Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Meet the Candidates (Revised)

MyDD listed these candidates in their July presidential poll:

Evan Bayh
Joe Biden
Wesley Clark
Hillary Clinton
John Edwards
Russ Feingold
John Kerry
Bill Richardson
Mark Warner included all of the above but added these:

Tom Vilsack
Ed Rendell
Phil Bredesen
Dennis Kucinich
Janet Napolitano
Ben Nelson

What I find interesting is to think about how these names fit with the primary/caucus schedule. Which of these candidates does the primary/caucus schedule help?

Assuming that 2008 schedule replicates that of 2004, here are the states that would vote in January and the first two weeks of February.

With this list of candidates, and the results of the 2004 primaries (non-2008 contenders not listed), here are some ideas about how these first states would vote and how the nomination battle would shape up, with states in the predicted order and relative importance. Numbers in parentheses indicate week number in month.



2004 results

Kerry 38%
Edwards 32%
Clark 0%

2005 predicted: Tom Vilsack

He's the governor there and I suspect that were he to run, or at least allow his name to be put on the ballot, then he would take this state, much in the way that Tom Harkin did when he ran in 1992, as a sort of favorite son. If might even be that, like 1992, the outcome in Iowa was regarded as preordained, none of the other candidates would mount much of an effort there, and the state's caucuses would not be given much weight in the nomination fight.

If Vilsack does not run, Iowa may opt for the front-runner, as it ultimately did in 2004. Or it might cast its lot with a candidate from a nearby state, as it did in 1988 when it sided with Gephardt over Michael Dukakis. On the other hand, Edwards ran surprisingly strong here last year and might have a leg up on some of the others.

New Hampshire

2004 Results

Kerry 39%
Clark 13%
Edwards 12%

2005 Prediction: Edwards/Clinton/Kerry

A hard state to figure. In the past it's given maverick (republican) candidates a chance to go on (Buchanan, McCain) but has been more conventional with its Democratic field. Kerry is of course in nearby Mass. but would also undoubtedly face stiff competition from Edwards and Clark, who ran here last year, and from Hilary, who would probably be the front runner. Of the other candidates, I think only Biden could be expected to finish strongly here. Biden's impact could be even greater if, as is likely, national security credentials weigh heavily on voter's minds of electable qualities.

In any event, NH will figure to be the break-out state, the one that will cause some also-ran candidates to drop out. The winner will be handed front runner status. Given what I think will be Kerry's problems arguing for an opportunity to run again, and Edwards' 2004 experience, as well as his campaign appeal and message simplicity, I think Edwards could win here.


South Carolina (1)

2004 Results

Edwards 45%
Kerry 30%
Clark 7%

2005 Prediction: Edwards

A state that would have already been heavily oriented towards either Edwards or Warner (or Breseden) would have an even greater impact should Edwards win here after NH, giving him the big MO. I suspect Warner will give Edwards a tight race here as Edwards comes under greater scrutiny. However, I still suspect Edwards to pull it out in his native state.

This would create a long road for the rest of the field. If the next states are Tennessee and Virginia, Warner could stay on with a win in either or both. Candidates Richardson and Bayh could stay in given the mid west and southwestern states that would vote soon after. Clark or Biden could do reasonably well on Super Tuesday, especially in the south. At the same time, if either Biden or Clinton don't win an early state, their support could dry up.

All in all, even if Clinton or Biden wins in NH, the block of southern states voting next could make things easier for Edwards or even Warner to capitalize on.

And Clinton, despite her assumed front runner status, would really need to win NH to maintain expectations and to deal with what will likely be losses in some of the states coming up afterwards.

New Mexico

2004 Results

Kerry 42%
Clark 21%
Edwards 11%

2005 Predicted: Richardson


2004 Results

Kerry 43%
Clark 27%
Edwards 7%

2005 Predicted: Richardson/Napolitano


2004 Results

Kerry 50%
Edwards 11%
Clark 10%

2005 Prediction: Biden


2004 Results

Kerry 51%
Edwards 25%
Clark 4%

2005 Prediction: Toss Up


2004 Results

Clark 30%
Edwards 30%
Kerry 27%

2005 Predicted: Clark/Edwards/Richardson/Warner

North Dakota

2004 Results

Kerry 50%
Clark 24%
Edwards 10%

2005 Prediction: Richardson/Clark


2004 Results

Kerry 52%
Edwards 13%
Clark 7%

2005 Prediction: Edwards/Clinton


2004 Results

Kerry 49%
Edwards 7%
Clark 3%

2005 Prediction: Edwards/Clinton/Clark


2004 Results

Kerry 45%
Edwards 8%
Clark 4%

2005 Prediction: Edwards/Clinton

Virginia (2)

2004 Results

Kerry 52%
Edwards 27%
Clark 9%

2005 Prediction: Warner


2004 Results

Kerry 41%
Edwards 26%
Clark 23%

2005 Prediction: Breseden

So who survives and who goes home?

Of the more serious candidates I'd say Biden and maybe Clinton drop out. Vilsack also likely to be gone. The others may hang around and wait for Super Tuesday.

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