Friday, January 4, 2008

Iowa has spoken and what is the aftermath

First, the numbers speak for themselves:

34 - Huckabee - Winner
25 - Romney
13 - Thompson
13 - McCain
10 - Paul
3 - Giuliani
0 - Hunter

96% Reporting

38 - Obama - Winner
30 - Edwards
29 - Clinton
2 - Richardson
1 - Biden
0 - Kucinich
0 - Dodd
0 - Gravel

100% Reporting

Obviously, the biggest winners were Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama, neither was expected to win even a couple months ago. But the "second tier" winners are John Edwards and Fred Thompson. The "big losers" are Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani. Let’s break this down by each candidate:

Mike Huckabee: The experience of being the Governor for 10 plus years of a Midwest state was a major weapon in Huckabee's arsenal in propelling his win in Iowa. The fact that he knew how to appeal to voters and he to work a ground operation that got his message and name out to more than 35,000 voters is very impressive. With all the negatives that have come out about him, he was able to overcome this in Iowa. This win is a great momentum builder for the Huckabee campaign. While it is very unlikely that Huckabee will win in New Hampshire's primary, but this win will cause some disruption in the efforts to gain the swing voters. With this win, the Republican Primary votes will be split 6-ways. As long as Huckabee is in the top 4 in New Hampshire, he can utilize this win to propel himself into contention to have a chance in Michigan, South Carolina, and Nevada.

Mitt Romney: While he came in a sound second place, he was still far ahead of the rest of the pack. Foxnews went out of its way to give a member of Romney's campaign (Bay Buchanan) a hard time. They even laughed at her in the background during the interview. This was disgusting. His second place finish makes him a stronger long term candidate than many of the other candidates. He can take value in the fact that he came in second in a state that was more so Huckabee's "backyard" than any other candidate on the Republican side. He still has a strong shot at winning in New Hampshire, Michigan, and South Carolina. The conjecture of this "horrific" defeat for the Romney campaign is media spin. Romney had 10,000 more votes than Thompson or McCain and had more than 10,000 votes than Paul and Giuliani combined! If the Republican field shrinks sooner than later, this win could help propel Romney to still be able to be the Republican nominee. But as long as this field stays densely populated, the Romney campaign will struggle to gain significant traction.

Fred Thompson: This is a moral victory for the Thompson campaign. Thompson came in a tight third place, gaining a few hundred votes more than John McCain. Thompson's campaign now needs to go into New Hampshire and make sure he stays in the top 4 so he can head to Michigan and South Carolina with a legitimate chance to win either one of those states. He needs to at least come in second in one of those two states or he will have almost no chance at winning the nomination.

John McCain: The media hype about McCain's finish in Iowa is sickening. Sure, he is still in the thick of the race, but the fact that Thompson and Romney finished ahead of McCain is still a reality. McCain is battling for votes and still will need to take some votes from Giuliani, Thompson, Huckabee, and Romney in order to do so. He needs to get the Giuliani and Thompson supports who see Iowa as a major loss for those two candidates, the Romney supports who have not stuck with Romney through thick and thin, and the Huckabee bandwagon supporters who found out some "distasteful" information about Huckabee. McCain's finish in New Hampshire will determine how well he can do down the road. If McCain can finish either first or second, it will set him up to potentially win in Michigan, Nevada, and South Carolina, which will propel McCain to win a good amount of states on Super Tuesday which will set him up to be the Republican nominee. But if McCain finished 3rd or 4th in New Hampshire, he will have an uphill battle to gain the Republican Nomination because McCain needs momentum more than any other Republican candidate, aside from Huckabee.

