
    No. Everyone who reaches 15% gets a delegate at least from the precinct.

    Not surehow many per precict.

    But what will REALLY infuriate you is that the results of Iowa are not reported on a per vote basis but on a percentage of delegates basis.


    Yep (none / 0) (#10)
    by BDB on Fri Dec 21, 2007 at 12:37:46 PM EST
    So the candidate who has the most voters could still, in theory, be reported to have come in third in Iowa.

    The fact that Iowa has such a disproportionate effect on the selection of the nominee is ridiculous.  

    There some talk about reforming the primary schedule at the convention - that should be a priority for all Democrats.  Even if your candidate ends up winning under this system, it's still a ridiculous system, one that isn't at all designed to select the democrat with the most popular support or who could win in November 2008.


    I dislike caucuses in general (none / 0) (#3)
    by andgarden on Fri Dec 21, 2007 at 11:11:55 AM EST
    It seems to me that elections are superior, and ought to be decided by secret ballot.

    Certainly (none / 0) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Dec 21, 2007 at 11:16:04 AM EST
    but the 15% threshhold is outrageously undemocratic.

    Undemocratic Is Right (none / 0) (#11)
    by BDB on Fri Dec 21, 2007 at 12:45:25 PM EST
    Not only is there the viability issue.  But also, as noted above, your total vote statewide doesn't matter.  You could have the most people for you and come in third in delegates.  Plus, delegates are distributed unevenly throughout the state so rural areas are disproportionately represented.

    I honestly feel bad for all of the campaigns.  They have worked their asses off and all three of the leading candidates are still extremely competitive.  They clearly are about equal among Iowa Democrats.  The idea that one of them will be crowned the "winner" based on these rules is ridiculous.  Moreover, none of them really know if all their work will pay off and even if it does in the classic political sense and you've gotten the most people to caucus for you, you could still not be declared the "winner."  

    I understand that whoever wins Iowa will trumpet as some great accomplishment, and I'm sure it means something, but it shouldn't be the end of any of the three leading candidates campaigns.  They all deserve to stay in the hunt after Iowa because they clearly have about even support there.  


    But it is soooo boring living in (none / 0) (#6)
    by oculus on Fri Dec 21, 2007 at 11:16:40 AM EST
    Iowa.  Any excuse for a party.

    Best scenario: (none / 0) (#7)
    by oculus on Fri Dec 21, 2007 at 11:19:08 AM EST
    all registered voters nationwide vote by mail on the same day.  No cross-over voting.

    you know (none / 0) (#12)
    by taylormattd on Sat Dec 22, 2007 at 12:11:07 AM EST
    I realize Edwards has tapered off a bit over the last couple of months, but for some reason I have a feeling he might win Iowa.

    He seems to perform strongly in the second choice in most of the polls, and then there is his alleged vaunted ground game.

    Of course, I heard Dean's ground game was good too.