A Breakdown Of The GOP Contests Prior To Super Tuesday

Iowa (Jan 3, 2008): Huckabee seems to have pulled just ahead of Romney for first place here. At the moment, Giuliani is in 3rd and Thompson is in 4th. Expect the Thompson campaign to make a major effort to take 3rd place.

This is a must win state for: Huckabee. This state appears to be Huckabee’s best shot at a win prior to Super Tuesday on Feb 5. A win could give him the momentum to go on to victory. A loss could keep him from getting enough juice to go on to victory and could conceivably, but not necessarily, cause him to call it quits

New Hampshire (January 8, 2008): Romney has a huge lead and McCain, Giuliani, and Huckabee are duking it out for 2nd place. Fred Thompson is barely above the margin of error here. Truthfully, Romney shouldn’t get much credit for winning in New Hampshire since it’s right next door to Massachusetts and shares some of the same key media markets, but since flaky little New Hampshire has been so relentlessly overhyped, he will.

This is a must win state for:: McCain. Johnny Mac’s camp has been making noise about actually trying to win in New Hampshire. On the one hand, it’s an enormous longshot. On the other hand, it’s probably McCain’s best shot to win a state before Super Tuesday, which means he almost has to go for it. If McCain loses, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him drop out, which would make his endorsement extremely valuable.

Michigan (January 15, 2008): There hasn’t been a lot of recent polling in this state, but it looks as if Mitt and Rudy are duking it out in the top slot, with Fred, McCain, and Huckabee fighting it out for 3rd place. Given the paucity of polling, that could change significantly by election time.

Nevada (January 19, 2008): This is another under polled state, but the latest numbers have Rudy on top, with Mitt 2nd, and Fred 3rd. Again, these numbers could change significantly by election time.

South Carolina (January 24, 2008): Mitt, Rudy, and Fred have all been engaged in a long running battle for the top slot, although Rasmussen’s latest numbers appeared to show Rudy starting to fade and Huckabee moving up.

This is a must win state for: Thompson. If he can’t win in South Carolina, it’s hard to see where else he could win prior to Super Tuesday. If he doesn’t pull it out here, look for him to bow out.

Florida (January 19, 2008): Rudy has been in first place by a good margin with Mitt, Fred, & Huckabee fighting it out for second.

This is a must win state for: Giuliani. Florida is supposed to be Rudy’s “firewall.” In other words, even if he does worse than expected in the prior states and doesn’t pull off any victories, he believes he can take Florida and get his campaign going again. If Rudy were to go winless all the way through Florida, which seems unlikely, that would probably be all she wrote for him.

Maine (February 2, 2008): I haven’t even seen any polling on this state, but one of the campaigns told me that they had seen polling that had Romney in first. Whether that will remain the case all the way into February, if it is in fact the case, is anyone’s guess.

Summary: This is a unique Republican primary and it is still wide open and very fluid. McCain looks to be unlikely to pull off a victory at this point, but Romney, Giuliani, Thompson, and Huckabee all appear to be in the hunt. In fact, it would be easy to see a scenario that features Huckabee winning Iowa, Romney winning New Hampshire, Rudy winning Michigan, and then Fred hanging around long enough to win South Carolina, which would mean that there would be 4 viable candidates going into Super Tuesday, when more than 20 states will vote.

That being said — and this could definitely change over the next few weeks — Romney looks to be in the best shape. You’ve got to give the man credit, he may have mediocre national numbers, but he is in the hunt for the top slot in early state after state.

After Romney, the water muddies considerably based on a lot of different factors. If Huckabee were to lose Iowa, would he drop out? If McCain were to lose New Hampshire, would he drop out? If either of them left the race, which candidate would their supporters migrate towards? Have any of the candidates been holding back their warchests for an enormous final blitz of the airwaves in some of these states that may allow them to pull out a surprising victory? On the other hand, if Mitt were able to win Iowa, New Hampshire, and Michigan, would he have too much momentum to be stopped?

What it all adds up to is that January looks as if it’s going to turn out to be one wild ride for the Republican party.

PS: Let me emphasize again that given how fluid the race is and how much things can change in the final month of the contest, the landscape could look very different come Jan 1, 2008. Keep that in mind.

Share this!

Enjoy reading? Share it with your friends!