A Short State Of The 2008 GOP Race Update

In order of the candidate’s current chances to win…

6) Ron Paul, Duncan Hunter, Tom Tancredo, Alan Keyes: These candidates need to have lightning strike in order to have an opportunity to win the nomination. What kind of lightning? It’s hard to say, but at the moment, they’re not in the hunt to win it.

5) John McCain: John McCain’s national numbers are continuing to improve, but he still doesn’t seem to be on track to have a 1st or 2nd place finish in any of the early primary states. That means he has the most difficult road towards victory out of the 5 top tier candidates.

He essentially needs to do well in the early states to survive until Super Tuesday, while all the other top candidates, except for one, fold. Then, if it turns out to be a McCain vs. Romney or McCain vs. Giuliani option for Republican voters, he’ll have a chance to win.

4) Mike Huckabee: Huckabee still doesn’t have a lot of money and he has the weakest poll numbers of the top 5 candidates, but he has an outside shot to shock the world and win in Iowa.

If he can manage to pull that trick off, it may just generate enough money and momentum to carry him to victory. It’s a slim hope, but it’s still a hope.

3) Fred Thompson: As expected, Fred’s numbers dipped a bit after his post announcement surge, but they’ve continued to fall as claims that Fred doesn’t have his heart in the race are starting to harden into conventional wisdom. This has helped John McCain and Mike Huckabee take bites out of Fred in some key states.

Fred needs to convince people that he’s in this race to win it, stop his slide, and start building a big lead in South Carolina, which is a must win state for him.

The key to victory for Fred is similar to key to victory for Rudy: He needs to be in the race on Super Tuesday and then hope that he picks up a larger share of the support from the candidates who drop out of the race than Mitt or Rudy.

Victory is still achievable for Fred, but he needs to pick up the pace.

2) Mitt Romney: Mitt’s still looking strong in Iowa and New Hampshire, which means that he will probably start the primary season with an enormous burst. Will it be enough to sweep all the states with primaries before Super Tuesday? That still seems unlikely, especially since Rudy is looking very strong in Florida.

1) Rudy Giuliani: At the moment, Rudy has a large lead in Florida and it seems unlikely that Mitt will be able to knock him out before Super Tuesday, where the G-Man’s strong popularity over a wide variety of states will give him an edge over Romney. If it comes down to a two man race between Rudy and Mitt, Rudy will probably win that fight.

PS: A huge “x factor” that isn’t being discussed is the Wyoming primary. Even though no one even seems to be polling Wyoming right now, they’re currently holding the 2nd primary in the nation and if New Hampshire doesn’t move up to December, Wyoming will have a big impact. But, at the moment, because of the dearth of polling information, it’s impossible to know who’s winning the state.

Update (November 14): I talked to the Wyoming Republican Party HQ today and it turns out that they’re completely irrelevant because they’re just going to select delegates that day. There won’t be a vote.

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