December 28, 2007

Political Season's Iowa Caucus Prediction

With five days to go to the Iowa Caucus, Political Season is going to stake our claim as political prognosticators par excellence and make our predictions now on how the Iowa Caucus results will shake out.


Our Prediction: Hillary Clinton will squeak out a narrow win in the Iowa Caucus.

We believe it will shake out Clinton, Obama, Edwards and then the rest of the field.

Our rationale: Based on polling data at Real Clear Politics Clinton is leading in the polls and if I'm reading their data right, the trending seems to be favoring her at least through 12/13/07. The results are within the margin of error currently, but if the trending is right, it may be breaking back Hillary's way. Furthermore, Obama is facing a serious challenge from Edwards, who appears to be making a surge and his numbers are drawing him closer to Obama. In our view, Edwards does not have a real shot at the nomination long term, both from an electability standpoint and a resource standpoint. A win or even a close third place run though will keep him in the game for a little longer, but ultimately his campaign is going to succumb to the liberal, left wing lack of depth and intellectual honesty in his campaign. We think Obama will manage to weather this late inning challenge and hold Edwards at bay to finish a near second to Clinton. However, in our view, the Clinton campaign should manage to edge Obama out with a win in excess of the margin of error. Political Season says Clinton wins by a 5-7% margin of victory.

If you're Hillary, you're really rooting for Edwards like Carcetti in Season 4 of The Wire is rooting for Gray, because votes for Edwards come more at Obama's expense than they do hers in our view. Thats what appears to be happening right now. So there is a real danger for Obama that Edward's could pull out a 2nd place finish over Obama. That would keep Edwards around a little longer and I think do some damage to Obama's campaign momentum. A close 2nd place finish to Clinton does not hurt Obama a whole lot, but a third place finish behind Edwards would eat into his momentum. Obama in this last week must fight the Clinton enemy to his front and direct fire to his rear on Edwards as well.


Our Prediction: Mike Huckabee will win commandingly, with Romney taking 2nd place. We like Thompson to take 3rd place, since he is the next most appealing candidate for evangelicals after the Huckster.

Real Clear polling data has Huckabee holding a firm lead and Romney trailing. Huckabee appears to have tapped right into the evangelical vein in Iowa and that has helped propel him forward over Romney, whose Mormon background, flip floppy rep and quite probably his misstatements and/or outright lies about things like his father marching with King have not served him well.

While we are going to call the third spot for Thompson, based on the polling data, we take official blog notice of the Iowa Independents' power rankings, which have been released periodically throughout the campaign. The Independent has consistently had Edwards in first place in recent weeks, but has now switched to Obama as the front runner. Even more interesting to us, they are suggesting a Ron Paul third place showing, an interesting thought for a candidate that one can make a case has a real racial bias issue. The Independent says Paul's caucus prep and on the ground team is better than people are giving him credit for. We think that idea has legs and we'll be watching with interest. The Independents' call is not based on polls, but on their observations and gut reaction to events on the ground.

In any event, its the Season's view that the Iowa results will not be indicative of the long term outcome of the nomination fight on the GOP side. Huckabee has been the beneficiary of evangelical blessings that will not survive into New Hampshire and beyond. Its been a fun flirtation, but his Dumond rape case history alone we think is enough to sink him. Thompson is liable to hang around a bit longer, but if his campaign does not pick up some energy somewhere, he will fade soon enough. We expect it to come down to a national slugfest of Guiliani, Romney and McCain.

We don't believe the electorate in Iowa has quite yet cemented their views on the Democratic side. This final week will be a crucial test of the organizations of these political foes. So thats our prediction and we're sticking to it. Whats your prediction? Leave it in the comments and test your prognosticator skills against the Political Season team.