Knots in My Stomach

Thanks Rusty for finding the website, something I’d forgotten about from the 2004 election. The data is in a bit of a confusing layout… Disregard the 2004 map and the first little table. He then has a comprehensive list of polls state-by-state.

My eyes are on Clinton:Obama. And I seriously have knots in my stomach here. Clinton is winning by at least 10% in most places. Arizona is 44% to 14%. In his home state of Illinois, Obama’s winning 37% to 33%.

The good news! Iowa, a key state, is slightly favoring Obama. But really, it’s a crapshoot: Obama, Edwards, and Clinton are neck-and-neck. Romney and Huckabee lead the Republican primary. At this point in time, though, my main concern is on the Democratic primary.

Here in New Hampshire, Obama’s trailing, 26% to 38%. This is not good. We’re #2 after Ohio.

Oklahoma’s weird. Obama’s got 13%, with Clinton and Edwards tied at 29%. (Don’t get me wrong: Edwards is good, but I don’t think he has a chance right now.)

The Republican one is interesting to take a gander at, too. In some places, Huckabee’s an also-ran. In Arizona, he got 3% of the votes. Once. In Iowa, he inches past Romney to take first place at 28%. Surprisingly (to me, at least), he’s doing the exact same thing in New Hampshire. With a quick skim (admittedly, much less than I’ve afforded the Democratic primary), it looks like Giuliani is king of the Republican race.

But a few thoughts:

  • I think the odds of Edwards winning the primary are slim. But he carries a substantial margin in some places. If he were to drop out and endorse Obama, the impact would be considerable. I worry that most of his fans would support Hillary, though.
  • I think we need to review the statistics after the Iowa caucus (January 3) and the New Hampshire primary (January 8). Everyone’s watching these, and the results will have a big impact. A strong lead by Obama may pull out some undecideds. Or, a strong lead by Clinton may freak out some people who will vote for Obama just to vote against her. (While I’d back her if she were our nominee, she is not my preferred Democrat, if you can tell.)
  • My super-early-money is on Clinton vs. Giuliani. And this concerns me greatly, because people voting on first impressions will probably favor Rudy without really doing a lot of research. (It also concerns me because I don’t particularly like either of them.)
  • The Republicans are getting weird results: Giuliani wins some places, Romney wins some places, McCain’s got a few wins (probably the least), and Huckabee, who I initially thought was the Kucinich of the Republicans, is actually leading in quite a few places. I’m really not sure who’s going to get their nomination.
  • As we saw in 2004, polls can be flaky. (I twice typed “pols” instead of “polls.” Freudian slip?) So this doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

One-sentence conclusion: It’s too soon to really have any idea how things will go, but Clinton has a discomforting majority in many states.

A few parting thoughts:

  • Read up on the Iowa caucus process if you’re not familiar. It’s quite foreign, really.
    • Apparently, only once in history (or once in five, put differently: an important distinction!) has the Straw Poll winner not matched the Iowa caucus winner. And this year’s Straw Poll winner was Romney. Both Giuliani and McCain screwed everything up by blowing the event off, and thus polled very poorly. I don’t know what this means: this might still tick off Iowa voters, tanking Giuliani in Caucus as well. But it also means that the data is probably skewed away from them right now, and if Iowa voters don’t have a vengeance, they may take votes away from Romney.
  • The Iowa Caucus is less than two weeks away, and the NH primary is less than three. Pay more attention to the statistics then.
  • Vote!

2 thoughts on “Knots in My Stomach

  1. Here’s an interesting comment about how the Caucus works from the site… It’s specifically referencing Edwards, but applies to all candidates:

    What is also significant is that he is the overwhelming second choice of the also-rans’ supporters. Does does it matter that a Kucinich voter has Edwards as his or her second choice? As it turns out, it does due to the way the Iowa Democratic caucuses work. When voters show up, they go to separate corners of the room to talk (“caucus”) over their favorites, then there is a plenary session in which a public vote is taken. Any candidate getting fewer than 15% of the votes (think: Kucinich) is deemed not viable and eliminated. Then the voters recaucus (if such a word exists). Where the Kucinich, Dodd, Biden, Gravel, and Richardson voters go now matters a lot. If they gravitate to Edwards, he could win the caucuses.

  2. My gut tells me we are in for surprises this year. If Huckabee wins Iowa that could impact other states. I tend to think that a lot of people are picking among people they think can win and winning Iowa has been known to change how a candidate is seen. I’m not feeling it for any of the Republican candidates right now. I wonder if it will really be decided before the convention. Part of me hopes not. Conventions are too boring when all is known a head of time.

    On the Democratic side I like Edwards. Obama sounds good in a lot of ways. Clinton scares me. The rest are lost in the noise. I couldn’t vote for Clinton but Edwards and Obama have a chance to convince me that they are not evil.

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