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Monday, December 31, 2007

Your Iowa Predictions?

Posted by on December 31 at 12:30 PM

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Originally posted on Dec. 30

Local politico Sandeep Kaushik is ready to throw down a prediction for the Iowa caucusesówith one big caveat:

Only a fool would try to predict the outcome of the Iowa caucuses. It's a suckers bet.

Having said that, Kaushik offers a prediction, and even a point-spread. He says:

Edwards wins Iowa cleanly:

Edwards 34

Clinton 27

Obama 25

His bet on the Republican side?

On the R side, I say Romney by five over Huckabee, who barely beats out a surging McCain (who becomes a major story line heading into NH). Thompson finishes fourth:

Romney 31

Huckabee 26

McCain 24

Thompson 10

Paul and Giuliani split the rest.

What say you, Slog readers? Put your own predictions and point-spreads in the comments. Or, if you consider yourself a notable local politico, send me an email with your predicted results and if I agree that your prediction is worth posting I'll put it in the body of this post, just like I did with Sandeep's.

UPDATE: Jenny Durkan, chair of the Edwards campaign in Washington State, writes in with her prediction:

I predict Eli buys.

And former local politico Grant Cogswell offers this:

I don't know if I qualify, maybe as an ex-politico, but far be it from me to make an ass of myself in public: I'm not going to get scientific with the numbers, but I think it will be Clinton over Obama by a nose with Edwards coming in third, and Huckabee.

(Don't have a prediction yet? Don't worry, there are still four three days before the caucuses, which is plenty of time to make bold declarations that will get you laughed at, or praised as a genius, on Jan. 4. I'll be letting this post ride the Slog every day through the Iowa caucuses, so start thinkingóor, if you're done thinking, get in here and take a public risk. In the world of political punditry, it's never too early to be wrong!)

CommentsRSS icon

Fuckabee 31
Mitton 21
John McPOW 20

Edwards 29
Obama 28
Clinton 28

Sandeep's like some kind of genius. I'm going with what he said.

Gore 32
Edwards 24
Obama 23
Clinton 21

Keep in mind, it's an unscientific guess.

Edwards 38, Obama 30, Clinton 27

Democrats: Edwards wins on second choices, but not by enough to compete with Clinton in NH.
Edwards 30
Clinton 28
Obama 25
Biden 7
Richardson 6
Others 4

Republicans: Folksy douchebag edges sleazy douchebag, better candidates lag behind.
Huckabee 29
Romney 27
McCain 14
Paul 10
Giuliani 9
Thompson 8
Others 3

Obama's crowds are two to three times larger than Edwards'. The rallies this past Friday are a good example. Obama had between 800-1000 packed into the River Center. Edwards had 300 over at the Putnam Museum.

Whether Obama can convert those crowds into delegates on caucus night is anyone's guess. Edwards, Obama, and Clinton are close to GOTV parity.

I think at the end of the day it will be a dead heat with a two person race in NH 5 days later.

Obama - 32
Edwards - 30
Clinton - 29

Romney has been whacking Huckabee for a few weeks now. McCain is actually campaigning in the state again. That said here are my GOP predictions.

Romney - 30
Huckabee - 29
McCain - 15

Knowing my native state, the most reactionary republican will win (Iowa Republicans are idiots) and the folksiest Dem will win.

So I predict Huckabee's on the Moron side, and Edwards for the normal people.

God, I miss the Caucus. My Dad used to take me when I was a little kid. My folks even hosted a few.

When it comes to folksy, you just can't beat John Kerry.

OK, so he wasn't folksy. But he was good at speechifying. Iowans love big words.

Besides, everybody thought Dean was going to win. I blame the Skull & Bones.

This just in: Richardson surging in Iowa!

