Updated Head-to-Heads

October 18, 2007

Some updated predictions about likely Presidential match-ups.

Barring Al Gore defying conventional wisdom and finally deciding to enter the race, the contest for the Democratic nomination is now Hillary’s to lose. This simplifies the potential match-ups and allows Clinton/Romney and Clinton/Huckabee contests to be analysed. Polling data, and the fact that none of the Republican candidate have gripped America’s imagination leads me to adjust the probability of Senator Clinton winning upwards. Any predictions that are made below will needed to be adjusted for the possibility of a third party (or independent) candidacy.

Clinton/Thompson – In August I suggested that this would produce a evenly balanced contest with Clinton’s formidable machine and the general unpopularity of the Republican party will being balanced by Thompson’s charisma. However, Thompson seems to have few idea and little charisma. He also consistently polls behind Senator Clinton in the head-to-head polls. Not only will Thompson find the Midwest and the West a difficult area, he might not be able to hold the South. Although a blowout is unlikely the ‘fourth and inches’ contest that I was predicting two months ago isn’t as certain as before. Hillary Clinton has a 60% probability of winning (+5).

Clinton/Giuliani – Clinton/Giuliani – I have to say that I have been quite impressed by Giuliani’s deftness in dodging several political landmines, while still managing to stick to his principles, if this continues I might have to revise his chances against Hillary upwards. However, Giuliani will still have severe problems with his base while struggling to move independents and moderate Democrats into the Republican column.. I am going to stick to my prediction that Giuliani might (just) win New Hampshire but he will struggle to retain states like Ohio, Florida, Colorado, New Mexico, Missouri and even Virginia. Hillary Clinton has a 60% probability of winning (unchanged).

Clinton/McCain – In August I made the suggestion that McCain would beat Hillary easily if he kept his faith on Iraq and Immigration. Unfortunately while McCain has kept his faith on Iraq he has reversed course on immigration. Although there are tentative signs that he may be moving back to the centre they have been overwhelmed by his decision to adopt more conventionally Republican policies on tax and healthcare. I still think that McCain could pick up New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Connecticut, but only if he does something radical like selecting Joe Lieberman as his running mate. If he chooses someone like Tim Pawlenty he risks suffering the same fate as Bob Dole. Hillary Clinton has a 45% probability of winning (if McCain chooses Lieberman as his running mate, 55% if he doesn’t).

Clinton/Romney – Although Romney had a moderate record as governor of Massachusetts the fact that he has run away from it in a way that has made him a joke means that he won’t reap any benefits from it. At the same time, even if he gets the support of some of the Evangelical Right, there will always be a section of it who will simply not vote for him. Indeed, although religious bigotry should have no place in the modern world, it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that we could see a few Evangelicals actually voting for Hillary. Hillary Clinton has a 75% probability of winning.

Clinton/Huckabee – Huckabee may be charismatic and have no problem with getting the Christian Right out on polling day but a soon as the ‘fair tax’ is revealed to be extremely regressive (and probably unworkable) support for him will collapse. Although Hillary would normally guarantee any Republican at least 45% of the vote I would be surprised if Huckabee could get more than 40% and carry any states outside the deep South. Hillary Clinton has a 90% probability of winning.

If you disagree with this article, or agree with it, please leave your comments below.



  1. I think you grossly overstate Hillary’s chances, focusing on the problems of GOP candidates while ignoring the fact that nearly half the country *hates* her. That Giuliani polls at 30+ percent among conservative evangelicals suggests that he will be able to hold the Republican base and is much more able to appeal to moderates than the ultra-left-wing Clinton.

  2. Fair point, the problem is that you underestimate the dislike of the GOP. I’m only going on polling data but I’m getting the impression that the GOP is massively behind on all domestic issues and Hillary, being the smart political operator she is, is clever enough to keep the focus on domestic issues. Also, the problem with Giuliani is that he doesn’t do anything to win over Democrats, which is a necessity given the 10 point disparity between those who consider themselves Democrats and those who consider themselves Republicans.

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