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BruceMcF:
.. is that it treats the poll positions in different states as if they were independent of results in other states.

The reason I emphasised the early states over the national standing is because they are, as you suggest, crucial to building momentum and thus influencing future states. Clinton's 18% national lead (just increased to 19%) is so much "paper profits" until she actually starts cashing it in in real votes in real primaries.

Real Clear Politics has Clinton's lead in Iowa now increasing to 3.3% (from Edwards) and 3.5% from Obama which is obviously still surmountable by either, but it is hard to see Edwards make up a 15% point gap in New Hampshire even if he does win Iowa. Edwards and Obama seem to be cannibalizing each other (when one goes down the other goes up) and so one of them needs to pull well clear of the other to have a chance of beating Clinton.

Of course Clinton could easily still lose both Iowa and New Hampshire but she is the only candidate who would remain viable after doing so.  Her 20% lead in all the other early states (bar South Carolina) gives her a huge cushion against possible "bandwagon" and other defections.

By contrast one of Obama or Edwards really has to pull well ahead of the other to sustain a viable challenge as they seem to be fishing in the same pool. So long as they are tightly bunched, Clinton wins.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Dec 29th, 2007 at 08:47:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... poll, and the trendlines of pooled polls tend to lag the trendline of the underlying population by half the width of the pooling time window.

There is a distinct difference for Senator Clinton in finishing second and finishing third in Iowa ... finishing third in Iowa will result in her taking a substantial hit in New Hampshire, and with the short time frame, there is time for exactly one cycle of post-IA polling and poll results before the NH primary.

That's why my scenario one was, suppose that one (of six possible) configurations, followed by Senator Clinton finishing third in NH behind a surging Edwards chasing a rising Obama.

As far as a 15% gap ... if that's the gap, that's just at the edge of the "Iowa bump" that can be received in NH from a strong victory in Iowa. But in a three way race, he only needs an eight point bump with an eight point drop by Senator Clinton to cross into second place, and with his "third, two lengths back" position all of 2007, a second place finish would be positive news for Edwards ... obviously, though, winning NH would be massive for Obama.

However, that's NH ... where there has been a lot of political engagement for months. For the balance of the country,

Her 20% lead in all the other early states (bar South Carolina) gives her a huge cushion against possible "bandwagon" and other defections.
... if she finishes third in both Iowa and New Hampshire, her 20% leads vanish everywhere except in the Northeastern Feb 5 states.

The Iowa caucuses is when everyone else starts tuning in, and if it upsets people's vague impression that she's the front-runner, and that is then confirmed in NH, all of her campaign messaging from 2007 is flushed down the dunny.

OTOH, if she wins IA, she wins NH, and she has the nomination in the bag, so while she is the least likely to win the IA caucuses, she definitely has the clearest run to the nomination still.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Dec 29th, 2007 at 10:47:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm more used to following Irish and European elections where a 5% swing is considered big.  Obviously if Iowa can swing NH by 8% in a few days you are talking about a far more volatile situation - surprising to me given the level of engagement there for months.  They must be down to the last few voters they haven't met yet!

I wouldn't be as surprised with bigger swings in later states where voters haven't really engaged yet and are just parroting media received wisdoms.  Most people like to back a winner.

However my purpose in writing this diary was to try to have a more evidenced based discussion of likely outcomes and obviously polls don't measure everything - and the RCP ones don't show undecideds, most likely voters etc.

That is partly why I plumped for Huckabee - despite conflicting evidence - because of a sense that the "Christian" vote will have a much higher turnout.

You have to overlay the bare figures with a bit o local savvy which I simply don't have, but am interested in acquiring more of!  Many thanks for your informed comments.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Dec 29th, 2007 at 11:10:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... coming out of IA ... but I have seen arguments that that was composed of a bump coming out of Iowa and then a success in following-up in New Hampshire, where there won't be much time for the second part this year.

In any event, a 12% immediate bump following a strong IA victory would be no real surprise. However, the challenge for Edwards coming first in New Hampshire is that even if he finishes first, the second place candidate could well get a small bump out of beating the third place candidate, so Edwards could be chasing a rising target, in either case.

The intangible there is that Edwards framing and campaign messaging is the most direct one to get across to a Democratic primary audience, so he might be able to get more than the ordinary NH bump just out of the flurry of coverage the evening of and the morning after an IA win.

But right now, its just too close to call for a caucus, given that even if we knew the first preferences going in, we wouldn't know the results coming out. Add to that the fact that both Clinton and Obama are banking on large numbers of supporters who have never caucused before, and Thursday can't come soon enough for me.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Dec 29th, 2007 at 11:52:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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