The Iowa Presidential Caucuses will be held this Thursday, January 3, and national polls show a virtual dead heat among the three Democratic front-runners. The final Des Moines Register poll before the caucuses shows Barack Obama with a 7-point lead over Hillary Clinton. As the final poll in the race, conducted by the state’s major newspaper, this announcement could give a strong final boost to Obama’s campaign.
On the Republican side, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney have been battling for the lead, with John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Ron Paul, and Fred Thomson all vying for a third place finish. Though Mike Huckabee’s surge of the past two months has received the most mainstream press coverage, in many ways it is more noteworthy that Ron Paul and John McCain are both competitive here. John McCain’s candidacy was written off months ago by many observers when fundraising and staffing problems caused him to struggle. And Ron Paul, despite raising a staggering $20 million dollars this quarter, has still gone virtually unnoticed by the media and the general public, yet remains on par with the major candidates in polls of Iowa caucus-goers.
If either of these contests finishes as closely as they could, it is possible that the winner will not gain the momentum that traditionally follows from an Iowa victory. But this all remains to be seen. Two more days and we should have some answers.
Just for fun, here are my predictions for the Iowa caucuses:*
1. Mike Huckabee – 29%
2. Mitt Romney – 28%
3. John McCain – 12%
1. Barack Obama – 30%
2. John Edwards – 28%
3. Hillary Clinton – 27%
1) These are not the views of the Institute for Law and Politics.
2) These are just guesses, not expert analysis.
3) I just want a record of my predictions in the unlikely event that I am exactly right.