Friday, October 31, 2008

Only four days to go

Well, the end is nigh, but will it be the end that the mainstream media is predicting, or some shocking twist at the end of the complex plot that has been the 2008 election campaign?
In truth, the odds are very high that Obama will win this, but... all of that rests upon the supposition that the polls are telling a semi-coherent story. Are they? Who knows, but let's consider a few things.
First, most polls have relentlessly over-polled (according to historic norms) democrats. In 2006, the dems had a 3% advantage in voters. In 2004, it was a tie between dems and pubbies. So, any poll that samples 10% more dems than pubbies is suspect. And, to be honest, that is most of the polls.
Second, the early voting numbers are very confusing, to say the least. I have frankly not been able to make head or tail of them. Anyone who says that the early voting numbers prove that one side or the other is running away with one state or another should note, of course, that while we may have party affiliation for who has voted early, we do NOT have any hard information on which way they have voted. Also, note that the exit polls are likely to be wrong this time, just as they were wrong in 2004.
Third, the various states in play are perhaps not what the polling would lead us to expect. It appears (to judge both from who has been visiting the state in the last few days, as well as some other info out there) that Iowa is very much in play. Hmmm...
So, what of my prediction back in August that McCain would win:
McCain will win with 338 to 200 electoral college votes (how? Well, of the swing states he will get NH, FL, PA, OH, MI, IA, MN, CO, NM, and NV - I think that gives him 338 votes). I think either Romney or Palin will be his VP.
Well, I was right about Palin! As for the rest, well, I think that FL and OH are safely in McCain's hands now. I suspect that MI and MN are safely in Obama's hands. If the others (NH, PA, IA, CO, NM and NV) go McCain's way, he wins 311 to 227. If he loses CO, NM and NV it is 292 to 246. If he loses IA and NH too, it goes to 281 to 257. In short, PA is key. Its 21 electoral votes add up to 2 less than CO, NM, NV and NH.
So, can McCain do it? Well, the polls say no, but (see above) the polls are likely a little too optimistic about Obama's support. Also, Obama is not closing well, by which I mean he is not getting clearly above 50% in many of the places where he needs to get that number. For example, he is polling at 47% to 43% with 9% undecided in PA.
Isn't this all rather going against the conventional wisdom? Well, yes, it is. Why might that be? Well, perhaps the conventional wisdom is derived primarily from the mainstream media (MSM) and perhaps, the MSM are completely in the tank for Obama, and perhaps, because they are so completely in the tank for Obama, the MSM do not want people who support McCain to go out and vote, so perhaps they are trying to create the impression that it is all over, so that people who would vote for McCain will not do so? Ya think? Maybe..
There is only one cure for that, to whit - go vote!
Of course, all this analysis is likely me grasping at straws, and Obama likely has this so far in the bag it ain't even funny, which means all you folk who are thinking about voting for him don't need to do that:)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Even I did not think it would come to this!

But now, it looks as if even New York might be in play for McCain - wow! If, and let's be up front and say this is a HUGE IF, this is true and stays even close to true, then stick a fork in Obama - he's done, and this will go down as a bigger debacle than Dukakis, Gore and Kerry rolled into one. This could be good for the Democrats in the long run, but only if they use it to evaluate truly what happened. A major casualty will be the mainstream media and the liberal coastal elites. BUT, all of that is rather moot for now. This remains to be confirmed and we are still more than 7 weeks away from election day, so we shall see how it all turns out, but nonetheless, WOW!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Loosing the Grip

Well, I thought life was bad for Obama after the lipstick-pig thing, but he has managed to make it worse. He put out an advert yesterday that mocked McCain for not using e-mail. Turns out that this is wrong on so many fronts somebody in Obama's campaign should be fired.
First, McCain has injuries that make it difficult for him to type. In other words, the Obama advert just mocked a heroic war veteran because the injuries he sustained have handicapped him - that will go well. As Glenn Reynolds said:
Oops. Another unforced error from the Obama campaign, which seems to have had a lot of those lately. The above is from 2000 -- don't these people know how to use Google? Or NEXIS? Or something?

