by Frank Schnittger
Thu Jan 3rd, 2008 at 11:31:20 PM EST
In my first blog on this subject I stated my objective to be as follows:
European Tribune - Who is really going to win the US Election?
This forum has seen a plethora of blogs about the US elections, their format and procedures, and the policies and personalities battling for victory. Many bloggers have given their personal views and some are campaigning for their favoured candidates. Some of the commentary seems to be laced with wishful thinking or unsubstantiated assertions as to what is or is not going to happen. I thought it might be useful to have a look at the actual polling data to see how that battle is shaping up.
The polls themselves, of course, are often not entirely objective or politically neutral and the electoral procedures of the Iowa Caucuses, in particular, make them notoriously unreliable. However for the purposes of this discussion I will use a website called Real Clear Politics to provide us with a summary of trends averaged over a wide range of polling companies.
I will summarise the data on that site under three main headings:
- Main Democratic Candidates
- Main Republican Candidates
- Head to heads contests between the main Democratic and Republican contenders
My conclusion was as follows:
European Tribune - Who is really going to win the US Election?
Its early days and all to play for, but my money (based on looking at the trends to date) is on a Clinton Huckabee contest with Clinton winning by a narrow majority. It's a bit like trying to predict the future by looking in the rear view mirror and we all know that big money and powerful vested interests are in the driving seat.
This Diary looks at the outcome of the Iowa Caucuses and more recent polling data to see if there is any reason to change that very early, and very tentative prediction.
1) Main Democratic Candidates
IOWA. The final polls and result (with 100% of precincts reporting)
Clinton 29 29
Obama 31 38
Edwards 26 30
Biden 5 1
Richardson 5 2
So what impacted on the final result?
Opinion poll trends:
Clinton had been holding steady at around 30% in the polls whilst Obama and Edwards shared 60% of the vote almost equally between them and seemed to be fishing in the same pond for votes. Obama rose as Edwards declined but a recent Edwards revival had put Obama's recent lead over Clinton in jeopardy. For Clinton to win, she needed to either increase her vote significantly or split the Obama/Edwards vote almost exactly down the middle. In the event she did neither. Obama sored and she dropped back to third place. Why was this?
Clinton is the most polarising of the three candidates having the most committed support, but also having the lowest second preference numbers of all three. Thus in precincts where either Obama or Edwards failed to secure the 15% threshold, or one or the other were a few votes short of securing an extra delegate, their supporters were more likely to support each other than Clinton. In addition the younger voter appear to have turned out for Obama where he reportedly received 57% of the under 30 vote.
NEW HAMPSHIRE. The key issue here is the degree of "bounce" Obama will get from his Iowa performance and the bandwagon effect that can create.
Opinion Poll Trends:
Clinton has consistently polled in the mid-30s in New Hampshire, well ahead of both Obama and Edwards. However both were eating into that lead to such an extent that Obama almost caught up with her last week.
In the last days few says, however, she has stretched her lead to 7% again. However Obama did 7% better than his final opinion poll ratings in the actual Iowa vote so he must now be favourite to win New Hampshire with the added boost of the Iowa win.
OTHER EARLY STATES. Clinton has maintained her c.20%+ lead in Michigan, Nevada, Florida, California and New Jersey but is statistically tied with Obama in South Carolina which should now swing Obama's way. However Obama probably needs to win New Hampshire to have a chance of winning in the other States.
NATIONAL. Clinton has increased her national lead over Obama from 18 to 21% with Edwards 31 points behind and appearing to be going nowhere. It will be interesting to see how much of an impact the Iowa result will have on these figures, but Edwards would appear to be in big trouble despite his second place in Iowa.
2) MAIN REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES
Final Actual (with 92% of Precincts reporting)
Huckabee 30 34
Romney 27 25
Thompson 12 13
McCain 12 13
Paul 7 10
Guilliani 6 4
Opinion Poll Trends
Huckabee recovered from a recent dip in the polls and stretched out to a very impressive 9 point win with McCain and Paul showing some momentum. Most commentators put Huckabee's success down to a very high turnout by his Christian social conservative supporters and also due to a strong showing amongst women voters.
McCain had shot up to overtake Romney by 2.5% even before the Iowa result, so Romney must now be in deep trouble. Giulliani, still barely in third place in the polls, has bombed to 10% and should now be overtaken by Huckabee who may now even threaten Romney's second place position.
OTHER EARLY STATES.
Everywhere you look Huckabee is gaining fast - even before the Iowa result - on
Romney in Michigan, on Romney and Giulliani (tied) in Nevada, on Romney in South Carolina where Huckabee already has a 6% lead, and on Giulliani in Florida and California.
NATIONAL. Giulliani's lead is now down to 3% on both McCain and Huckabee who look to have all the momentum. A win in New Hampshire for McCain looks increasingly likely which will consolidate his position. Romney is a further 2% back and he badly needs to win in Michigan and Nevada to stay in the race. Giulliani's campaign could be stillborn before it really even gets started.
3) NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC AND REPUBLICAN HEAD TO HEAD POLLS.
There is no change in the National Head to head pols with Edwards beating all Republican candidates, Obama beating all except McCain (Tied) and Clinton beating all except McCain who wins against her by a clear 5%.
The Iowa result puts Obama in the driving seat but he has a long way to go to overcome Clinton's 20% lead in many of the early states and in the national polls. Undoubtedly his Iowa win will give him a lot of momentum, but will it be enough? He heeds to win Hew Hampshire as well to have a real chance of catching Clinton in many of the other states. Edwards' campaign looks in real trouble unless he can spring a surprise in New Hampshire.
My prediction that Huckabee would win the Republican nomination looks a lot safer now, but McCain has real momentum, and if he can win New Hampshire, it's game on. Romney is in real trouble and Giulliani needs to covert his remaining slight national opinion poll lead into real votes in real primaries fast if he is to remain competitive.
The results of the last ET prediction poll were as follows:
My Prediction (not my preference) is that the next POTUS will be
. Clinton 47%
. Obama 11%
. Edwards 29%
. Giulliani 0%
. Huckabee 5%
. Romney 5%
. McCain 0%
. None of the above 0%
Lets see if this poll has a different outcome!