Weekly Presidential Politics - 8/15/07
The ’07 Seven Candidates of Summer Series
Previous candidates: Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Fred Thompson, and the "Other Guys."
Now it's time for the favorites. First, for the GOP...
This week, the Summer Series blends nicely with current events. The recent Ames Iowa Straw Poll saw a healthy victory for Mitt Romney, whose 4,500 votes bested second place Mike Huckabee by 2,000. Before addressing the Romney candidacy as a whole, let's first address the significance of Romney's performance this weekend.
Romney's domination of the Iowa Straw Poll was completely expected, and therefore not nearly as big of a victory as the numbers show. With Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, and John McCain not even trying to win the ISP, Romney was supposed to trump the field while the second and third tier candidates jockeyed for a strong second place finish. Furthermore, Romney spared no expense to guarantee a victory, outspending the rest of the field combined. Still, a win is a win, and Romney should see a slight bump in numbers across the country.
The Iowa Straw Poll results are a great example of Romney's strategy in the Republican primary. His allocation of resources in Iowa and New Hampshire is already making him money elsewhere, exampled by the media coverage of the ISP attracting voters and money across the country. Furthermore, potential Romney voters across the country will be attracted to his healthy Iowa and New Hampshire polls numbers, despite him not spending any extra cash outside of those two locations. The more Republican voters see him as a legitimate candidate who can win the nomination, the more money he'll raise and the more voters he'll attract.
Rudy Giuliani still leads national polls among Republicans with Fred Thompson almost always placing second, but with horse race coverage a very real aspect of the primary system, the winner of the early primaries are in the best position to win the nomination, most recently evidenced in 2004 by John Kerry and John Edwards overtaking Howard Dean just by defeating him in Iowa. In Iowa, Mitt Romney was trouncing the competition, even before the Iowa Straw Poll. He's led all Iowa polls for months, sometimes by as much as double digits. We should fully expect him to win the kick-off caucus.
Examining the primaries after Iowa, Romney is competitive in Nevada poll numbers, and he leads most New Hampshire polls. An Iowa Caucus victory for Romney would only strengthen his chances in those two states, perhaps securing a victory in both. Three wins there, or at least two firsts and a second, would send Romney off and running, especially with Republicans hesitant to support the socially liberal Giuliani.
In sum, regardless of current national numbers, Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee for President of the United States.