Handicapping the Republicans

I have been browsing the Internet for predictions on where the candidates will stand after super-fantastic Tuesday on Feb 5th. The reason this is so hard to find is that each state divvies out their delegates in different ways (http://www.thegreenpapers.com/P08/). Some are winner takes all and others divide them up by congressional district or county. As a result, attempting to predict such a thing would be an act in futility. Fortunately most things I do are futile, so I am attempting a VERY rough prediction.

First, a couple of comments to help with perspective. Rather than attempt to break it up by congressional district, I am going solely by state; winner takes all. Also, it looks like Romney and Fred Thompson will be fighting for the same constituency and thus are interchangeable, so any delegates given to Romney could just as well go to Thompson and vice versa.

Finally, the great thing about having super-duper Tuesday being so close to Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina’s caucuses/primaries is that all four major candidates could still be in play going in. Thus, look for the Tuesday states to be split up between the candidates. So here is the break out:

             
           

Early Primary Breakout

The way Romney is running in the early primary states (Iowa and New Hampshire), it looks like he will start out fast. Due to the fact that McCain and Giuliani are ducking the Ames straw poll, look for them to fade in Iowa. F. Thompson can make a run here and give Romney a run for his money. NH is where we get into must wins for Romney and McCain. A win here for Romney will snow ball into wins in Nevada and Wyoming, thus making Romney 4-0 out the gate and ready for Feb. 5th. A McCain loss ends his chances.

The next race, on Jan 29th, is Florida. It looks like Giuliani will run away with this, although a Jeb Bush endorsement for Romney or Thompson could make it interesting. That being said, FL is going to Giuliani. There is a small chance that Michigan could also move to Jan 29th. If this occurred it would be a coup for Romney; he would likely win the state and would unequivocally put him in the driver’s seat for the nomination.

South Carolina is the most interesting. I don’t think Giuliani can win SC, ultimately it will come down to Thompson v Romney. Thompson because is from the South and Romney because of his organization and momentum. Whoever wins this will likely get most of the southern states, thus this is an essential win for Thompson. If Romney pulls this out, Thompson is done and after super-incredible Tuesday we will be down to a two horse race. If Thompson wins, all three will still be in it after the storm.

As for super Tuesday, predicting most of the states was a gut feeling. Taking into consideration momentum and location, I gave Romney the Mountain states (due to large LDS population) and the Midwest. I gave Thompson the South and Giuliani the Pacific and lower New England. States to keep an eye on:

California: Can anyone challenge Giuliani,

Colorado: Large amount of moderate Republicans, large LDS influence. Romney or Giuliani here.

Arizona: Do they stick with McCain? If not it will go to Romney.

Entire South: Do they go with Thompson or go with Romney’s or Giuliani’s momentum?

Ultimately, Giuliani will survive super Tuesday. Thompson or Romney will remain to challenge him. Again they are interchangeable in most states, I personally think one will drop to tier two status with McCain before the primaries start, but it is more fun to hope they both will still be in it.

             
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