Second, turns out that McCain pioneered the amazing use of the Internet that has powered the Obama campaign, and McCain did that in 2000 - some Luddite he! What on earth is going on here? This suggests a level of incompetence that is almost unbelievable.
Partly I think this is the cocooning issue I discussed a couple of days ago. Nobody in the Obama campaign could think beyond the message they wanted to send, to see what negative repercussions it might bring. In short, they cannot see beyond their own (inevitably limited, by which I mean all of us have limited vision, not just the Obama campaign) vision. In a campaign that can be bad, but in a Presidency this can be disasterous. It further makes clear just how stupid Obama's claim that his experience running the campaign qualified him to be President - it don't!
Of course, all of this might have no effect, but it looks very much as if it is beginning to have a major impact. First, the Palin phenomenon continues. Increasingly, commentators are drawing attention to the solid values inherent in small towns, and inherent in the experience of many women (a far broader group than coastal elites). Neither of these aspects of her candidacy are easily comprehended by the mainstream media, so they miss the import of these insights.
But, the voters do not. And the polls are beginning to reflect that, not only in the National numbers, where change would show up soonest, since National level polling occurs daily, but also at the State level, which is of course where it actually counts.
If you look at those State level numbers, you see that of my ridiculous projections for McCain to win, the numbers do not apparently look good.
Currently in the "leans" or "likely" GOP column, I have Florida and Ohio. Three of my states are in the toss up category CO, NM, and NV. Of the remainder NH,PA, MI, IA are in the "leans" Democrat column, and MN is in the "likely" Democrat column.
That would seem to suggest absolutely no chance of my prediction that all of these would go for McCain. Add into the mix Virginia, which I had assumed would be for McCain and is in fact shown as being a toss-up. However, if we look a little closer we see that many of these States have old polling. MN for example, is based on an August 14 report at which time Obama led 46 to 42%. Think that might have changed a bit? NH was polled August 20 at which time Obama led 47 to 46%. Iowa was polled August 11 (46 to 41% for Obama). Other polls are more recent (typically September 8 or 11) but these three states (MN, NH, IA) will almost certainly show numbers more favorable to McCain when they are next polled. Obama has taken a significant hit in the last two weeks, it is only now beginning to show fully in the State polling, and if he does not move his game up several notches, he will be toast. He has to get back on message and quit making mistakes in the next week, or he may not get back into this race.
It would appear that I am not the only one who is feeling this way. Senior Democrats are beginning to panic, and polling indicates that FL and PA are moving out of contention.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Lipstick and the OODA Loop

Well, what a to-do. Obama makes a comment about pigs and lipsticks - was it an attack on Palin? McCain's campaign has put out a quick response ad that suggests they think it was. Is this much ado about nothing, or is this a blatantly sexist attack by Obama on Palin?

I think the answer is yes, to both! How do I get there? Well, anyone who seriously examines Obama's attacks on Clinton will see some fairly strong sexism there, so it is not like he has not done this sort of thing before. On the other hand, the phrase about lipstick on a pig is one that has been around for a long time and does not necessarily connote sexism.

BUT, clearly the crowd at the Obama rally took it to be an attack on Palin (given her pit bull/lipstick joke at the convention) and pretty clearly Obama knew it would be taken as such. I have to think that comments of this nature are considered by candidates before they are used, to determine whether there is a downside to their use. If Obama used this phrasing without recognizing that it could be considered an attack on Palin, then he is really dumb. What he probably wanted was a nasty little attack, with plausible deniability. And that is what he thought he got, but he didn't.

