New Hampshire Primary

Today is the New Hampshire primary. Here are some predictions and thoughts about the election. Go Obama!

Today is the first primary. Most polls in New Hampshire show Barack Obama and John McCain ahead among the Democrats and the Republicans respectively. Here are my predictions.

Democrat My prediction Actual vote
Barack Obama 43% 37%
Hillary Clinton 30% 39%
John Edwards 20% 17%
Bill Richardson 6% 5%
Dennis Kucinich 1% 1%
Republicans My prediction Actual vote
John McCain 35% 37%
Mitt Romney 31% 32%
Mike Huckabee 12% 11%
Ron Paul 10% 8%
Rudy Giuliani 9% 9%
Fred Thompson 3% 1%

Winning both Iowa and New Hampshire is going to do wonders for Senator Obama’s campaign. He already got a big boost from Iowa. This is going to make things tough for Hillary Clinton. Looking back at elections since 1972, there are only two instances when the eventual Democratic or Republican nominee lost in both Iowa and New Hampshire. Once in 1972 when Senator Muskie won both and George McGovern won the Democratic nomination. Then in 1992, local Senator Tom Harkin won in Iowa while the eventual Democratic nominee Bill Clinton didn’t take part. In New Hampshire, Bill Clinton came a strong second but Paul Tsongas won the primary. Can Senator Clinton repeat her husband’s feat? It definitely is possible, but I would say it’s going to be difficult. The betting markets seem to agree as Obama is now a 2:1 favorite for the nomination there.

There is also the matter of the African American vote for Obama. Consider South Carolina where half the Democratic voters are African American. In mid-December, Obama was winning barely half of this vote. This should definitely change with Obama’s wins in Iowa and New Hampshire. Let’s recall Jesse Jackson, a very different candidate but still instructive. In 1984 Democratic primaries, he came in third and won 77% of the African American vote. Then in 1988, he did very well, coming in 2nd and winning 11 primaries. He also got 92% of the African American vote.

UPDATE I: John “Thousand Years in Iraq” McCain has been projected the Republican winner by CNN.
UPDATE II: Hillary Clinton wins!

Primary Campaign

The primary season has been on for eternity, but the elections start tomorrow. I support Obama while Amber supports Richardson. On the other hand, I plan to vote against Giuliani.

The Presidential campaign this time around has been strange. It started really early, immediately after the 2006 Congressional elections. By Spring, I had received my first call from a campaign asking for a donation. I told them that I will not consider donating until the actual election year (2008). Then Barack Obama was on campus in April.

Now election season is finally starting with the Iowa Caucus tomorrow and the New Hampshire Primary on January 8. This is earlier than previous elections and a stupid idea to boot. I think the primaries should take place over 3-4 months in spring and summer, after which the candidates would still have 3-4 months of campaigning for the general election which is held on the first Tuesday of November.

Looking at the opinion polls for Iowa Democrats and Republicans, it looks like a close contest between the top three Democrats (Clinton, Obama and Edwards) and the top two Republicans (Huckabee and Romney). My guess is that it is anyone’s game among the Democrats but Obama will squeeze out a win followed closed by Edwards and Clinton in that order. On the Republican side, Huckabee should win easily. I am also very happy to report that the small man in search of a balcony (Giuliani) is going to end up last.

I already blogged about my impressions of the Presidential candidates, so you know that like Photodude I am an Obama supporter. Amber, on the other hand, supports Bill Richardson.

As for who to vote for, I am a fan of the idea of strategic voting. Since Job One in my opinion is making sure Giuliani does not win, so I might consider voting for whoever from among Romney, McCain or Huckabee seems the most likely to defeat Giuliani for the nomination. But our open primary isn’t until Super Tuesday, February 5. If Giuliani is gone by that date, then I can vote for the Democratic candidature of Senator Obama.

UPDATE: Go Obama! More than Obama’s win I am happy to report that Giuliani got only 3%.

