Thursday, May 18, 2006

Free-For-All-2008: Ten Little Indians

More than ten: thirteen and fifteen, respectively. Most open primaries feature four to six competitive candidates, plus a few wishful thinkers. No doubt, we've got some wishful thinkers on this board: Daschle, Gingrich, Tancredo, and Huckabee (though not for lack of trying). We've also got a few candidates who want (very badly) to be president, but probably won't get so much as the time of day from their political machines, for obvious reasons: Jeb Bush and John Kerry. Lastly, several of the candidates very probably will not run: Rice, Reid, Dean, and Obama. That's five from each party, leaving eight and ten little Indians respectively.

Of the Republicans, Hagel and Brownback will probably gain no traction, with conservatives flocking to Allen, Romney, and Frist. Frist is a disaster; he'll run but won't make a sound. Centrist Republicans will congregate around McCain and Giuliani; leaving Pataki out in the cold. Pataki will probably drop out early and hope for a cabinet position. But it's no stretch to imagine that all seven of the others could run, plus issue candidates like Tancredo or good ol' Allen Keyes, with Allen, McCain, Romney, Giuliani my predicted order at the top.

On the far left, Bayh and Feingold will be trumpeted by the blogosphere, but with less confidence and less results than Howard Dean. If Joe Biden ever reads an opinion poll, he'll drop out, but that's no sure thing. From the DLC corner, Richardson and Clark don't have a chance; Hillary has that wing of the party completely locked up. Perhaps she's already promised them the Vice Presidency and portfolio of State. That leaves Mark Warner, Al Gore, and John Edwards as the middle-left candidates. Edwards will find that he's even more boring to voters in 2008 than he was in 2004, but he'll wait to find out the hard way. Gore got more in 2004 than Bill Bradley, but he has too much overlap with Hillary to mount a serious challenge. Same for Warner; Democratic primary voters don't find good governance nearly as sexy as protest votes (Feingold), we-wuz-robbed losers (Gore) or people with the last name 'Clinton' (what else does she have, seriously?). So I predict Clinton, Gore, Warner, Feingold, Edwards.

The monthly prediction is foregone...
May '06: Clinton & Warner over Allen & Romney.
Apr '06: Clinton & Warner over Allen & Romney.
Mar '06: Clinton & Warner over Allen & Rice.
Feb '06: Clinton & Warner over Allen & Rice.

This month's Chatter is way down. I expected a continued high volume after last month's jump, but the incumbant president seems to be stealing the thunder from his would-be successors with the immigration speech and new legislation. That may be good for him, if the adage about publicity holds true, but in any case it means that this month's rankings are less meaningful than usual. So don't let some of the big jumps and drops scare you - that's just a function of an anemic news environment.

Check out graphs of the Chatter Rankings from May 2005 through April 2006

Rank Candidate ChatterRank Change
R.1 Sen. John McCain 1,7700
R.2 Sen. Bill Frist 1,1300
R.3 Rudy Giuliani 709+5
R.4 Secy. Condoleezza Rice 6910
R.5 Gov. Jeb Bush 518+5
R.6 Sen. George Allen 411-1
R.7 Gov. Mitt Romney 379-4
R.8 Gov. George Pataki 341+4
R.9 Gov. Mike Huckabee 340+4
R.10 Sen. Sam Brownback 247-1
R.11 Newt Gingrich 2000
R.12 Rep. Tom Tancredo 179-6
R.13 Sen. Chuck Hagel 112-6
D.1 Sen. Hillary Clinton 1,6200
D.2 Sen. John Kerry 1,050+1
D.3 Sen. Harry Reid 749+1
D.4 Sen. John Edwards 586+8
D.5 Sen. Joseph Biden 5420
D.6 Al Gore 510+1
D.7 Howard Dean 478+4
D.8 Sen. Russ Feingold 463-6
D.9 Gov. Mark Warner 3970
D.10 Sen. Evan Bayh 202+5
D.11 Sen. Barack Obama 170-3
D.12 Wesley Clark 158-2
D.13 Gov. Bill Richardson 154-7
D.14 Gov. Tom Vilsack 1220
D.15 Tom Daschle 89-2

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 Rep. John Murtha, Gov. Brian Schweitzer, and Haley Barbour. Tom Tancredo, Wesley Clark and Tom Daschle were inducted last month, and are all undergoing a 'sophomore slump'. Some of the folks on the list almost surely won't run for president (Reid, Dean) and are there just in case, or as an indication of VP popularity.

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


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