Sunday, December 30, 2007

On A Limb

With the Iowa caucus coming this week, all the political pundits are busy explaining "if X wins, Y is out" and pointing to various past elections as examples of why their "wisdom" is so "wise". There are a brazillion different polls the pundits point to, to "prove" that their "wisdom" is truly "wise."
I think they're wrong.
This election cycle has a very different dynamic that the traditional blowhards appear to be ignoring: the schedule.
In previous election cycles, the primaries and caucuses stretch out over months, and early momentum was the deciding factor. But the schedule has changed, with 20 primaries on February 5th. This creates a very different dynamic, where any lead from Iowa or New Hampshire can be overcome (this is true for both parties). The "main" candidates merely need to survive the early states with a semblence of credibility to focus on the larger states of their choice on "mega-super-Tuesday", where the nominations are truly at stake. Money will certainly be a factor, but the application choices of that money could be a deciding factor. The candidates who do the best job of targeting their strong states could end up in the lead.
I'm not going to attempt to predict who the new dynamic favors, but I'm tired of the beltway pundits trying to declare the winner after the first inning (or quarter, depending on your choice of sports metaphor). Looking at all the polls, what stands out to me is not who leads which poll, but that in each party no candidate has a clear lead. Which means that a majority of voters in each party will be making a second choice as the field narrows. That is where it will get interesting. The delegate split after Feb. 5th will either reveal a clear nominee for each party, or if it's still close a scramble during the later primaries.
As I said, I'm not going to predict who this favors. But I will predict that the vast majority of beltway pundits will be proven wrong. Not that they'll admit it.
Added: Andy Borowitz has written the best line I've read on Iowa:

With less than a week to go before the Iowa caucuses, 61% of likely voters agreed with the statement, “If one more stupid pollster asks me one more retarded question I swear I will go postal on his ass, I am not kidding.”



Distributorcap said...

if the pundits stopped the if-then-else game they would have nothing to talk about.....

if Hillary beats Obama while Huckapoo noses out Mittens in the sixth.

they are ALL a bunch of old nags -- and can Chris Matthews PLEASE be lead to the glue factory

FranIAm said...

It scares me that I am sick of it all and it is not even 2008 yet.

Mauigirl said...

That is the problem - and it's just going to keep repeating over and over throughout the campaign.