Friday, January 04, 2008

MTCW Iowa Caucus coverage.

Big time wins for Mike Huckabee, Barack Obama in Iowa, Hillary Clinton 3rd

Barak Obama and Mike Huckabee had strong showings in their wins over their rivals in the Iowa Caucus. Obama finished 8 points ahead of John Edwards and 9 points ahead of Hillary Clinton. Huckabee defeated Mitt Romney by 9 points. Here are the final results:

Democrats:

Obama 38%
Edwards 30%
Clinton 29%
Richardson 2%

Republicans:

Huckabee 34%
Romney 25%
Thompson 13%
McCain 13%
Paul 10%
Giuliani 4%

Now here is My Two Cents Worth on what happened last night. There were three big winners and two losers in Iowa last night: Mike Huckabee, Barak Obama, and John McCain. The losers: Hillary Clinton and Fred Thompson.

The race for the White House has significantly changed for both parties, but the path to the nomination for the Democrats is a lot clearer than the one for the Republicans. So we will start with the Democrats.

Barak Obama is the Big winner in Iowa.
OK, I will now admit it. Barack Obama is the real deal! Any questions about Obama being the lesser-known candidate, being too young or lacking establishment hurting his chances for the nomination are now gone. One cannot underestimate the importance of Obama’s 9-point victory here.

Obama was able to capture the five biggest counties in Iowa. He also was successful in motivating and getting the youth vote to the polls. Voters under the age of 30 made up 20% of the Democratic caucus voters and they gave more than 50% of their votes to Obama. This statistic alone has to make Republican campaign strategists nervous about an Obama ticket in the general election.

Perhaps the most impressive thing Obama was able to do in Iowa was steal the woman vote that Clinton was counting on and draw many independent voters to his campaign.

Will Obama now win the nomination? He has a lot of good things going for him and I say he has more than a 50% chance to win the nomination. He has momentum, charisma, positive media attention, and lots of money still in his campaign. The biggest thing Obama has going for him now, he proved he can win in the whitest areas of the country, something many democrat African Americans were doubting.

Obama’s Iowa victory is disastrous for Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton was supposed to be the sure thing. She was the invincible political machine with the nomination in the bag. She had the money, the party stars, and her husband behind her and she lost, and lost big.

However it is not her third place finish, or the fact that she did not win that makes this so bad for her. It is how she lost and the circumstances surrounding it.

Clinton gave a speech this morning that they were going to “take this enthusiasm” to New Hampshire, but it is hard to find the enthusiasm she is talking about. Clinton grossly out spent Obama in Iowa, she lost the youth vote to Obama and she lost the female vote to Obama. It is hard to see any enthusiasm in the Clinton camp.

The worst thing that could have happened to Clinton was not finishing third in Iowa. That is the least of her problems now. In fact a John Edwards victory with Obama finishing second and her third would have been a better outcome for her than what happened. The worse thing that could have happened has happened and that is Obama winning Iowa as soundly as he did. Obama’s victory spells disaster and puts the Clinton campaign in some serious trouble.

Even before the Iowa Caucus, Obama was already running even against Clinton in New Hampshire. After winning Iowa he is sure to get a bounce that could give him another victory there on Jan. 8.

Here is where the real problem rests for Clinton. Obama is also the favorite in South Carolina, where almost half of the Democrat Party primary voters will be African American. A lot of black voters had previously held back their support for Obama because they were not sure he could win in places like Iowa that has the smallest black population in the country. Now that doubt has been removed, they are likely to leave the Clinton camp for the Obama camp in large numbers. That means potential big wins in states like Maryland, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi where African Americans share roughly 40% or more of the democrat primary vote. A John Edwards victory over Obama could have prevented this, but that didn’t happen.

Add this with Obama’s charisma and ability to get youth voters to the polls and steal women voters from Clinton and her path to the White House is very much in jeopardy before she even gets the nomination.

Republicans contest it is still up in the air with no clear frontrunner.

Iowa was a must win for Mike Huckabee and he won. In fact he won by a larger margin than Obama did with 9 points over Mitt Romney, but now Huckabee needs money, and lots of it.

Huckabee was able to win Iowa with very little money and hardly any formal organization that will not work for him the rest of the way.

We have seen that Huckabee is a great entertainer with a compelling persona. In fact many criticized Huckabee for leaving Iowa on Wednesday for the Jay Leno show, but he capitalized on his appearance. When Leno asked why he's doing well against Romney, Huckabee replied, "People are looking for a presidential candidate who reminds them more of the guy they work with rather than the guy that laid them off." The studio audience loved him. And apparently so did Iowa.

Can Huckabee win? I believe he has just a good of a chance as anybody. His achievement in Iowa should not go unnoticed. Huckabee was an unknown a year ago, and is the only candidate in either party to rise to the top from the second tier, and he didn't use a lot of money to do it.

Huckabee is now the clear favorite in South Carolina on Jan. 19 and is probably the favorite in many other southern states providing Thompson and Giuliani stay in the race a while. The longer this race stays a multiple candidate race the better for Huckabee. If it ends up a one on one against Mitt Romney, Huckabee loses.

The thing that interests me the most about Huckabee is his support for the FairTax, which would eliminate the income tax and the Internal Revenue Service and replace it with a national sales tax. An idea with a strong grass roots backing and, as you all know, I am strongly in favor of. However, I never here anyone give any credit to Huckabee’s success in Iowa to it.

All I hear is Huckabee won Iowa because of the base of evangelical Christians, and he will not do well in New Hampshire because that base does not exist there. I have to wonder if the FairTax played any part in Iowa success.

No, I don’t think it propelled him to victory, the Christian base was strong enough to do that on there own, but I think it may have played a factor in a 9-point victory. There sure have been a lot of attacks from op-ed writers and political pundits on Huckabee by criticism of the FairTax. Those who want to see the current tax system stay seem a little concerned.

Huckabee may surprise some people in New Hampshire.

Fred Thompson suffers in Iowa. McCain gets just what he needs

Fred Thompson needed a big showing in Iowa, and he did not get it. A third place finish for John McCain is great, because McCain has a solid chance to win in New Hampshire. A third place finish for Thompson in Iowa created no buzz for his campaign and will generate no added support or money. My guess is Fred Thompson will be out of the race after South Carolina. What will be interesting to see is where will the Fred Thompson support go? Huckabee, McCain, or Romney? It could decide the nomination.

1 comment:

rascal43 said...

You are right on about Hillary. She is in trouble to Obama, but you forgot one major reason. The Oprah Factor.