This is going to explode in Obama's face with women. They will not be particularly vocal about it (we are already hearing from the vocal women) but they will not vote for him in November, and a significant number of them will vote for McCain. How do I know this? I had a conversation with a friend yesterday (before the pig thing) and much to my surprise, she opened the conversation by talking about Palin (we very rarely discuss politics - she is a liberal democrat, I am NOT!). She was delighted by the selection, did not consider it a token thing, and was clearly exercised to find out more about Palin. For example, she had researched the Bridge to Nowhere, and knew (which I did not) that the airport that was going to be connected was an International Airport! She also knew it was probably one of the world's smallest International Airports! She had sailed through the straight between the two islands that would have been joined by the bridge, and she was quite clear that the bridge to nowhere was completely inappropriate and she fully backed Palin's decision to can it (even if she had, during an election, said she supported it). I was totally taken aback by the degree to which she had investigated this, and seemed to want to have a reason to vote for Palin. I doubt if she has ever voted for Republicans in her life, and I would not bet on her doing so this November, but I am damned sure that she will not vote for Obama, not now, and especially not after the "pig" thing.

Why has Obama miscalculated so badly? Cocooning. He has listened too much to the coastal elites who think that only someone with an Ivy league education is fit to lead the US. He has heard all their sneers about Palin as being some sort of Neanderthal throwback, and he has believed them, because nobody around him thinks any differently.

But out here in the real world, Palin is resonating with folks like nobody's business. Her ability to take on her own party has largely removed the partisan issue from the table, by which I mean that people who have voted Democrat all their lives will feel able to cast a vote for her because they feel she will take on political scumbags in both parties - and given that 80% feel the country is on the wrong track, and only 9% approve of the job congress is doing, there are lots of folks out there who see a real need for someone to take on the scumbags. Plus, Sarah Palin does things like this (warning: hankies may be needed!).

Camille Paglia has an excellent article in which she warns Democrats about their response to Palin. She also very clearly and emphatically states that Palin is a feminist, and indeed goes further to indicate that Palin's type of feminism (basically, get on and do it, gut the damned moose!) is much more relevant and resonant than the dated feminism that still rules the coastal elites. Contrast her thoughtful take with an insult from above the border, and with depictions of Palin as a dominatrix into bestiality. The latter two, of course, serve only to make Paglia's point and hurt Obama's electoral chances even further. And this is why the McCain group came out with their ad which some (see the corner for example) think is a mistake. If it were aimed at Republicans, it would be, but it is not. It is aimed at those for whom the sexist attacks against Palin have been a total outrage, and it will help to ensure that those folk will not vote for Obama in November.

Why is all this happening? Well, McCain, being a fighter pilot, has got right inside Obama's OODA loop. A key quote from the Wikipedia site on OODA loops is:
How does one interfere with an opponent's OODA cycle? One of John Boyd's primary insights in fighter combat was that it is vital to change speed and direction faster than the opponent. This is not necessarily a function of the plane's ability to maneuver, rather the pilot must think and act faster than the opponent can think and act. Getting "inside" the cycle — short-circuiting the opponent's thinking processes - produces opportunities for the opponent to react inappropriately.
And that is what is happening here. Obama is reacting (still!) to the selection of Palin as the VP choice. Yesterday, Palin and McCain had an article on the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailout. Obama's comments yesterday were the sort of comments you make to fire up your base. McCain has been using all the attacks on Palin to enlarge his base and strip voters away from Obama. In short, McCain is messing with Obama's mind, and it is only going to get worse. I loved one suggestion I read today about a suggested (by Mark Krikorian) suitable response by Palin to the latest Obamablunder:
I agree with the consensus that the campaign shouldn't whine about the lipstick on a pig comment. Instead, Gov. Palin should simply start each appearance by pausing briefly at the podium to touch up her lipstick, and then move on. People who get the joke will love it, and those who don't will have it explained to them by others, ensuring that pretty soon, even those who don't follow the news will hear about it, to Obama's detriment.
There will be nothing more from the McCain camp about the pig blunder other than subtle things like this. They will be onto something else and Obama will be reacting again. At some stage, the meme will start to be discussed that, given the disarray in the Obama camp, his claim that this gives him experience to be President is not that valid.

All of which makes my prediction that Obama was going to lose this election big (338 to 200) seem more likely by the day. To do this, McCain will have to win the following swing states:
NH, FL, PA, OH, MI, IA, MN, CO, NM, and NV
Florida is moving beyond Obama's reach, Colorado and Ohio are moving in that direction too. The trend in the others is all in McCain's direction. Absent a major refocusing of the Obama campaign, he is in major trouble. And that disarray is beginning to show in all the gaffes and errors.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Lies, Damn Lies, and Andrew Sullivan?