Iowan @6, Dean drew huge crowds right up until the caucus day disaster in '04. It means exactly zero. That said, Edwards is very well positioned, and TMW's got it wrong - Obama has the second choicers fairly well in hand. I say:

Edwards: 31
Obama: 25 (if his folks turn out, he could rout, but they'll only turn out enough to be close)
Clinton: 24
The rest: Whatevs

For the R's:

Romney: 27
Huckabee: 24
McCain: 19
Thompson: 12
Giuliani: 8
Paul: 6
The rest: Whatevs

Bonus Ron Paul prediction: Iowa will be the beginning of a 2 month long paroxysm from the Paultards (a la Kucinichizens in '04) that they wuz robbed and the media (or some other cabal of "insiders") is hiding the truth of his widespread support. This will continue well into the 2012 campaign.

I hate disagreeing with Sandeep even a little. Do better predictions, Sandeep!

switzerblog @11:

Iowan @6, Dean drew huge crowds right up until the caucus day disaster in '04. It means exactly zero.

For point of comparison, isn't it true that Obama has a far superior Iowa organization to Dean's in 2004? If that is indeed the case, Obama has a far better chance of translating the huge crowds into actual caucus-goers.

The audacity of prognostication

Even with organization, no one ever wins relying on the youth vote.
Just sayin' I say every four years.....


Obama - 29
Edwards - 27
Clinton - 26

Huckabee - 31
Romney - 24
McCain - 18
Paul - 8 - he'll get 14 in N.H. but then it's all downhill.

What can I say that has not already been said: "Sandeep is a genius."

Obama: 40%


Edwards 38%
Obama 25%
Clinton 22%

This will tighten the race in New Hampshire. Dodd drops out and endorses Clinton.


Huckabee 23%
Romney 23%
McCain 19%
Paul 17%

The result will be inconclusive. Republicans will look at McCain as the "cure" for Pual.

Huckabee has surged because the R's cannot get excited about Romney, both for his history (he's a johnny-come-lately on most conservative issues) and because of his mormonism. They've started moving back toward Romney because, well, Huckabee is a nut. But, in the end, Huckabee is their nut, and I just can't see Iowan's getting excited about voting for a Mormon. They may stay home if they don't like their choices.

Huckabee 29
Romney 24
McCain 18

On the D side? Who knows. Suddenly it's a race. I think GOTV wins this one, and I give the organizational experience to the Clinton team.

"and TMW's got it wrong - Obama has the second choicers fairly well in hand." - switzerblog

Nah, I've seen several polls that all show Edwards leading second choice voters -- more importantly, he's leading big amongst second choicers from the lower candidates (i.e. the ones more likely to have to go to their second choice). I recall a recent Insider Advantage poll that had Edwards winning 42% of second-choicers, ahead of both Obama and Clinton by a good 14-15 points. He's carried a lot of goodwill there from his 2004 second place finish, and I think that's what is at the root of his support amongst these voters.

Of course, if Edwards loses Iowa he's done for. Obama might be able to still play in New Hampshire after losing Iowa, but if so he had better lose to Edwards and not Hillary. Hillary's good as gold if she takes Iowa.


Obama: 28
Clinton: 27
Edwards: 23
Biden: 8
Richardson: 4


Huckabee: 31
Romney: 28
McCain: 18
Giuliani: 9
Paul: 4

I just don't think Edwards will pull more than 3rd. He might be polling high, I think that Obama has more support, and even Clinton will do better than him.

I hate to say it but fuckabee seems to be gaining the most ground and that scares the fuck outta me.

Repubs: actually, no one cares what they get. But Mitt Romney won't get 1st and McCain may get 3rd.

Dems: Dodd or Biden considered on an up trend. :

Obama 28
Clinton 27
Edwards 24

Cognitive dissonance experiment:

how many folks are picking someone to win, whom they are not for?

(apol. to W. C. for that dangler up with which am happy to put).

I recently moved back to Iowa from Seattle and saw Obama last night. It isn't just the size of his crowds that matter, it's him. He's clearly found his voice over the last 10 months in Iowa and its compelling. He's engaging his crowds better than even Bill Clinton right now (I saw Clinton on Thursday). I've never seen anyone both be so at ease and personable and also be able to get a crowd so riled. Obama is going to pull this off folks. And in a state that is less than 5% African American.

