January 4th, 2008

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Interesting Out of Iowa -- Dems

Well, this was absolutely the worst result for Clinton -- a third place showing with Obama winning by a significant lead. The one crumb of comfort for Clinton is that Edwards will stay in the race, drawing off progressives who might otherwise vote for Obama.

Despite growing sympathy for a populist message, Edwards appeared unable to break out of the same core group of supporters that he has carried since 2004 (i.e., people like me). This does not bode well for his future campaign. Part of his problem, of course, is his struggle for exposure. Even with the massive infusion of money in the final days by SEIU, and some media attention around a last minute surge, the media focus has consistently been Clinton v. Obama.

For Obama, it's good news on every level. He has emerged as the inspirer and the uniter. Exit polls report him capturing a whopping 57% of the under 30 voters, who showed up in droves to vote for him. He also did better than Clinton with women, and better with independents than Clinto or Edwards. His message appears to be: I can give change without the confrontational edge that Edwards offers.

Of course, the race is far from over. My feeling is as follows (below cut):
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Not Surprsing Out of Iowa -- the Rs

Am I the only one not surprised by Huckabee's strong showing? It seemed obvious to me for the last few weeks that Romney had basically stalled, and that Huckabee's mix of southern Christian orthodoxy and economic populism was just the tonic to put heart into Evangelicals who had no one they liked.

OTOH, I side with the pundits predicting that Huckabee's win is a shot in the arm for McCain in NH -- especially when he made a decent (if not phenomenal) showing in the Iowa primary. Thompson has clearly fizzled, and Guliani is now pinning his hopes on FL (which does have delegates for the Rs).

If McCain wins in NH with Huckabee second, Romney is in real trouble and Republican corporate interests will face a hard choice. Pro-business groups within the Rs such as the "Club for Growth" have tried to organize around Romney as the most favorable candidate for their agenda. But if Romney loses in NH to McCain, the business interests will need to decide whether to accept McCain as the lesser of two evils or whether to hope that Romney can pull it out. Right now, McCAin and Romney are polling decently with Huckabee far behind. The real question is whether Iowa causes Republicans and independents to revisit Huckabee and possibly see him as more than the candidate of the religious right.

McCain's chances certainly look a heck of a lot better now than they did in the fall. If McCain carries NH, he is much more likely to carry MI. The real issue is whether Republican voters share the same taste for change that Democrats are showing, and if so whether they want it in the Libertarian flavor or the Social Conservative flavor.
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heh heh

According to Reuters, Clinton is now focusing on connected with "young people."

Ah, what a far cry from her famous remark about "young people" addressing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce back in May 2006, when she was still triangulating on the conservatives.

“They don’t know what work is. They think work is a four-letter word. … Kids, for whatever reason, think they’re entitled to go right to the top with $50,000 or $75,000 jobs when they have not done anything to earn their way up.”

Turns out they aren't too lazy to vote. Who knew?