The last couple of days have been interesting in this presidential race. Somehow, over on Daily Kos, and on Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish, the rumor began that Sarah Palin faked her pregnancy to cover for the pregnancy of her daughter. What a load of twaddle, but what very revealing twaddle! There was zero evidence (in the sense that sane and rational people use the word evidence, to whit, something reliable that indicates something of substance) but the stream of bile that issued forth from commenters all across the political blogosphere was disgusting to behold. The bile came, as far as I could tell, from Kossacks and the like who would like to do all within their power to denigrate Sarah Palin as a Vice Presidential candidate, most likely because they recognize on a sub-concious level (in some cases, very sub) how much of a challenge she poses to Obama, and how good a choice by McCain she was.
Then things got really wierd! This morning, Sarah Palin issued a press release to the effect that her daughter was pregnant (some five months), is engaged to be married to the father of the child, and is the recipient of loving support from her family. Oh, and would the press and everybody else respect her privacy too. Andrew Sullivan's response? He asked for a statement from the doctor who delivered Trig for Sarah stating that it was actually Sarah who gave birth to Trig (Trig who was born some four months ago - you go figure out the obgyn aspects of that if you can!). Sorry Andrew, but really...
Some very interesting responses to all this. It seems to me that Anne Althouse is getting increasingly annoyed about the Kossacks and is being driven closer and closer to McCain as a result - her posting is interesting, not least because of the insights in the comments. One commenter cogently recalled Obama's comment on out of wedlock pregnancies:
IN THE COMMENTS: mcg said:
Well, I know this is shameless of me, but my first step is admitting the problem, right? My mind immediately went to Obama's comment that if his daughters "make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby."
(Link for the Obama quote.)
Ms. Althouse also takes some to task for their sexist thinking:
MadisonMan said:
I think the way to support a child through a pregnancy is to be there for them, not to embark on a national campaign -- sure, it's "only" 2 months -- that will shine the spotlight on the child. Anyway, that would be my reaction as a parent.
Oh, that looks like a meme. Sarah Palin must stay home with her special needs baby. Sarah Palin must stay home with her about-to-be-married, pregnant daughter. Ladies: Put your career on hold until everything in you're family stops happening. I know, MM is a man and he's saying he'd stay home too, but would he? Would a man forgo his career to be there for a family member who is experiencing an important life transition?

Remember when John Edwards decided to go on with his campaign after his wife got a diagnosis of inoperable cancer? Now, I think Elizabeth Edwards was probably excited about the campaign and wanted to go on with it. In that light, why are you assuming that Bristol Palin isn't excited about her mother's campaign? Unlike Elizabeth Edwards, Bristol is not facing her last days. She's just starting out -- all caught up in life. Presumably, she's intense and positive about her pro-life beliefs, her love for the baby's father, her impending wedding, and the new baby on the way.

I imagine her eager to run around with the campaign, spreading the pro-life message to young people. Why should you think she would prefer to mope around the house, feeling ashamed, absorbing maternal comforting? On the campaign trail, she will be a loved and praised pro-life heroine, and she -- and her mother -- are likely to convert others to the pro-life side, with their glamorous and very positive image. Pro-choicers beware.
There is a most interesting post from Nathan Thornburgh of Time, to the effect that just about everyone in Wasilla (the Palin's hometown) knew about the pregnancy. The article is well worth the read, and is not too long, but here is a good take-away paragraph:
People in Wasilla are Alaskan tough, so not only does a thing like teen pregnancy not seem like anyone's damn business, but it's also not seen as the calamity so many people in the lower 48 might think it is. This is dangerous country — it's not just the roughneck jobs on cable reality shows. It's real life here. I listened to the absolutely heartbreaking story of how the godfather of Track Palin, Sarah's oldest son, died in small plane crash just minutes after having dropped off four kids. Another family invited me into their home and told their incredible story; with one son in Iraq, their other son was working on a conveyor line in Anchorage, got caught in the belt and had his head partially crushed. He lived to stand across the kitchen table from me and his parents, looking fully healed just three months later, grinning at his dumb luck and wondering what comes next in life. "It makes you realize that a thing like a little teenage pregnancy isn't such a big deal," his mom said. "Bristol—and lots of other girl like her out there — are going to be just fine."
Finally, to complete a trifecta of sensible posts on this issue, there is Captain Ed, who now works with Hot Air, once again sharing with us all his own family's experience with pre-marriage pregnancies. Captain Ed is his normal sensible self, so again, worth reading the whole thing (and the comments are again revealing, although not always edifying!). My take away bits?

