The X factors

By STEVEN STARK  |  September 26, 2007

There’s no telling at this point, but again, one can make educated guesses. On the GOP side, a late-July Diageo/Hotline poll showed that the vast majority of McCain voters listed Giuliani as their second choice. Note how carefully Giuliani has courted these voters since, often praising McCain in debates. He understands that, should McCain stumble early, there's a hidden trough of additional votes likely waiting for him.

If Romney should collapse early, his supporters will likely scatter their votes. As will Fred Thompson's, though much of his electorate will probably search for the most conservative candidate still standing. That isn't Giuliani, though it could be Newt Gingrich, should he decide to enter late in the race.

On the Democratic side, the impact of a candidate’s early collapse is less clear. Leftist supporters of Obama would likely defect to Edwards, but much of his support from the black community could shift to Clinton. If Edwards were to stumble early, the guess here is that many of his supporters might seek out Obama, since these are voters who had already decided to resist the overwhelming pull of front-runner Clinton.

What's clear from all of this, then, is that the polls — especially in early state contests — don't tell us that much. Independents and second choicers won't choose in which party they'll vote, much less whom they'll support, until the final days before each primary. But when they do, early evidence indicates that Giuliani — and perhaps Obama in New Hampshire, if he's run strongly in Iowa the previous week — may have a surprise or two up their sleeves.

Racing notes
On the Republican side, Giuliani has stepped up the attacks on Clinton, thus attracting support and favorable attention, while Thompson, though gaining in the polls, fails utterly to impress the punditocracy. Gingrich drops because he says he needs $30 million in advance to announce and he's unlikely to get it. On the Democratic side, Clinton becomes the slight favorite as Obama struggles to develop a dominating theme that can compete with the front-runner. Edwards is the little engine that could, still collecting labor support and doing well in Iowa.

THE FIELD
REPUBLICANS
RUDY GIULIANI
Odds: 3-2 | past week: 2-1
MITT ROMNEY
Odds: 4-1 | same
FRED THOMPSON
Odds: 5-1| 9-2
JOHN MCCAIN
Odds: 6-1 | same
NEWT GINGRICH
Odds: 10-1 | 8-1
MIKE HUCKABEE
Odds: 45-1 | 25-1
SAM BROWNBACK
Odds: 1000-1 | same
RON PAUL
Odds: 200,000-1 | same
DUNCAN HUNTER
Odds: 200,000-1 | same
TOM TANCREDO
Odds: 250,000-1 | 150,00-1
ALAN KEYES
Odds: 3 million-1 | same

DEMOCRATS
HILLARY CLINTON

Odds: 5-4 | past week: 4-3
BARACK OBAMA
Odds: 3-2 | 5-4
JOHN EDWARDS
Odds: 6-1 | 7-1
BILL RICHARDSON
Odds: 100-1 | same
JOE BIDEN
Odds: 200-1 | same
CHRIS DODD
Odds: 250-1 | same
DENNIS KUCINICH
Odds: 100,000-1 | same
MIKE GRAVEL
Odds: 8 million to 1 | same

< prev  1  |  2  | 
  Topics: Stark Ravings , Mitt Romney, Barack Obama, Elections and Voting,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY STEVEN STARK
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   MAPPING OUT THE NEW YEAR'S POLITICAL LANDSCAPE  |  December 29, 2010
    MAPPING OUT THE NEW YEAR'S POLITICAL LANDSCAPE
  •   DEMOCRATS AGAINST OBAMA  |  November 03, 2010
    Now that the midterm wipeout has concluded, analysts are already sizing up the GOP challengers to a weakened Barack Obama. Not only that: some Democratic party elders are considering the once-unthinkable scenario of a debilitating challenge to Barack Obama from inside his party.
  •   THE INDEPENDENT HERD  |  October 06, 2010
    The big news in this election cycle is the rise of the Tea Party. Fair enough. But passing under the radar is an accompanying development that could have even more far-reaching consequences — the rise of an emboldened third force in our politics.
  •   THE AMERICAN IDOL PARTY  |  September 23, 2010
    Sarah Palin and Christine O'Donnell might not turn out to be good candidates, but they make great television.
  •   HAS OBAMA PEAKED? YES, HE HAS  |  November 12, 2009
    To listen to some pundits, Barack Obama's public image began taking a serious beating when the off-year election returns came in a week ago. Or maybe it was the undeserved Nobel Prize, his approach to the war in Afghanistan, or when he revved up his pursuit of national health-care reform.

 See all articles by: STEVEN STARK