Obama will win by at least 5. It won't matter whether Edwards or Hillary finishes second, as this will effectively kill Edwards campaign and Hillary will either survive 2nd or 3rd to fight on. But Iowa will serve up a race between Obama and Hillary for the rest of you to decide. Don't blow it.

Clinton v. McCain

My "Edwards wins cleanly" prediction will probably turn out to be embarrassingly off base (certainly wouldn't be the first time I've made an ass of myself), but here is the logic behind it:

On the Democratic side in Iowa, many of the polls right now are showing a three-way dead heat between Edwards, Clinton and Obama, although Obama appears to be slipping a bit and Edwards gaining ground (Clinton's numbers also appear to have risen a bit recently at Obama's expense, and she still leads slightly in some polls). That late momentum, both positive and negative, tends to get magnified in the last few days before the caucus as large numbers of caucusgoers make their final decisions. So if the recent trend holds that helps both Edwards and Clinton and hurts Obama.

More significant, though, is that the polling may be masking some Edwards advantages. The results that get reported on caucus night are based on the number of delegates each candidate wins rather than a raw tally of the number of people that caucus for each. And, as I understand it, the delegate allocation process has some distortions built into it that favor the less populous rural counties where Edwards is supposedly strong. Thus, for example, Edwards could win a precinct in rural western Iowa where 30 people turn up to caucus, and Obama could win a precinct in Des Moines where 60 people turn out, yet both could garner the same number of delegates (this bias helped Edwards and hurt Dean in 2004). What matters is not just how many people you turn out, but where you turn them out. If Edwards is as strong as has been reported in the rural counties, and all three candidates turn out the same number of supporters overall, he'll likely win.

The other big factor is the second choice issue. Caucus participants whose first choice candidate does not reach the viability threshhold in the initial round of the caucus move on to their second choice. As TMW pointed out above, the recent polling indicates that Edwards is the most common second choice of likely caucusgoers (and very few non-Clinton voters pick her as their second choice). That means Edwards could end up with a significant chunk of the support that the polls show going to second tier candidates like Biden, Richardson and Dodd.

Taken together, these factors -- last minute momentum, rural strength, and strong second choice support -- seem to point to a possible Edwards win on caucus night. Then again, the situation is so volatile that it could change completely over the next three days. Momentum could shift again, the polls that show Clinton farther ahead could turn out to be more accurate than the ones showing a tight race, turnout could be higher than expected (which helps Obama and, to a lesser extent, Clinton), Edwards' purported rural strength could turn out to be more hype than reality, etc. etc.

But right now, anyway, there is a plausible argument to be made that Edwards has a better-than-expected chance of winning Iowa. Remember, he did significantly better than expected in 2004. The day-of Jan. 19 caucus entrance poll in 2004 had him at 26 percent support; he finished at 32 percent. To be fair, probably about half of that six point discrepancy was due to Kucinich supporters caucusing for Edwards after the two men cut a last minute deal, but that still means that Edwards did three or four points better than the final pre-caucus polling indicated.

Anyway, if Edwards does win by, say, five points or more I think his campaign is right that he will get a major slingshot effect going into New Hampshire, and would immediately surge into the lead there (the national press, which clearly despises his harder-edged anti-corporate, anti-DC populism, would then go after him hard, but they only get five days to try to pull him back down to earth). Conversely, for Edwards even a close second is probably not good enough, given his relative paucity of resources and the media's intense (and journalistically dubious) fixation on Clinton v. Obama. Bottom line: he needs to win Iowa to have any realistic chance of getting the nomination. I am half-convinced that he will. We'll find out soon enough if he does, I guess.

No, I understand your logic, but I think you're misreading the fire in the belly aspect, Sandeep.