What does this mean politically? I think AP has done a good job in addressing this, but really I don’t think politics will enter into it. The Palins all chose life and lived their values. That doesn’t strike me as news, as we already saw that with her commitment to her son Trig. The Democrats won’t dare mention this as a campaign issue, and even the blogs will probably leave it alone soon enough. Most people, I’d say, will wish Bristol and the Palins well. None of us quit our jobs to help our son and daughter-in-law cope, and neither will Sarah Palin, because it’s unnecessary.

We would all do better just to admire the Palins for their love and support for Bristol, Bristol’s courage in pursuing motherhood when faced with a difficult but hardly unusual situation, and agree that this has little to do with whether Sarah Palin will make a good Vice President. Families have been dealing with this since … there were families. Neither side should use Bristol to score political points. Keeping them in our prayers would also be the kindest action we can take.

The more I hear about Governor Palin, the more I am struck by how down to earth and "one of us" she is. I look forward to hearing about Vice-President Palin in a couple of months, and will do my bit to help make that happen.

Happy Labor Day!

Friday, August 29, 2008

YES - It's Sarah Palin

What an amazing pick by McCain - I am totally thrilled. OK, why am I so thrilled?

1: This totally removes the air from the Democratic Convention and last night's speech by Obama - in fact his speech is now relegated to not even worth talking about. McCain has totally seized the press attention with this, and will control the news cycle through the Republican convention.

2: Who is the agent of change now? Palin got to be Governor by challenging the corrupt (GOP) party machine in Alaska and winning. Did Obama challenge the (corrupt) Democratic machine in Chicago? That would be a NO!

3: Excellent (and lived in her own life) credentials on the pro-life issues. Plus, a true conservative - this energizes the base for McCain, and that potential problem has now gone away.

4: While she is new on the political scene, she actually has executive experience, which NONE of the other three ticket people have. Running a country or a state is different from being a senator.

5: She KNOWS energy, and energy is and should be a huge issue for the US right now. She knows we have to both drill and investigate and implement alternative energy solutions. McCain will take the Democrats to the woodshed on drilling now and it will work.

Two lesser points worth making:

A: This is historic for the GOP, in just the same way that Obama is historic for the Democrats. And as a woman, she will bring a certain attraction to the GOP ticket for all the PUMAs who are feeling dissed by Obama.

B: She is way cute!

All in all, a great choice. One that excites me, and I suspect a whole lot of other GOP folk around the country. Well done, Maverick!

And here's a photo:

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I'm Baaaack!

Well, I held off for as long as I could but with the first of the two big conventions about to begin, and with one of the VP picks announced, I can keep quiet no longer! I just have too much to say.

About the selection of Biden as Obama's VP selection, others have said much more than I can. The consensus seems to be that he is a "safe pick," but one with lots of areas for attack by McCain (who has apparently already got an ad out with some of Biden's less flattering comments about Obama). The VP rarely wins a race for the nominee, but could certainly hamper success. I do not think this choice helps Obama, but nor does it hurt him too much.

However, what does hurt Obama is stuff like this. This author's thesis is that the only possible reason Obama could lose is because the USA is a horribly racist nation. Apparently I cannot vote for McCain because I think Obama's positions are bad for the Country and for me. Even if I think that is what I am doing, then I am wrong - secretly, I must be racist. So much for Dr. King: "I long for the day when a man is judged by the content of his character not the color of his skin." If Obama's supporters are starting to accuse those who oppose him of racism, then he has already lost the moral battle, if not the election.

