Thursday, December 20, 2007

Handicapping the GOP

I find election polling to be an utterly interesting endeavor. In that vein, here's a good site for catching up on the latest polls as well as seeing trend lines (which are generally more indicative than individual polls):

And based on the current trend lines, here's a fearless prediction for the GOP:

Huckabee wins Iowa and South Carolina, Romney wins NH, Maine, and Michigan, Guiliani wins Nevada, Florida, and New York, Paul, Thompson, and McCain win nothing. Race most likely to change between now and then: California. Guiliani is trending downward with both Romney and Huckabee up.

What does this mean. A candidate needs 1,259 delegates to get the Republican nomination. Here's the breakdown of the current primaries and their delegates:

Iowa: 40
Wyoming: 14
NH: 12
Michigan: 30
Nevada: 34
South Carolina: 24
Florida: 57
Maine: 21

Unlike normal years, the primaries in WY, NH, MI, SC, and FL were all penalized for moving their primaries up without permission. That means the value listed above is actually 50% of the normal value, and, as such, significantly alters the early vote dynamic. These primaries are now of less import than in previous years.

That said, the total based on my predictions for the pre-Super Tuesday (Feb 5) primaries would be the following (with the percent accrued for the nomination and Wyoming excluded as there is no readily avialable poll data):

Huckabee: 64 (5%)
Romney: 63 (5%)
Guiliani: 91 (7%)
Everyone Else: 0*

(*On the Democrat side, some states award delegates on a proportional or district level. Don't think the GOP does the same but could very well be wrong meaning that the less important candidates could get a few delegates here or there.)

As you can see, January, while important, holds much greater symbolic value than actual value. And, based on current trends, it's likely that Guiliani will hold a slight edge at the end of the month. But, the nomination will largely be decided on Feb 5 and there just isn't poll data available to make further predictions. However, California (173) and NY (101) are big deals. If Guiliani continues to collapse in California, it is unlikely he can win the nomination.

One thing seems clear: This is looking to be a very tight race on the GOP side. I expect that by Super Tuesday, the "everyone else" category will be empty and that will help clear some things up as those votes will be converted into votes for legitimate prospects.

(Note: This site marginally contributed to this post:

Tomorrow: Democratic candidates



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