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Thursday, January 03, 2008


GOP Iowa caucus predictions: Fred's dead, Huck fin

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, January 03, 2008 permalink View blog reactions
Fred's dead, baby. His own campaign is sending signals of defeat before the caucus has even started.

DES MOINES, Iowa – Several Republican officials close to Fred Thompson’s presidential campaign said they expect the candidate will drop out of the race within days if he finishes poorly in Thursday’s Iowa caucus.
Thompson’s departure could shake up the race more than his continued presence. Friends and advisers said they have long considered it likely that if the lobbyist-actor is forced from the race he would endorse John McCain his former Senate colleague who lately has been staging a political revival in New Hampshire.

I think the conventional wisdom is that Huck will take first and Romney second. However, given the depressed turnout for Republicans, it's really about ground game and organization, and a candidate who doesnt necessarily poll well might walk away with the prize. Both Huckabee and Romney are heavily counting on their field operation to turn out their respective bases, in Huckabee's case the evangelical vote and in Romney's case the GOP establishment (and anyone-but-Huck).

What if Ron Paul pulls it off?

A scenario for Ron Paul to win would be that the conventional GOP base is depressed, undermining Huckabee and Romney. However, an influx of first-time caucus goers, especially youth, could potentially counterbalance that. Keep in mind that both Huckabee and Romney have to fight for their "market share" among the traditional three wings of the GOP coalition, whereas only Paul has been widening the tent and drawing appeal from beyond the tight confines of the GOP fiefdoms.

I'm going to prepare my crow pie for tomorrow morning and go out on a shaky limb to predict that 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.

If Huckabee places third in Iowa, it's over. And let's not even bother with Fred anymore.

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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.