Wrapping up TPT’s Iowa coverage

January 4, 2008

Odds and ends from last night

After staying up until 3am GMT watching the results. I’ve waited until know to post some observations. Firstly, from the perspective of someone who lives in the UK, I do think that the status of Iowa (and New Hampshire/South Carolina) is a good idea. The only alternative would be a national primary day which would degenerate into a name recognition and fundraising contest. Although the two main parties (and the third party) here elect their leaders nationally, a country with several time zones and six times the population needs a more prolonged process.

I also believe that the role of the exit/entrance poll in the Democratic contest needs to be urgently reviewed. Last night exit poll projections (which were Obama 31.8 Clinton 31.4 Edwards 23.26) might have underestimated Obama’s and Edwards’ support in terms of first preferences but arbitrarily adjusting the entrance polls (which now read Obama 35 Clinton 26.99 Edwards 23.43) and then quoting them as a reliable source of first preferences makes the whole process ridiculous. The media should just accept that we will never know the exact order in which the candidates originally came in and focus on the official caucus figures.

The obvious winners of last night are Obama and Huckabee and the obvious losers are Clinton and Romney. For Edwards and McCain things are slighly less straightforward. McCain should be happy that he beat both Giuliani and Paul and that Romney suffered a bad blow. However, although I am still very happy about the impact last night will have on his campaign, he should note that the number of independents who will cross over in New Hampshire will be reduced now that there is a real contest on the other side. Similarly, although many people feel that Edwards’ chances disappeared, he still managed to finish second, which should help him when people begin to realise that an inexperienced and immature Senator is only a few states away from the nomination (although Hillary Clinton should still be favourite to pull the nomination off).

What do you think? Leave your comments below.


One comment

  1. I think you have a very good take on what happened in Iowa. I’m an Obama supporter, so I’m quite happy with the results. You failed to mention Thompson, who did surprisingly well for a guy who was asleep most of the time!

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