The day we have been waiting for is finally here! After months and months of campaigning, the voting starts tonight, and the race is much murkier than it was even 3 months ago. As a result, attempting to make a prediction on what will happen is futile. Nevertheless, it is an obligation that we bloggers have to throw our two cents in so here it goes.
1. Mitt Romney-33%
2. Mike Huckabee – 28%
3. Ron Paul – 13%
4. Fred Thompson – 12%
5. John McCain – 11%
6. Rudy Giuliani – 2%
Yes, I have Ron Paul third. This was a hugely tough decision, but I know how passionate Ron Paul supporters are and I think they will turn out in droves to the caucuses. It appears that McCain, Fred, and Giuliani fans in Iowa are less enthusiastic because they aren’t going to win the state. So even though Paul is only polling at about 7-8% now, his passionate supporters and his organization could be good enough to propel him into third.
Organization is what should ultimately separate Mitt from Huck. They are virtually tied heading into tonight and Mitt’s machine should propel him to victory. That being said, Huck has the support of a lot of Churches, they too are quite effective at organization, so I would no be shocked with a Huck win. That being said, if Huckabee wins, I will lose all confidence in the judgement of Iowans and will call for them being punished to be the last state to vote in 2012. I can understand voters choosing Thompson or McCain, but Huckabee? Really?
Finally, Thompson gets the edge over McCain because he has spent more time and resources in Iowa. I think his organization is a little better. However, his supporters could be dejected due to his poor overall standing and that may affect turn out. McCain supporters on the other hand may turn out in higher percentage because he is now surging nationally and especially in New Hampshire.
Ultimately, the race for first can go either way and so can the race for third. Although, I find third place is harder to call. It all comes down to how truly dedicated Paul supporters are and how positive Thompson supporters can remain. One thing we do know is that it is highly likely that anything besides a third place finish and Thompson is dropping out (and I think he is praying for a 4th place finish to give him an excuse).