And that brings me to the key point of this post - a prediction, or more specifically, several of them, about the upcoming elections. First, I am afraid that Obama has lost it. He lacks organization, he lacks a message, he has wasted his money, he has tossed too many people under the bus, and he is just not ready for prime time. McCain will win with 338 to 200 electoral college votes (how? Well, of the swing states he will get NH, FL, PA, OH, MI, IA, MN, CO, NM, and NV - I think that gives him 338 votes). I think either Romney or Palin will be his VP.

So there are two predictions, but I am not yet done. What about the senate and the house races? Prevailing wisdom suggests that the Dems will gain seats in both, extending their majorities. I am not so sure. I think in the house, the Dems will lose seats. The current balance is I believe, 236 democrats and 199 republicans. That majority (of 37 votes) will be reduced to between 5 and 15 votes (i.e. about 220 to 225 democrats, and 215 to 210 republicans). The democrats are being killed on energy policy at present, and will suffer for it in the elections. In the senate, changes will be less. Right now the senate is 49 dems, 49 reps, and two independents who generally vote with the dems. The two independents are not running this year. I predict we will end up with no more than 2 seats changed each way (thus maybe 51 dems and 47 reps or 51 reps and 47 dems at most).

I know these are not in any way standard wisdom at present, but I think this is how things are going to work out this time.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

C plus 13 - post-Michigan and pre-South Carolina and Nevada

Well, I was correct about Romney winning here, but wrong about the margin. He eventually won with 39% versus 30% for McCain and 16% for Huckabee. Hardly a squeaker of a victory! Hillary also won on the Democratic side, but the news for her was not very good. Nobody of any substance other than her (i.e. neither Obama not Edwards) was on the ballot, and she only got 55% of the vote - uncommitted got about 40%. Not good enough. To make it even worse, it looks like she has severely upset the African American part of the electorate - more than 70% of them voted uncommitted last night, and exit polls suggest that they would have voted for Obama if that had been an option. This is grim news for Clinton in two ways. First, if this trend of support is nationwide, it will make winning the nomination difficult at best for Hillary. Second, if she does win, she will somehow have to reconcile with the African American community or they will not come out and vote for her, and without those votes, she is toast in the national election. It may just be me, but I do not think that reconciliation is Hillary's strong suit!
So, what now? Well, the divergence between the party processes continues, with the Democrats having caucuses in Nevada on Saturday and a primary in South Carolina the following Saturday, while the Republicans have both Nevada and South Carolina this Saturday. My guesses? On the Democratic side, Obama wins in Nevada and in South Carolina, the latter with a bigger margin. Edwards fades further into irrelevance, and likely drops out after Florida. However, bear in mind what happened in New Hampshire! On the Republican side, Fred must be first or a close second in South Carolina, and I think he can do it (in fact, I think he will win). Nevada does not seem to have figured much in the Republican psyche, but Romney should win there. That would leave only Rudy Giuliani without a win and he is gearing up to try and take Florida (Tuesday January 29). If he doesn't he will be in trouble.
All in all, it is getting pretty exciting!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

C plus 6 - more thoughts on my predictive powers!

Well, wrong again, but this time on the Democratic side, not the Republican, which I nailed, thank you very much (well, apart from thinking that Giuliani would beat Huckabee, but there you go)! However, I do not feel at all bad about getting the Democratic side wrong, since everyone else (including the Clinton camp) did too. This raises the question of how all of us could all have been so very wrong (my prediction was very much the conventional wisdom, by the way).
Clearly, polling ain't what it used to be, if indeed it ever was. Issues with caller ID (we do not answer calls from unknown numbers, for example, nor from political campaigns), people not having land lines, and the like will make polling much more difficult this time around than it was four years ago.
So, what's next? Michigan, at least on the GOP side. Likely Romney in a squeaker over McCain, I suspect (that is not yet a prediction though - that will come next week). Richardson has dropped out on the Democratic side, and I think Edwards may be close to doing the same thing. New Hampshire had him as basically irrelevant, but given the surprise result there he may continue in the hope that something equally surprising happens to his benefit. On the Republican side, the revelations about Ron Paul's newsletter and its racist comments means, I hope, that he is no longer a serious candidate (if indeed he ever was). And Thompson has drawn a line in the metaphorical sands of South Carolina, and, to mix my metaphors horribly, has said that he is going "all in" there. Quite what that means I am not sure, but I would guess that if he does not win or place a close second, he will likely drop out. A shame, since his ideas are excellent.