Presidential Candidate Quiz

Now that the Presidential election is just more than a year away, let’s take a quick first look at the Democratic and Republican candidates.

I decided to take a quiz about the Presidential candidates and here is the result:

  1. Theoretical Ideal Candidate (100%)
  2. Barack Obama (71%)
  3. Al Gore (not announced) (70%)
  4. Wesley Clark (not announced) (68%)
  5. Dennis Kucinich (67%)
  6. Christopher Dodd (65%)
  7. Hillary Clinton (63%)
  8. John Edwards (63%)
  9. Joseph Biden (61%)
  10. Bill Richardson (61%)
  11. Michael Bloomberg (not announced) (57%)
  12. Alan Augustson (campaign suspended) (54%)
  13. Ron Paul (48%)
  14. Mike Gravel (45%)
  15. Kent McManigal (campaign suspended) (35%)
  16. Elaine Brown (31%)
  17. John McCain (30%)
  18. Mike Huckabee (29%)
  19. Mitt Romney (29%)
  20. Chuck Hagel (not announced) (28%)
  21. Rudolph Giuliani (28%)
  22. Tommy Thompson (withdrawn) (26%)
  23. Newt Gingrich (not announced) (21%)
  24. Sam Brownback (18%)
  25. Tom Tancredo (18%)
  26. Fred Thompson (not announced) (16%)
  27. Jim Gilmore (withdrawn) (10%)
  28. Duncan Hunter (10%)

Not completely accurate, though I am a mild supporter of Senator Obama.

And here are my thoughts about some of these candidates.

Barack Obama says he is an agent of change, but he hasn’t come up with any policy that could be described as a major departure from the mainstream. He is a very good orator and seems to have decent positions on most issues but where are the winds of change?

Hillary Clinton is a deeply divisive figure so I am not sure how she would do in the general election, though she’s expected to do very well in the primaries. I think there are two major faults with her. One, she hasn’t really changed her opinion on the Iraq war. And two, she is probably the one Democrat with the most expansive ideas about executive authority. Hence she cannot be relied on to roll back the excesses of the Bush administration.

John Edwards is a generally likable politician who has offered a mea culpa on Iraq and is one of the few candidates to focus on poverty.

Can Joseph Biden please stop shouting during the debates? Thank you!

Bill Richardson has a lot of experience as a cabinet member, ambassador and governor. He is also one of the few candidates to commit to complete withdrawal from Iraq without leaving any residual forces. However, he is prone to gaffes every now and then and hasn’t really broken through to the first tier.

Let’s talk about the Republicans now, even though no Republican should be voted in even as a dogcatcher next year.

Ron Paul’s opposition to the Iraq war and some of his libertarian ideas interest me but then he does sound like the crazy uncle at times, sort of like Mike Gravel does in the Democratic debates.

John McCain has only one place to go: Down! What happened to McCain? A darling of the independents in 2000, he’s now stuck with not one but two unpopular policies: Immigration reform and the Iraq war. How did the Iraq war become his?

Mitt Romney sounds like such a fake. Was he always like that or is it a new thing? Did the Massachusetts voters elect him despite his fakery? Does his disowning of Massachusetts even convince anyone?

Tom Tancredo is after the bigot vote and thus won’t get anywhere because who wants to be identified as hater.

Fred Thompson sounds like the farcical version of Reagan or something. His acting doesn’t impress me and neither does his political persona or his positions.

Mike Huckabee is the religious politician and you know how that combo irritates me. So it speaks to the qualities of the Republican field that Huckabee is the one Republican who has impressed me a little. He seems to be a down to earth fellow who believes in Biblical literalism but does care about the poor and the ordinary.

And finally we come to Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York. If you think we are screwed now due to Bush, wait till Giuliani becomes President. The guy is absolutely nuts. Every single New Yorker I know, even those who voted for him as mayor, thinks Giuliani should not be within a million miles of the White House. Listen, for example, to Rudy Giuliani going crazy over ferret ownership.