Handicapping the Hawkeye State

December 27, 2007

TPT looks at the Iowa caucus


Incredibly, the caucus has turned into a four way contest with McCain and even Giuliani having a shot at victory.

Mitt Romney – I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that Huckabee’s lead will not hold as it has been pretty consistently trending downwards, making Romney the favourite. It is very important to remember that Romney has the money and the organisation to pull off a victory in Iowa if Huckabee does slip up. Chances of winning are about 37.5%. Price on Intrade 30-35.3.

Mike Huckabee – Although Huckabee is still in the lead it is melting rapidly. The fact that he has failed to raise significant amounts of money, despite his meteoric rise in the polls, is indicative of the fact that he is just not seen as a credible candidate by enough people. With the general unpopularity of Romney and his support from evangelical voters Huckabee should be at least 10% ahead. If Huckabee manages to win it, and he could still pull it off, it will definitely be by fewer than 5%. Today’s tragic events in Pakistan will again highlight the one area in which he has little experience in and probably accelerate his decline. Chances of winning the caucus are 35%. Intrade price 56.0-59.9.

John McCain – The very fact that I am bothering to talk about his chances shows how far he has come in these past few weeks. If he could only get another push from somewhere (such as an endorsement from Fred Thompson) he could have a serious chance of pulling off the impossible and actually winning the thing. The assassination of Bhutto will also put national security and foreign policy at the forefront of voters’ minds. However, it would be hard pressed to find a state that is more inhospitable to a hawkish and economically centrist candidate. Chances of winning the caucus are 15%. Intrade price 3.7-8.9.

Rudolph Giuliani – If a McCain victory will be an amazing turnaround then a Giuliani victory would be even more astounding. However, Giuliani is beginning to climb in the polls and he is less than 10% away from the leader in Iowa. The crisis in Pakistan could lead people to rally around the man who is perceived (probably wrongly in my opinion) as the candidate with the strongest national security and foreign policy credentials. Chances of winning the caucus are 10% Intrade price 0.40-0.9.

Fred Thompson – After the twists and the turns of this contest I’m not going to write anyone off (except Ron Paul of course) until they actually withdraw. This is the only thing stopping me from pronouncing the time of death of the Thompson campaign. Let’s face facts, after an advertising blitz he’s well behind Ron Paul in the polls. Chances of winning the caucus are a nominal 2.5%. Intrade price 1.5-2.8.

So, at the moment, the value is with John McCain, Rudolph Giuliani and (to a much lesser extent) Mitt Romney. There is also a lot of value in shorting Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul.

NOTE: Although the horrible events of today will obviously have an impact both on the contests it is important to understand that there are more important things than who will win the Iowa caucuses. As Senator John McCain states, ‘My deepest condolences go out to the family and supporters of this remarkable woman, an individual who paid the ultimate price for her embrace of moderation and rejection of extremism.


One comment

  1. […] thepoliticaltipster placed an observative post today on Handicapping the Hawkeye StateHere’s a quick excerpt […]

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