Friday, February 3, 2006

Free-For-All-2008: Iowa Blues

The Sacramento Bee takes a look at Iowa, which already has more candidate action than most states will see throughout the entire race. Unlike New Hampshire - a bellwether state which went for Bush in 2000 and Kerry in 2004 - Iowa really has no business as an indicator of American opinion. And more and more people are realizing this.

John McCain stayed out of the Iowa Caucuses altogether in 2000. Of course, as Iowans point out, he then lost to Bush handily. He hasn't visited recently either, but fourteen other non-candidates have. Most telling is that the most active visitors are those with low or non-qualifying Chatter Rankings.

For Democrats, the race is even less meaningful. With no black or urban vote to speak of, Iowa is unlikely to propel a little-known Democrat to victory in the big cities. Furthermore, Governor Tom Vilsack may try to parlay his governorship in Des Moines into a national candidacy by taking advantage of the Caucuses, which would make them all the more meaningless for other Dems.

Candidates, of course, have to use whatever they have. Northeastern politicians take aim at New Hampshire; moderate Democrats try to leverage Iowa into "electability". Mitt Romney - tied for second place with four visits to Iowa - will try to duplicate the Kerry Strategy: use the hometown advantage to take New Hampshire and his mainline party creds to take Iowa. Two early wins put Kerry ahead for good, so it's not a bad strategy for the primaries.

Politicians who have little play in either state scrounge around for other methods. McCain, for instance, is stumping Michigan (but so are Romney and others). Lefty Democrats are trying to reorganize the primary process to give their boys a chance.

And in keeping with the new year, I'll introduce a new feature: the monthly prediction:

Feb '06: Clinton & Warner over Allen & Rice.

Please post your predictions in the comments!

Rank Candidate ChatterRank Change
R.1 Sen. John McCain 9030
R.2 Secy. Condoleezza Rice 891+2
R.3 Sen. Bill Frist 6400
R.4 Gov. Mitt Romney 596-2
R.5 Gov. George Pataki 489+1
R.6 Sen. George Allen 293+3
R.7 Sen. Sam Brownback 268+4
R.8 Rudy Giuliani 229-3
R.9 Gov. Jeb Bush 139-2
R.10 Newt Gingrich 1210
R.11 Gov. Mike Huckabee 92+1
R.12 Sen. Chuck Hagel 40-4
D.1 Sen. Hillary Clinton 2,3200
D.2 Gov. Mark Warner 1,080+2
D.3 Sen. John Kerry 841-1
D.4 Sen. John Edwards 396+1
D.5 Sen. Harry Reid 378+4
D.6 Sen. Joseph Biden 2500
D.7 Sen. Russ Feingold 195-4
D.8 Howard Dean 191-1
D.9 Sen. Evan Bayh 179+3
D.10 Sen. Barack Obama 1630
D.11 Gov. Tom Vilsack 1530
D.12 Gov. Bill Richardson 139-4

Notes: The Chatter Rankings are created by searching each candidate's name plus "2008" in the Google News database. This month's tested-but-not-qualifying list is Tom Daschle, Haley Barbour, Wesley Clark and Tom Tancredo. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dick Cheney continued to qualify, but as cannot and will not (respectively) run in 2008, and tend to make news for largely non-election reasons, they were left out.

See the Chatter Rankings from December, August, July, June, and May.


brainhell said...

An interesting 'statistic' you provide here. Thanks. I think a lot of the Hillary chatter is Republicans frothing about how they hate her. So, as you probably have already said, chatter does not indicate who might win.

gary said...

The More I think about it, the more I think MItt Romney is in a great position to win the nomination. He's right next to New Hampshire, (where if you remember, he saved the lives of some drowning vacationers a few years ago), has a famous name in Michigan, so if he can get a presence in Iowa, will have three major early primaries/caucasses in his advantage.

Chops said...

I'm really rooting for Romney. Partly hometown bias, partly disgust with the Beltway GOP, but mostly I like the way he works and I think he'd be a quietly firm, intelligent Chief Executive.

Adora said...

Gov. Mark Sanford + 2008 = 198

Go Sanford! (He brought pigs to the SC capitol last year to protest pork) If Frist weren't a Southerner, Sanford would be money.

I am too a Mitt fan, but he's still behind John McCain.

Anonymous said...

Mike Huckabee possesses every single trait the GOP will be looking for in 2008. He only lacks name recogition at this point -- which he will get.

Chops said...

Anonymous -

I don't think Huckabee will be much better than Gary Bauer was in the 1990's. He's a preacher, and has made too many outspoken statements for very conservative positions to attract the center of the party, let alone non-social conservative Republicans.