Take it for granite

By STEVEN STARK  |  November 28, 2007

Most important, Iowa is not a primary contest but a caucus state, so level of participation is far lower than in an ordinary primary. That’s bad news for Clinton, since her voters tend to be poorer than Obama’s more upper-middle-class constituency and, historically, poorer voters don’t vote in as great numbers. All things being equal, her voters in Iowa are simply less likely to turn out.

In truth, however, should Clinton lose that state, it’s not at all clear that she would then go on to lose New Hampshire five days later. There’s a long history of candidates losing Iowa and coming back to win New Hampshire — such as Ronald Reagan against George Bush the elder in 1980.

And New Hampshire is, after all, a primary state where Clinton should do better — though the participation of independents in that Democratic primary could skew that, since she polls better among registered Democrats.

But as long as Clinton wins New Hampshire, she is likely to remain the front-runner and go on to win South Carolina on January 26 and wrap up the nomination on Super Tuesday 10 days later. Conversely, both Obama and John Edwards must finish ahead of Clinton in Iowa to remain viable. And they probably have to win one of the other two big January contests, too, in order to seriously challenge the front-runner. Again, it’s not impossible. But it won’t be easy.

THE FIELD
REPUBLICANS
RUDY GIULIANI

Odds: 5-3 | past week: same
MITT ROMNEY
Odds: 5-2 | same
JOHN McCAIN
Odds: 7-1 | same
MIKE HUCKABEE
Odds: 9-1 | same
FRED THOMPSON
Odds: 10-1 | same
RON PAUL
Odds: 150-1 | same
DUNCAN HUNTER
Odds: 200,000-1 | same
TOM TANCREDO
Odds: 250,000-1 | same
ALAN KEYES
Odds: 3 million-1 | same

DEMOCRATS
HILLARY CLINTON

Odds: 1-2 | past week: same
BARACK OBAMA
Odds: 4-1 | same
JOHN EDWARDS
Odds: 9-1 | same
JOE BIDEN
Odds: 100-1 | same
CHRIS DODD
Odds: 100-1 | same
BILL RICHARDSON
Odds: 100-1 | 200-1
DENNIS KUCINICH
Odds: 100,000-1 | same
MIKE GRAVEL
Odds: 16 million-1 | same

On the Web
The Presidential Tote Board Blog: http://www.thephoenix.com/toteboard

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