Thursday, January 03, 2008

Caucus Night Musings

As I write this (10:10 p.m.), CNN is projecting Obama winning for the Dems and Huckabee winning handily on the red side. I've only had half an ear out this week, but with that caveat, a few thoughts on What Comes Next.

Is Richardson now on Obama's Veep Shortlist? YDS reported that Bill "The Resume" Richardson urged his supporters over to Obama. One has to wonder if Richardson contacted Obama ahead of time and if an unspoken understanding exists there. With Richardson polling at 5% his support meant a lot tonight. This is premature, but Richardson on the ticket would vest an Obama administration with his experience and talent and blunt the likely impact of his oft-rumored baggage.

Needless to say, no such understanding exists between Kucinich and Obama. The only deal one makes with Kucinich along these lines is, "Well, OK Dennis but you supply the ten-foot pole"

Edwards is in deep fertilizer. He's been campaigning in Iowa since around Nov. 10, 2004. If this had been his night, the money would finally have started coming in. Instead, this looks to me like he's topped out at around 30%. The big money is likely to think so as well. In any event, if he doesn't pull out a win in South Carolina, it's a two-person race.

Who will be the next Dem out? Fourth place was a weak 2% from Richardson. The entire second tier is on death watch from here on out. Taegan Goddard notes a Politico report that Dodd promised to quit if he lost, and Jerid notes evidence that Dodd isn't participating in Ohio.

The most interesting bit of exit poll data will be where the second tier votes go. Koosh aside, there's close to 15% up for grabs there. My impression is that those votes are looking for Hillary alternatives.

Mostly that's my impression because it's the case with me. I was pulling for Biden up 'til now. Yeah, I know. Richardson lost me when he started promising to bring the troops home next week. I've always liked Biden and think he has the best foreign policy mind in the field. I didn't hope for much -- just a strong fourth. Now that he's done, I'm all about Obama.

Is Fred Thompson really quitting? MCDAC notes a report that he is. OK, he finished a distant third, but he did finish third, and above the surging McCain. New Hampshire is between McCain and Romney, but Thompson could conceivably sneak into a win in So. Carolina. Novak reported some time ago (can't find it just now) that conservative Baptists say Huckabee is on the wrong side of that chuch's civil war. I suspect, based on little more than gut, that more of the SC evangelical vote is Baptist and more of the Iowa evangelical vote is non-denominational. If the Baptist vote is split, who to they run to?

Add to that sort of indication that Huckabee's hold on evangelicals is less than complete the fact that the Club for Growthers will now pull out the long knives. Oh, and the fact that the Republicans never nominate mavericks. Huckabee race is nearly run.

The only thing we know tonight about Giuliani's strategy of giving up on the early states is that the giving up part had the expected effect. Leading the national polls and getting less than 5%? Brutal.


Anonymous said...

Excellent wrap-up. I think Biden is out as well as Dodd, although Biden may take a little longer to announce it. Giuliani looks like an empty shell of his former self - how can there be such a gulf between national GOP poll respondents and Iowa GOP caucus goers? I'm shocked that the fabric of the universe can withstand the strain.