Ron Paul: This was a BIG night for his campaign because he gained more than 10,000 votes, which more than double what Giuliani did in Iowa. Only 3 percentage points separate him from McCain and Thompson. While Paul will not get the Republican nomination, he is building the base, the name recognition, and ability to gain votes to allow him to extend his run past the Republican Nominee selection. Do not be surprised if he continues his run for President all the way to November. His run is not as much for him to be elected President, but standing for a cause and being a guy people like him can vote for and not pick between two people who they really don’t like anyway. Also, states like New Hampshire and Nevada could produce positive finishes for him where he can steal votes away from Huckabee and McCain. He can steal Huckabee's non-religious moderate supporters and McCain's older supporters who feel McCain is not the rogue and maverick as McCain tries to spin into his public image. Be careful, Paul could be a difference maker in New Hampshire, Nevada, and possibly in November.

Rudy Giuliani: I know the Giuliani campaign is "focusing on Super Tuesday". But by the time Super Tuesday comes around, Giuliani could finish 3rd or lower in New Hampshire, Michigan, Nevada, and South Carolina. The idea that he could still rebound from that to win big on Super Tuesday and propel him to the Republican Nomination is set in a fantasy world. Finishing in 6th with only 4,000 plus votes will hurt him in New Hampshire. He needs to finish in the top 2 in New Hampshire and Michigan to hope to stay in strong contention.

Barack Obama: Major victory for Obama's campaign. And even more so, his "victory" speech was full of such passion and optimism that the speech alone could propel Obama to a win in New Hampshire. This is also important because the voters in Iowa rejected the attacks and negativity of the Clinton campaign. The Obama campaign needs to capitalize and draw out this point. That speech made him sound much more Presidential and optimistic than his opponents Clinton and Edwards. If he can go into New Hampshire and win, this will ensure him the leading candidate for the Democratic Nomination and set him up to take South Carolina and numerous states on Super Tuesday. He has a good chance at gaining the Democratic Nomination and then the Presidency.

John Edwards: This is step one for the Edwards campaign: come in second in Iowa. Now he must either win or come in second in New Hampshire or his candidacy will diminish and he will eventually drop out of the race. Of the three top tier Democratic candidates, he is the farthest to the left on the issues and he also is the only one who has already run for President once before. Time will tell if those two factors will help or hurt him. I project they both will hurt him. Voters seem to want new blood and someone who has beliefs that are inline with the average, independent voter. Edwards does not fit that category.

Hillary Clinton: Her third place finish is a wound to the Clinton Machine which has been oiled by the ideal of inevitability. The idea that it is "her turn" or that she is the anointed one should now be thrown away. Until she begins to discuss issues and start really explaining her positions and policies, she will be no more than an average negative politician running a negative, elitist campaign. Except for the infamous "Russert debate", every Democratic debate up to this point has been full of softball questions and lackluster follow-up questions. Whenever Clinton has been challenged, she looks bad (just like McCain, but they are soft with him too). When Obama speaks, he thinks about what he is going to say, Hillary has programmed responses, almost like how the video game Madden 2008 has Play-by-Play commentary that was previously programmed. She must win New Hampshire to ensure her likelihood of being the Democratic Nominee. I have said for the last 12 months that Hillary Clinton is not a shoe-in for the Democratic Nomination and she may loose the nomination. She needs to prove she is electable by winning early states before attempting to believe she has a shot at winning many states on Super Tuesday.

Bill Richardson: Although he finished with only 4 percent, him staying in the race is based on the hope that as more people drop out, the more votes he could gain. He has no chance at being the nominee. He is running to be the Democratic Nominee's Vice Presidential Candidate.

Joe Biden: He has ended his run for the nomination, but whoever he endorses could change the dynamics of the race. His endorsement will bring more credibility to a candidacy.

Chris Dodd: He is done and he got one vote in Iowa. Pathetic

Side Note: Whether it is Foxnews and CNN, both have been biased and blind to reality.

*Foxnews made fun of the Romney and Paul Campaigns while practically glorifying McCain and Huckabee's strategies and "victories" (Huckabee a literal victory and McCain a "moral" victory).

*On the Democratic side, both CNN and Foxnews belittled the Obama win where possible and kept bringing up how Clinton did not loose "real bad" and about the "Iowa Curse" (since there has not been an Iowa Caucus winner who went on to become President in decades).

*Edwards came in second, ahead of Senator Clinton. Period. Enough spin Foxnews.

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