How much momentum does Rudy have? How much is Obama's star power worth? An upset for Edwards in Iowa? Who has the stuff to take it to the Mardi Gras primaries next year?
Michael Barone takes a look at the changing poll numbers for both parties, from December through March:
Giuliani's lead over McCain in Iowa is much less than nationally, whichis probably a reflection of the cultural conservatism of IowaRepublican caucusgoers (although keep in mind that it is difficult toget a sample that is representative of the very small segment of theIowa electorate that attends the caucuses). Nonetheless, Giuliani atthis point seems capable of a credible enough showing to keep him verymuch in contention for the big state primaries February 5 (which nowwill definitely include California). McCain, too, has Iowa numbers thatwould keep him credible for later contests.
New Hampshire, where McCainwon a smashing victory in 2000, still shows him with a statisticallyinsignificant lead over Giuliani; Romney, from next-door Massachusetts,does significantly better than in Iowa. Both of these candidates thusseem to be well positioned for the South Carolina primary and theFebruary 5 contests. Romney needs to move up in New Hampshire to makehimself credible for those contests. McCain needs to draw registeredindependents into the Republican primary; here his biggest competitormay be Barack Obama.
For some first-hand reports on what N.H. citizens are thinking about McCain, check out Matt Lewis' video-blogging from the Straight Talk Express, here, here, and here. Being that the sample is from the McCain campaign stops, they're somewhat self-selected and pro-McCain.
Barone figures a possible Gore run into his Democratic conclusions, but not a possible Thompson run into his Republican analysis.
Well, this was written before some positive poll news for Thompson came out. He was up 44, 43 over Hillary in a Rasmussen poll last week:
Now don’t get too excited. As the crosstabsshow, that’s not so much Fred-love as Hillary-hate at work. Head tohead with Obama he trails by 12 points, which I guess answers thetheological question of who would win if the Messiah took on God.Still, for Hillary to be down a point to a guy who isn’t even the race must be … of concern to her team, I’d imagine.
And, he pulled ahead of Romney in Iowa. And, for what it's worth, he beat out Georgia's own Newt Gingrich and Rudy in a straw poll in the Peach State among Republican conventioneers. That's a very small, anecdotal win, but it's telling that he's beating out the hometown Newt and the world-famous Rudy when he's not even in the race.