Thursday, January 17, 2008

Michigan Primary Results and Analysis

Republican Results (100% reporting)

Romney 337,847 39% 24
McCain 257,521 30% 5
Huckabee 139,699 16% 1
Paul 54,434 6% 0
Thompson 32,135 4% 0
Giuliani 24,706 3% 0
Uncommitted 18,106 2% 0
Hunter 2,823 0% 0

Democratic Results (100% reporting)

Clinton 328,151 55%
Uncommitted 237,762 40%
Kucinich 21,708 4%
Dodd 3,853 1%
Gravel 2,363 0%

The biggest winners on Tuesday were Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee. The biggest losers were John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, and Hillary Clinton. Here's the breakdown:

Mitt Romney: This was a decisive win Romney. This was the state he was "supposed" to win according to the "experts". Romney needed this kind of win. He beat McCain, the 2000 Michigan Republican Primary winner, by a little more than 80,000 votes. McCain only beat Romney by 13,000 plus votes in New Hampshire. Romney lost to Huckabee in Iowa by only 10,000 plus votes also. But in Michigan, where it was suppose to be a "close" race, Romney won easily. Going into South Carolina, Romney has a solid shot at winning there aided by the winning momentum of Michigan. If Romney can continue this pattern of staying in the top 2, winning either South Carolina or Florida, when Super Tuesday comes he will have a strong shot at winning multiple states and coming out as the "front-runner"

John McCain: This is a hard loss for his campaign. He won this state in 2000 and was hoping the New Hampshire win could propel him to a win in Michigan. But with this decisive loss, McCain is entering South Carolina like a bruised, beat down fighter who taught the road to victory would be much easier. McCain has a rough history in South Carolina, where he flip-flopped on the Confederate Flag issue in 2000. Also, his characterization of the late Rev. Jerry Falwell and televangelist Pat Robertson as "agents of intolerance" has caused some Christian voters in South Carolina to not see McCain as someone who cannot stand for or identify with their values. McCain must overcome his past, the momentum of Romney, and the attack fire of Fred Thompson if he is going to win in South Carolina. McCain must finish in the top 3 to maintain his "electability" image entering the Primary in Florida. He needs to continue to stay in the top three if he expects to have a shot at winning any states on Super Tuesday.

Mike Huckabee: His 3rd place finish was a good sign for Huckabee's campaign. He is only one of three candidates in the Republican race to get 100,000 plus votes. This is the third state in which he has stayed in the top 3. Such a finish maintains an image of "potential" and "viability" in the long run heading into South Carolina and Florida Primaries. He received more votes in Michigan than Ron Paul, Fred Thompson, and Rudy Giuliani COMBINED! That is such a damning number. His finish in Michigan will certainly help his fortunes in other Primaries. But he needs to crack the top 2 in either South Carolina or Florida to ensure he can make a dent on Super Tuesday. He needs to avoid the appearance as a "one hit wonder" who can't finish higher than 3rd place in other states.

Ron Paul: He has no shot at winning the election, he is a protest vote for the far right. But getting more votes than Fred Thompson and Rudy Giuliani says that this is not just a fluke candidacy. He still could be a spoiler for someone in November if he continues on as an independent.

Fred Thompson: Finishing 5th makes it even more important that he win in South Carolina or his campaign is finished. There is no way around it. He has not gained any traction from the debates, so it's South Carolina or bust.

Rudy Giuliani: If he wins in Florida, then uses that win to propel him to a strong showing on Super Tuesday, it will be considered the greatest political strategy of the 21st Century. And then you will see over the next 20 years Presidential wannabees try to duplicate the same strategy. But if he fails miserably, then Giuliani will be a Political Science discussion item in Universities over the next 100 years.

"Uncommitted" and Duncan Hunter: I think Congressman Hunter is a good guy, but he still running is very sad. He should just drop out, endorse one of the top tier guys before South Carolina or Florida so he can help them get the nomination and there will be a place for Duncan as the nominee's VP or as a member of their administration. More than 18,000 in Michigan are "Uncommitted" which is just a sign that this race is far from over in the minds of the voters.

Hillary Clinton: Ok, let me preface these remarks by explaining that the Democratic Nation Convention (DNC) has stripped Michigan of its delegates, meaning that a win in the Michigan Primary was pointless towards the nomination process. The only positive to be seen from this "win" by Senator Clinton is that if she is the nominee, she will have a good shot at winning the state in the General Election. But the fact that she only received 90,000 plus votes than "Uncommitted" is a dangerous sign of the future for the Clinton campaign. 40 percent of Democratic Michigan Democratic voters are not committed to a Clinton candidacy. What if this state had not had its delegates stripped and the candidates had campaigned there, would she still have won? Sometimes voters pick a candidate because it is the "best" option. What if Barack Obama and John Edwards names were on that ballot, would she still have won? Too many "what if's" to say this would be something for the Clinton campaign to build on. If she looses Nevada and South Carolina to Obama (which is not a far fetched idea at all), she will enter Super Tuesday as a desperate candidate. She already has enough problems to deal with from the "anti-Clinton" crowd, but too many Obama wins just makes his candidacy more and more appealing as the viable candidate.

"Uncommitted": The "ghost vote" is one that shows that there is a significant amount of unpredictability with the Democratic Nomination than expected. The turnout on the Democratic side was much higher than expected. About 600,000 voters came out to vote in an election that meant literally nothing. Very interesting the motivation behind all these votes, but this is a massive protest vote against Hillary Clinton. We will have to wait and see how this affects the psychology of voters in Nevada and South Carolina.

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