No love for Hillary? She has by 100 people (Hill 400, Obama 300, Edwards 2-something) the largest paid staff organization in Iowa, which doesn't mean much as a standalone fact, but it does put her campaign in a great position organizationally to mop up many of the 2nd choice voters.

Plus, for the few who were paying attention, Hillary had the best and, dare I say, most Presidential response to Bhutto's assassination. I'm betting that when it comes time to vote, Iowans will go for experience.

35 Hillary
27 Obama
22 Edwards


Dean's crowds were not as big as Obama's in Iowa. I supported Dean, and his crowds were small compared to Obama's. Dean did draw big crowds in other parts of the country though. How can we forget the 10,000 or so folks that packed Westlake Center?

Obama's field operation is much better than Dean's ever was. But then again, each of the three major candidates has a good operation. Dean basically had no organized campaign until the very end when his orange hatted army of college kids came to town for his "Perfect Storm." Dean's campaign also started imploding with dredged up clips of him criticizing the caucus process and his bone headed comments about the capture of S. Hussein. For what it's worth Joe Trippi was Dean's mastermind, and Joe Trippi is Edwards' primary consultant this time around.

TMW and Sandeep have corrected me on the second choice results - I wasn't accounting for the recent change in Edwards' fortunes, which have also had an effect on the second choice polling.

Iowan, you are right that Obama's organization is much better than Dean's (a local boy and good friend is running things in Council Bluffs, in fact). However, he's still depending on new caucus goers and young folks, and that's dangerous at best. BTW, I was one of the orange hatted army, but I assure you we weren't all college students! I came into Des Moines for the last week leading up to the caucus, and we were, um...a grey-haired bunch. :-)

I actually see Trippi as a liability for Edwards if he's actually involved in field stuff (which I don't think he is) - he was responsible for the mess Dean ran in Iowa. A genius in many ways, but woefully uninterested in others.

I'll reiterate what I said before - if Obama's crowds show up and know how to caucus (a big if on both counts), he wins in a rout. If they don't show or they're unsure of themselves, they'll be eaten alive by Clinton and Edwards.

Edwards wins the "most recognizable white guy" award, aka the Iowa caucuses.

Man, this is interesting! I envy Eli being able to go there tomorrow and I love the fact he'll be there after the game to get all post-mortem in the cornfields!

Thanks to Sandeep -- and especially the Iowans! -- for weighing in with their opinions and insights.

Normally, I'd say that an effective on-the-ground operation would carry the day (Clinton), but the better-aspect-of-our-natures vibe around Obama seems like it could really translate into votes.

That said, @30's point is one I, too, cannot get out of my head. I'm simply not sure I've seen enough of a culture shift in the USA for me to honestly believe an African-American or a woman can win the office of president, even when people say they are starved for change.

The good news is, over the next couple weeks, we'll find out.

Totally whiffing it here, more'n likely, but here's my best guess:

Edwards: 32
Clinton: 28
Obama: 24

Iowa gave us "electable" Kerry. I expect them to give us "electable" Edwards.

Well, keshmeshi, there's still time to draft Gore then ...

Some thoughts from an Iowan (god, I love the caucuses!)...

First, the Des Moines Register releases its final poll at midnight tonight. A lot of people consider that to be THE definitive poll.

Second, to Sandeep's argument @25 about the urban/rural split and Edwards, it's true that such distortion exists. However, Edwards benefitted A LOT from getting the Register's Democratic endorsement in 2004--that probably helped him far more than the delegate allocation distortions.

Third, weather is supposed to be pretty good on Thursday. That should help turnout. The big unknown is, how many first-time caucusgoers will actually show up on Thursday night? Remember, the Orange Bowl is on, caucusing takes up an evening, and perhaps most importantly, almost every single college in the state will still be out of session on the 3rd. That could hurt the Obama campaign in particular.

