Monday, January 14, 2008

McCain leading Republicans in national primary polling

Polling problems have become a conspicuous feature of American politics, but generally they still are useful as predictors and John McCain's campaign must be thrilled with the latest reports from CNN which have McCain leading nationally by about 10 points over Mike Huckabee.

Part of the challenge with national polls is that they may be subject to a lot of simple "name recognition" bias - ie people are saying their favorite candidate is simply the one they've heard of. As the TV ads hit and the race heats up in the dozens of states with primaries coming up in a matter of weeks, we are likely to see a narrowing of the polling numbers in almost all races.

Tomorrow's Michigan vote will be a significant factor in the race, especially if McCain "steals" victory away from Romney. A Romney loss in Michigan could sound a death knell for his campaign which failed in Iowa and New Hampshire despite substantial effort and expense in those states.

Race and the Democratic Primary

The pundit ranting and media attention focusing on "race issues" in the Democratic primary seems extremely overhyped to me - almost a network fabrication to pique viewer interest and heat up a race where all three Democrats have similar platforms, voting records, and sensibilities.

Of course there are tiny little "swift boat" attacks every day by people who are associated with the campaigns in various ways, but on balance it is ridiculous to see this as a contentious campaign - the dialog for the most part has been very respectful and civil, reflecting the fact that the players are much more ideologically compatible than they are incompatible.

Tomorrow's Democratic debate should provide an excellent read on the state of the campaigns in terms of negativity and future direction. I expect a fiesty but respectful Obama and Clinton, with Edwards probably doing some Hilary bashing as he's clearly lining himself up with the "new kids on the block" rather than the Clinton old school.

Kerry's endorsement of Obama was intriguing given that he ran with John Edwards. Despite almost becoming president himself, Kerry no longer has much national political clout - perhaps another reflection on our "all or nothing" American political mentality.

It's a horserace!

As the primaries go to different players with no clear winners in sight the 2008 campaign is shaping up to be a close race in both parties as well as the general election.

Clinton's surprise win in New Hampshire raised more questions about polling validity as almost all polls showed Obama winning handily. McCain's strong showing in New Hampshire has revitalized his sagging campaign, suddenly focusing a lot of attention on Romney's

Tomorrow's Michigan race could be a critical one for the Romney campaign. He's from Michigan where his father was a popular Governor. If McCain beats Romney in Michigan look for some major strategy changes by the Romney campaign, and perhaps even a drop out though I think that is very unlikely. Romney's personal wealth gives him a powerful financial backing that is lacking in the McCain, Giuliani, or Huckabee camps.

For the Dems, look for some lively debate tomorrow night as Edwards, Clinton, and Obama duke it out in Las Vegas in the first debate with only those three frontrunners.