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December 22, 2007

Christmas Present for Political Junkies?

Here's more evidence that it's Real Clear Politics    as I mentioned in my last post. This entry over at The National Review's Campaign Spot from earlier in the week lays out an interesting scenario and underscores the wide open nature of the Republican presidential primary. What if??
Huckabee wins Iowa, McCain wins New Hampshire, Romney wins Michigan, Thompson wins South Carolina; and Giuliani wins Florida.  First five caucuses/primaries -- five different winners!  It probably won't happen because of the momentum factor -- winning in IA or NH could catapult someone to front runner status in the next contest, but who knows.

And I haven't even mentioned the Democratic field.

The 2008 presidential race is an early Christmas gift for political junkies!

Giuliani's Nomination Path - Tougher, But Not Blocked
Let me offer a countertheory to the "Rudy is in freefall" storyline offered by Time's Michael Duffy. At the base of it is my longtime theory that Rudy will remain in okay shape until it's a two man race, and that for him to win the nomination, he needs the last remaining Not Rudy candidate to be too bruised to triumph.

Iowa, for now, appears likely to be won by Mike Huckabee. Maybe Romney comes back, but for now, assume the polls don't shift much between now and January 3.

New Hampshire, for now, could be won by Romney, or perhaps McCain. Let's say McCain takes it.

Michigan, for now, could be Romney, could be Giuliani. Let's say Romney wins it.

South Carolina... could be Huckabee, could be Romney, could be the site of Thompson's last stand. Let's say Thompson pounds his Southern themes and sneaks out with one or two percent.

Under that scenario, nobody's the frontrunner by the time they get to Florida, which Rudy is still leading right now. Everybody could (and arguably should)  have a win under their belts. In addition to each one of his rivals controling a faction of the pie, they'll probably have higher disapproval numbers, as they will have been the target of attacks for several weeks as Giuliani faded into the background.

Since he surged, Huckabee has been getting much tougher coverage, as any reader of this blog has seen. Romney's still getting hit from a lot of different directions - his dad and Martin Luther King, his immigration positions, the usual flip-flop charges, etc. If McCain wins New Hampshire, you'll see him get coverage that's much tougher. His foes will start reciting immigrationdeal-campaignfinancereform-gangof14-votedagainstBushtaxcuts over and over again. You'll see every picture he's ever taken with Ted Kennedy dominating the airwaves. If Fred Thompson surges, he'll get knocked around, too. And there's still some possibility of the murder-suicide effect; if any candidate goes too negative on another, the mud splashes on both of them.

So it's possible that by the time we get to Florida, most of the other Big Five have won only one or two states and has higher negatives from several tough primary battles. Rudy can swoop in, win delegate-rich Florida, and then try to execute his big state Super Duper Tuesday strategy, and pound home, electability, electability, electability...

It's not a perfect path to the nomination, but right now, no one has one...

12/20 04:17 PM

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