Fourth, the second-choice issue is so intriguing, and I'm surprised that candidates don't do more to overtly attract second-choices. I tend to think that the Kucinich people will likely go Obama or Edwards (part of the whole "change" message) and that Dodd and Biden people will likely go Hillary (part of the whole "experience" message). The Richadson people could be the deciding factor. Rumor is that Richardson really wants to be Hillary's VP, so he might try to direct his people in that direction.

Incidentally, I teach political science at a college here in Iowa, and explained how caucuses work to my students earlier this month. Their collective reaction? That this system is bat-shit crazy.

Just back from Iowa and saw Obama and Hillary doing their campaing thing. There's no question who's a better speaker--Obama by a long shot--or who has bigger more enthusiastic crowds--again, Obama. Friends who saw Edwards said it was incredibly dull, and he is undeniably Breck Girl still. But it does all come down to organization (and who gets the kiss of death Register endorsement. That shit always means 2nd place, Hillary!). That said, Obama's organization seemed incredibly, uh, organized--precinct captains identified, phone numbers handed out diligently, and repetition repetion repetition of where to go and how to do it. And also a big emphasis on second choice being okay. Unfortunately, there was also quite a bit of confusion about whether or not Obama was a Muslim. As I've been told, if the unpolled folks who only use cell phones caucus, Obama wins by a landslide. If they don't, Edwards and Hillary split the pot.

I think talking about politics and polls is next to worthless.

Iowa on the other hand throws a kick-ass state fair! I saw the world's largest sow, saw a guy anally wipe the asshole of a prize horse after it crapped, signed a mini-van sized postcard to the troops in Wimp Factor Bush Sr.s ongong CIA stormwar, attended and participated in a hatchet throwing demo, and....hmmmm, that's about. best of all, I LEFT!

Iowa is also home to the once great Frat Boy sports bar band DR. NO. They do an excellent version of Neil Young's "why do I keep Fucking Up?" Has inspired a cover version for the next and "last" Gr.Klueless practice, of the post '94 suicide "PIECE OF CRAP!"


Clinton -- 36%
Edwards -- 32%
Obama -- 22%


Huckabee -- 32%
Romney -- 29%
McCain -- 18%
Giuliani -- 10%
Paul -- 5%

Any way you look at it, though, this is an incredibly undemocratic system, and the people that get nominated are going, at best, to make for a "least of two evils" kind of decision.

Gravel 0
Kucinich 1
Dodd 1

Keyes 0
Koenig 0
Smith 0

Maybe, b,ma, but given the choice between two evils, I always choose the one I haven't tried before. Ba-dum-bum (with apologies to Mae West).


Clinton -- 45%
Edwards -- 55%
Osama -- (Negative) 87%


Fuckabee -- (Negative) 5%
Romney -- (Negative)29%
McCain -- 38%
Giuliani -- 62%
Paul -- 0%

Osama Obama is a giant QUEEFING DOUCHE BAG!

Congrats, Eli -- you got us all the way to 40 posts before a Slogger came in and lost bowel control.

Ahh, well, just have the Public Intern mop it up, and we now return to our regularly scheduled SANE programming.

Well, I hope to god we don't have another republican president, at least for a few years.

But honestly, I still don't see the US as "ready" or "willing" to have either a woman or an ethnic minority as president. I know either one of them could do the job admirably...I just don't see Joe-Six-Pack-Nascar-Man voting for either one. And that's too bad--because the republicants will be able to sneak up on a divided democratic party and take over the lead.

Welcome to another 4 years of Bush protegee.

Sandeep's prediction seems right from my distant vantage point here in Seattle. I think Obama could fizzle in Iowa but come back later. Edwards could win here and fizzle in later primaries. I do predict it will all be over before the Washington State caucuses.

Clinton 31%
Edwards 27%
Obama 23%

I'm giving up on percentages after this, but here's your order:


Sandeep and Switzer,

Doesn't this bring back memories? I also was one of those orange-hatters and hardly was a college student-although not quite grey. Both of you give the right synopsis of the game in Iowa so no need to repeat here except for one omission-Clinton has the Vilsack team.