C plus 6 - more thoughts on my predictive powers!

Well, wrong again, but this time on the Democratic side, not the Republican, which I nailed, thank you very much (well, apart from thinking that Giuliani would beat Huckabee, but there you go)! However, I do not feel at all bad about getting the Democratic side wrong, since everyone else (including the Clinton camp) did too. This raises the question of how all of us could all have been so very wrong (my prediction was very much the conventional wisdom, by the way).
Clearly, polling ain't what it used to be, if indeed it ever was. Issues with caller ID (we do not answer calls from unknown numbers, for example, nor from political campaigns), people not having land lines, and the like will make polling much more difficult this time around than it was four years ago.
So, what's next? Michigan, at least on the GOP side. Likely Romney in a squeaker over McCain, I suspect (that is not yet a prediction though - that will come next week). Richardson has dropped out on the Democratic side, and I think Edwards may be close to doing the same thing. New Hampshire had him as basically irrelevant, but given the surprise result there he may continue in the hope that something equally surprising happens to his benefit. On the Republican side, the revelations about Ron Paul's newsletter and its racist comments means, I hope, that he is no longer a serious candidate (if indeed he ever was). And Thompson has drawn a line in the metaphorical sands of South Carolina, and, to mix my metaphors horribly, has said that he is going "all in" there. Quite what that means I am not sure, but I would guess that if he does not win or place a close second, he will likely drop out. A shame, since his ideas are excellent.

Monday, January 7, 2008

C plus 4 - predicting New Hampshire

Well, Romney, Thompson and Hunter all got something from Wyoming, which is more than any other Republican candidate got. Whether it means anything is another matter...
So, given my sterling reputation for prediction who do I think will win in New Hampshire? On the Democrat side, Obama will win, Hillary second, Edwards third. If Hillary is less than 5% behind Obama she can justifiably claim some sort of comeback, but I doubt that will happen. If Obama breaks 40% it is all over bar the voting. If Edwards does not get at least 15% he needs to drop out.
The Republican side is a bit more complex. First, I do not think Thompson will make any sort of showing in the race. If he gets 5% (which he might on the basis of his performance over the weekend) he has got way more than he bargained for in NH. I think McCain will win, by about 5% over Romney, with Giuliani just edging out Huckabee for third. This will stop any Huckabee bounce from Iowa dead in its tracks, and show that he was just a one state wonder. McCain plays well here but that is not the issue for him. He needs to carry that forward, and I do not think he can - immigration and McCain-Feingold are two big anchors that will drag him down. As for Romney, he will not be stopped by this result (although if he loses by 10% or more, or if the third place finisher is within 5% of him, he is in big trouble).
Anyway, there you have it. Rumors of Duncan Hunter dropping out are apparently not true, but that is simply a shame. He needs to go. If Ron Paul gets more than 10%, expect to hear a lot of media noise about it. Any less than that, and he too becomes mostly marginal.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

