McCain still able

By STEVEN STARK  |  December 26, 2007

4) (tie) MIKE HUCKABEE Huckabee has the potential to rank higher: his strength is that, coming from nowhere, he would become the “change” candidate in the race, likely heading off any GOP social-issues or immigration splinter candidacies. But as such a new figure, he could be subject to wild fluctuations in public opinion — much like Jimmy Carter was in 1976 — and could even flame out entirely. Still, if Huckabee could hold Ohio and Florida for the Republicans — not a terrible bet if he could convince the nation he wasn’t a weirdo — he’d win the general.

6) BARACK OBAMA On paper, Obama has more potential than Clinton because he appeals to independents. But he’s far more of a risk, too: like all newcomers, he could fall apart under scrutiny. When your margin of error to win 270 electoral votes is as low as his is (at best he could get to around 310), that’s a danger. Yes, he could be another Kennedy (who won the popular vote by all of 0.1 percent, by the way). Or he could be another, gulp, McGovern.

7) MITT ROMNEY If Romney had run as a Northeast new-face businessman, he’d have had the persona to wage a formidable general-election campaign, putting the Democratic base at risk with the same strengths as Giuliani. Alas, he chose to run as the man of a thousand faces. Even as the nominee, it would be hard to see how he could reinvent himself once again as a centrist. And the religious issue would still be lurking.

8) FRED THOMPSON Even as the nominee, Thompson would be the second coming of Bob Dole — a man who likely held the base and nothing more. He would offer little risk, but little reward, either.

THE FIELD
REPUBLICANS
JOHN McCAIN

Odds: 3-1| past week: 5-1
RUDY GIULIANI
Odds: 7-2| 5-2
MITT ROMNEY
Odds: 7-2| 5-1
MIKE HUCKABEE
Odds: 5-1 | 4-1
FRED THOMPSON
Odds: 7-1 | same
RON PAUL
Odds: 200-1 | same
DUNCAN HUNTER
Odds: 200,000-1 | same
TOM TANCREDO
Odds: withdrew
ALAN KEYES
Odds: 60 million-1 | 30 million-1

DEMOCRATS
HILLARY CLINTON

Odds: 1-3 | past week: 1-2
BARACK OBAMA
Odds: 5-1| 3-1
JOHN EDWARDS
Odds: 9-1 | 10-1
JOE BIDEN
Odds: 200-1 | 100-1
CHRIS DODD
Odds: 200-1 | same
BILL RICHARDSON
Odds: 200-1 | same
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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