Free-for-All 2008: Caucus-Day Edition



Iowa Republicans will vote tonight. Iowa Democrats will argue and stand around in clumps. The rest of us will wait with bated breath.

What are the trends heading into the first ballots of oh-eight? Obama and Edwards have closed on Hillary in Iowa - but remain far behind everywhere else. She can ride this out. If she finishes second, then she's within expectations and heading to friendlier terrain. If she finishes third, the other two will split the anti-Hillary vote in New Hampshire, and she'll regain command of the race.

On the Republican side, there's a lot less energy; marginal candidates could be aided by spillover get-out-the-vote efforts from Democrats. Most caucus-goers are still fundamentally unsatisfied with the choice of Romney or Huckabee. With McCain bounding up in polls, and rumors that Fred Thompson will drop out and endorse McCain, watch for McCain to garner lots of support as the "I'm-not-Mike-or-Mitt" candidate.

If McCain is indeed surging, as it seems, he did it not a moment too late. In fact, it may be too early: Romney has already turned on him. Conservative primary voters such as myself have been drawn to McCain as the process has worn on. Though we know we disagree with him on some important issues, he seems far more genuine and uncompromising than the other candidates. Huckabee is an amateur. Romney has been far too polished and political - and doesn't seem like he has any momentum toward a national election. So we've taken a collective second look at McCain, and found him refreshingly familiar. He's succeeded at staying under the radar - until this week - and his record hasn't come under attack like Huckabee's and Romney's. Whether Romney can eviscerate him in the five days before New Hampshire voters cast the first real votes of the primary remains to be seen.

Before being shocked by the chatter numbers below, note that since it is now 2008, the "2008" boolean qualifier I had previously used when searching candidate names has passed its usefulness. The result is more hits - for everyone. There is no qualitative difference in the results, but the numbers cannot be compared with last month's.

Rank Candidate ChatterRank Change
R.1 Gov. Mike Huckabee 41,113+3
R.2 Gov. Mitt Romney 38,4050
R.3 Sen. John McCain 28,0160
R.4 Rudy Giuliani 27,530-3
R.5 Rep. Ron Paul 16,387+1
R.6 Fred Thompson 14,909-1
R.7 Rep. Tom Tancredo 2,741+1
R.8 Rep. Duncan Hunter 1,656-1
R.9 Newt Gingrich 486+1
R.10 Sen. Sam Brownback 303-1
....................................................................................................
D.1 Sen. Hillary Clinton 56,4290
D.2 Sen. Barack Obama 45,151+1
D.3 Sen. John Edwards 38,302-1
D.4 Al Gore 13,064+3
D.5 Sen. Joseph Biden 10,186+1
D.6 Sen. Christopher Dodd 9,705-2
D.7 Gov. Bill Richardson 8,846-2
D.8 Rep. Dennis Kucinich 4,1070
D.9 Mike Gravel 7720

Notes: The Chatter Rankings are created by searching each candidate's name - now without the "2008" qualifier - in the Google News database.

See recent graphs of the Chatter Rankings plus Chatter Rankings from December, November, October, September, August, July, June, May, April, March, February, January, December 2006, November, October, September, August, July, June, May, April, March, February, December 2005, August, July, June, and May.

The monthly prediction...

Jan 3, '08: McCain & Thompson over Clinton & Richardson
Dec '07: Clinton & Richardson over Giuliani & Thompson
Nov '07: Clinton & Richardson over Giuliani & Thompson
Oct '07: Clinton & Richardson over Giuliani & Thompson
Sep '07: Giuliani & Thompson over Clinton & Richardson
Aug '07: Giuliani & Thompson over Clinton & Warner
Jul '07: Giuliani & Thompson over Clinton & Warner
Jun '07: Clinton & Warner over McCain & Romney
May '07: Clinton & Warner over McCain & Romney
Apr '07: Clinton & Warner over McCain & Giuliani
Mar '07: Clinton & Obama over McCain & Giuliani
Feb '07: Clinton & Obama over McCain & Giuliani
Jan '07: Clinton & Obama over McCain & Giuliani
Dec '06: Clinton & Obama over McCain & Giuliani
Nov '06: McCain & Giuliani over Clinton & Warner
Oct '06: McCain & Giuliani over Clinton & Warner
Sep '06: McCain & Giuliani over Clinton & Warner
Aug '06: McCain & Giuliani over Clinton & Warner
Jul '06: Clinton & Warner over Allen & Romney
Jun '06: Clinton & Warner over Allen & Romney
May '06: Clinton & Warner over Allen & Romney
Apr '06: Clinton & Warner over Allen & Romney
Mar '06: Clinton & Warner over Allen & Rice
Feb '06: Clinton & Warner over Allen & Rice

Posted by Chops at January 3, 2008 12:08 PM
Comments
Comment #242061


Chops: A very small minority of Iowa Democrats and an even smaller minority of Iowa Republicans will caucas tonight. They, this year as in the past, are being allowed to have way to much power and influence on the primary process.

Posted by: jlw at January 3, 2008 1:10 PM
Comment #242066

jlw, I don’t think the Democratic nomination has every been so front loaded by the insiders. Not only what you say about Iowa, but this year the South Carolina Democratic primary is being held on a Saturday!

Basically Jim Clyburn will choose the South Carolina winner as soon as he gets the NH results. If he can’t pull the trigger for Obama then Hillary will lock up the nomination by the end of church on Sunday the 19th. If he does endorse Obama then Hillary will have to crank up the Clinton war machine; that should be fun to watch.

There is no longer a real leader of the GOP in SC as in years past. Carol Campbell, who locked it up for GW in 2000, past away in 2005. The Governor isn’t particularly popular, and Lindsey pissed a lot of people off on Iraq and the judges (he supports McCain). DeMint (supporting Mitt) doesn’t have a lot weight either as he is not a porker. That leaves Gresham Barrett who is supporting Thompson, a guy that could be out of the race by 12:00 tonight. Build some momentum in New Hampshire and SC is yours. History says win SC and you win the GOP nomination, but this could be a history shattering year on many fronts

Posted by: George in SC at January 3, 2008 1:55 PM
Comment #242099

Chops, for a price I will give you the inside on a nag for the Kentucky Derby, too! Be worth the same as these odd makers in your article.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 3, 2008 5:51 PM
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