Kerry came from behind because of organization, the Vilsack team, and the old-party establishment element, all of which favor Clinton in this. It is hard to say if Edwards or Clinton have more momentum at this point, but it is clear that Obama does not. I give it to Hillary especially with her recently frequent trips into the rural areas.

Hillary 31
Edwards 29
Obama 27

Look, front page of the Wall Street Journal today has a few articles that point out the cold hard anti-GOP truth.

First: Democratic Voters' Fervor Stirs Republican Worries (above the fold, in a box) - basically points out the very obvious energy gap in all the GOP campaigns and the willingness of all the Dems to rip the guts out of all the GOPers.

Second: an article on how even the most pro-GOP companies are giving to the Dems and the Dem governors, which basically translates into a 6-8 foot Blue Wave that will make 2006's 2 foot Blue Wave look like a "surge".

Doesn't matter which of the evolution-denying combat-avoiding anti-Middle Class GOPers "wins" - they've had the oxygen sucked out of the room and are going on their meth-induced fumes.

We're talking slaughtered.

Even the pro-GOP WaPo points out that in N.H. more than 85 percent of the independents refuse to even consider voting for a Repub.

You can take that to the polls and spin it however you want, but those are the real facts on the ground.

I think the press has fanned two misconceptions - which may or may not be misconceptions come Thursday. First, that like 2004, Edwards will close strong and this time win it. The second, Obama is depending heavily on college age caucus goers and new caucus goers. In both cases, I think they are manufactured story lines with some foundation in truth. For Edwards, I am sure his camp thinks they closed strong last time they can close strong this time, but win. However, the dynamics are considerably different. Last time, you had Dean imploding and Gephardt whacking Dean all over the place. It created a perfect opportunity for Edwards, the sunny optimist, and Kerry, the electable one, to move into the first and second place on caucus night. I don't see those dynamics this time. If anything, Edwards populist fire breathing is a turn off. I heard Edwards a few times over the summer and he isn't the same candidate. His anti-lobbyist/corporate screed seems artificial given his hedge fund history and help from 527's. Iowan's don't like being told by outside groups and volunteers from other states what to do. Edwards late campaign reliance on union volunteers from other states and 527 funded advertising resembles the late influx of Dean volunteers from around the country.

As for Obama, The rallies I have attended are not overflowing with naive college kids, but they are overflowing with a broad cross section of Iowans. I think the college kid story line is born out of the Dean debacle and the Obama campaign's push to have college kids caucus for him in their hometown and not at their college town. This doesn't smack of a starry eyed belief that the youth vote will put Obama over the top. It is, however, an argument and an approach from a campaign that understands caucus math and understands that a few people can turn a precinct caucus.

Edwards - 32
Clinton - 28
Obama - 24

turn out is key, not crowds, plus Edwards being 2d choice....


The McCain, Rudy everyone wins a few, GOP goes on to brokered convention.
Democrats: HRC and Obama duke it out, each wants Edwards' block to get over top asap, Edwards likely for VP. He has to make a deal for that, if behind. Biden for state. Del. too small for Biden to be VP. Preemptively give Bloomberg treasury. Webb for defense if he'll take it.

Hopefully promote Lieberman 1/21/09 to classy position like Ambassador to UN, to get him the hell out of the Senate.

The final DSM Register poll is up:

Obama - 32
Clinton - 25
Edwards - 24




Better spot for Joe would be the Court of St. James - he could spend four or eight years pissing off the Brits and sad truth is they'd think he was one of their own. Connecticut residents must be having serious second thoughts.

Make that the Court of St. James's.

And for the DMR Poll for the repubs:

Huckabee: 32
Romney: 26
McCain: 13

Greg Rodriguez @ 45, care to revise and extend your remarks? "It is hard to say if Edwards or Clinton have more momentum at this point, but it is clear that Obama does not."

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