C plus 2 - the aftermath

Well, I was 100% correct in my predictions for the Democratic results here in Iowa, and 100% wrong for the Republican results! For those who do not remember, I chose on the Republican side Thompson, Romney, and either Giuliani or Huckabee in third. Instead, Huckabee won it - so my thoughts about his support draining away were clearly wrong.
In terms of post-mortem, clearly many smarter folks than I will be having their say, and of course with the Wyoming Republican caucus today, and New Hampshire primary on Tuesday we will soon have more results to ponder. Nonetheless, I will share my thoughts on what it all means, just so I can be wrong again!
I think the situation on the Democratic side is the clearer of the two. Edwards is toast - he needed to win Iowa, and did not do that. I do not see anything coming down the pike where he will win, and without a win soon (before February 5) he will be seen as irrelevant. That leaves Hillary and Obama. I could be wrong here, but I think Hillary is toast too. Too few people find her demeanor attractive. What I mean by that is she seems incapable of making enough people feel good about her and about her leadership to make the sale. Her claims that her time as first lady gives her an edge in experience over Obama and Edwards is frankly laughable, and even the MSM are not going for it. In short, I do not think she will win anything between now and February 5, and if I am right, she will be so badly wounded by then that she will end up losing on that day big time. I will say right now that I think Obama has this in the bag. What that means for the general election is very difficult to say at this point in time, because Obama is actually very much a liberal and strongly on the left wing of the democratic party, but it will be interesting.
The Republican side is very murky. If Huckabee gets a top two finish in New Hampshire, I think he will go on to win the nomination, but I do not expect that to happen. His first place in Iowa was clearly due to strong evangelical support, but looking at the numbers shows an interesting story. He got 37% of the vote, yet between 50 and 60% of the Republican caucus goers were evangelicals according to various entrance and exit polls. In other words, Huckabee did not get all of the evangelical vote (although he did very well in it - perhaps as much as 75% of it) and nowhere else will he find such strong evangelical support (South Carolina will be strongly for Fred rather than Huckabee). In short, this is Huckabee's flash in the pan, and I do not think he will carry this win forward in any meaningful way.
What about Romney? Well, he was hurt by not finishing first, but the strong evangelical presence no doubt contributed to that. He needs to finish first or second everywhere between now and February 5 to be in a commanding position. Otherwise, he is fighting for his life. Money is not an issue for him right now, but eventually he will have to decide if spending all his own money is worth it in a possibly losing fight.
Thompson lives to fight another day (yippee!) but needs to start doing better than third place. If he does not get one or two second places before February 5, he's done. He may get a second or first place finish today in Wyoming.
McCain did less well than some had indicated in Iowa, but clearly has rebounded from his low point. If he wins New Hampshire (seems likely) he is back in the thick of it, but he still has to get through South Carolina, which was his nemesis in 2000. Still, he is in good shape right now.
Giuliani has to show well in New Hampshire and South Carolina (no lower than third) and then has to win in Florida.
Ron Paul may have hit his high point with 9% in Iowa. From here on out, he fades in importance.

But, please be aware how wrong I was about the Republican caucus results, and take all of this with a large grain of salt!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

C minus 2 days

And a very Happy New Year to all my readers (all three of you!). A truly cold day here in Iowa - air temperature is about 10 F, and a nice wind of 20 mph (gusting to 33 mph) creates a wind chill of about -8F. Kath and I walked to the store this morning, and experienced it first hand - our verdict? It is COLD!
We are very definitely in the final furlong now. Clearly, the excitement is growing, and as a result I found myself on the front page of our local paper, the Cedar Rapids Gazette, this morning. Oh, the fame!
Some interesting stuff in the past couple of days on Fred Thompson. I should add that I have been told by a commenter on the blog that I should "stop being baised.. its pointless to promote fred.." but I do not agree. Of the candidates, I have now decided that I will support Fred. One summative reason was the video clip he put together to explain why he is running. It is some 17 minutes long, and has been viewed by more than 114,000 people on You Tube as of now. It has generated some interesting commentary from pundits, some generally positive, with others, not surprisingly, tending the other way. There was also some fuss in the last few days coming, yet again, from a journalist who selectively quoted Thompson's answer to a question about whether or not he desired the Presidency. The person who asked the question explains why, and what he thought about it all, at this location.
So, we are close to the end, and it is by all accounts coming down to the wire. I stick by my earlier predictions, but as noted at that time, these are likely wrong! However, nothing in the current polls serves as a definitive indicator of me being wrong! Bear in mind that my predictions were made 17 days ago - I feel quite proud that they are not totally out to lunch at this point in time!