Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Let's get ready for Iowa

Happy New Year to everyone! Let's look at Iowa. It's coming down to the wire.

Political Wire got an advance look at a new Strategic Vision poll in Iowa that shows Sen. Barack Obama leading the Democratic presidential race with 32% support, followed by John Edwards at 29% and Sen. Hillary Clinton at 27%.

On the Republican side, Mitt Romney leads with 30%, followed by Mike Huckabee at 28%; Sen. John McCain at 16% and Fred Thompson at 13%.Like other polls we've seen in the last week, both races are essentially statistical ties.


"What if at the end of Thursday, the three leading Democrats — former Senator John Edwards and Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama — are separated by a percentage point or two, leaving no one with the clear right of delivering a victory speech (or the burden of conceding)? A number of polls going into the final days have suggested that after all of this, the Democratic caucus on Thursday night could end up more or less a tie."

Maybe I'm the only goober who watches C-span when the candidates and their wives go to people's homes in Iowa and speak to small groups. I think it is a wonderful thing. Just normal everyday people. No designer dresses or handmade suits. No catered dinners or arranged place settings. Just finger foods spread out in the kitchen and people bundled up in coats waiting to hear how the candidates will serve their country.

Watching these things makes me appreciate the process a bit more. I think it grounds the candidates to the task before them. I think it makes them see that what they do will affect real people, living and working in America.

I think the people in the early primary states take this very seriously. I don't think anything should change in that regard. These are people like you and me, and maybe they won't vote for the eventual winner, but they do make us think. They do make us consider someone we might not have before.

It looks like Iowa will be pretty exciting for the Democrats. For Romney, it's extremely important. Huckabee may keep Romney from the early roll he counted on, or...maybe not.

Stay tuned.

Here is the early primary timeline:

3 Jan - Iowa caucus
5 Jan - Wyoming caucus (Rep)
8 Jan - New Hampshire
15 Jan - Michigan
19 Jan - Nevada caucus, and South Carolina primary (Rep)
26 Jan - South Carolina primary (Dem)
29 Jan - Florida primary

Update: I thought this an interesting turn of events for the Democrats from the AP:

Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich on Tuesday asked his supporters to make rival Barack Obama their second choice if he doesn't meet a cutoff point for voting in Iowa's caucuses.

Update 2: Huckabee will be on Jay Leno tonight instead of being in Iowa. Good idea? Maybe, maybe not. On the one hand, Huckabee is very good in these venues. He's funny and this is a perfect outlet for him. But on the other hand, will more people in Iowa watch him on Leno than will get out of their cozy homes to vote for him? We shall see. I think Huckabee will win Iowa. But I think that is where the Huckaboom ends.