Thursday, December 20, 2007

Elections 08 - Home Stretch

As we enter the home stretch for the 2008 presidential elections, things are very interesting indeed! On the Democrat side, Hillary and Obama are running neck and neck, with Obama having the momentum in the early primaries, but Hillary holding a solid lead in the national polls. On the Republican side things are even more convoluted, with five candidates still in strong contention! Clearly Huckabee has the most momentum, as his Baptist background is holding a strong appeal to party conservatives, however both Romney and McCain have shown recent gains, coming at the expense of the fading Giuliani and Thompson. See the national trends below from

I am still holding to my original prediction that Clinton and Romney will win their respective parties nomination, but there has been some interesting developments in the weeks since I first made that call. On the democrat front, Obama has continued to develop momentum and now shows a real potential for overtaking Clinton and gaining the parties nomination. He brings a freshness and depth of character that seem to hold real appeal to the voters in the early primaries. The main concerns seem to center around his perceived lack of toughness, as he tends to shy away from the more vicious style of politics that are so often utilized in the highly polarized U.S. government. He seems to genuinely value discourse and consensus building over power plays and backdoor maneuvering. Many critics feel that this is a liability for him in the trenches, where idealism perishes as quickly as a snow cone in Texas! What do you think? Is Obama's approach to politics naive and a sign of in-experience, or is it a return to the very core of what a healthy political process should be about?

Here is a trend of the Democrat Iowa primary poll results, showing Obama's recent climb (again from RCP)

I am definitely interested in how Obama does in these early primaries. While the national polls still clearly show Clinton leading, things could change quickly if Obama pulls out some convincing wins. My personal opinion is that they are both strong candidates and would fare well in the general election.

On the Republican side, things are as hectic as I have ever seen in the run-up to a presidential primary. Typically by this point in the process the field of candidates is whittled down to only two, or at most three viable candiates. Clearly Fred Thompson has lost significant momentum, and can probably be ruled out of contention. Guliani, while still leading in the national polls, is also rapidly loosing steam and IMHO will not end up in strong contention. I just don't think his character and values line up well with the Republican voting base.

That leaves Huckabee, McCain, and Romney. Each has their handicaps. Huckabee is a relative unknown who has risen to popularity primarily on his Christianity and conservative morals, but questions surrounding his judgement and experience are starting to gather steam. McCain seems too crusty to win a popularity contest, but his unquestionable experience, integrity, and depth of character continue to keep him in the race. Some pundits predict that the top candidates will implode leaving McCain as the best viable candidate. Romney, my pick for winning the Republican primary, would be a shoe-in if it wasn't for his Mormon faith. It remains to be seen how much this will effect the primary, but he continues to look strong in several early primaries and may gain momentum if Huckabee stumbles in the weeks ahead.

Here is a trend of the Iowa Republican primary polls from RCP.

Who is your favorite candidate from the two parties?