1.09.2008

Three-way GOP tie in Michigan, as Huckabee, McCain and Romney will battle for the next ten days

After a break of a few hours, time to refocus on the campaign and on the next contests, as candidates are starting to plan their strategies for the weeks ahead. The Republican race, of course, is the one where the campaigns are facing the most urgency as they have to organize for Michigan, Nevada and South Carolina all in the next ten days (Democrats only have a contest in Nevada in that same time).

The GOP race is for now a battle between three men: Huckabee, Romney, and McCain. There is no reason to think Giuliani or Thompson will manage to get themselves in the storyline over the next ten days. Giuliani is a blip in polling in South Carolina and Michigan and he will hardly campaign there; and it seems unlikely Thompson will right his sinking ship by January 19th.

To start off this exciting week, we get a Michigan poll from the Rossman group which gives us a good indicator of where things stood pre-New Hampshire (poll taken January 6th-7th)

  • Mike Huckabee gets 23%, Mitt Romney 21% and John McCain 18%. Giuliani is behind at 8% with Fred Thompson at 4%.
This conforms to the conventional wisdom of who the big three candidates in Michigan, though the race is being portrayed as a Romney-McCain contest right now. Before Huckabee supporters get too excited, indications for now are that Huckabee is not looking to make a major push in the state.

Indeed, that is the major question: how much money every candidate has right now, and where they are willing to invest it. Huckabee appears to be going for South Carolina, though if the campaign realizes they have a chance to pull Michigan off and follow it up with South Carolina within 4 days, don't be surprised if they commit their candidate to Michigan.

The surprise is coming from the Romney campaign, which appears to be running no more ads in both Florida and South Carolina; at this point it is likely that Romney is relying heavily on his own money and how much more of that is he willing to spend without tangible results? A third loss in Michigan combined with Huckabee's current strength in South Carolina would make a come-back very unlikely.

As for John McCain, he faces another kind of challenge: To get an organization, staffers and money, and fast. Romney has already started absentee-ballot programs in Florida and February 5th states and Huckabee has been making his presence known in South Carolina for a while. McCain, meanwhile, has campaigned almost exclusively in New Hampshire and all evidence is that he has very little money left. His victory yesterday will bring him some big fund-raising totals, but he needs to get that going soon, hire staffers and hit the big states that are looming. Contrary to New Hampshire, he cannot win California, Florida, Texas or Illinois on the strength of his campaign style. He has to run ads and get out the vote.

So until Florida comes in focus and the press evaluates whether it's worth covering Giuliani again, it's Romney-Huckabee-McCain for the next 10 days.

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1 Comments:

  • Hi Taniel,

    First time writing, but I wanted you to know as a political junkie, I love your blog - you are one of the best elections blogger out there and you have some great news coverage and thoughts to go with them. BUT the reason I am writing is that one thing keeps bothering me about your postings: it is clear that you don't check them before or after you publish them.

    Too often you make really sloppy - indeed confusing - word choice errors that are so obvious to spot it is untrue. Sometimes one sloppy mistake per post. But today you had two sloppy mistakes - it drove me nuts reading your post! Take this last post for example:

    You posted:
    "Huckabee appears to be going for South Carolina, though if the campaign realizes they have a chance to pull Michigan off and follow it up with South Carolina within 4 days, don't be surprised if they commit their candidate to SOUTH CAROLINA." (you obviously meant MICHIGAN!!)

    What you wrote:
    "A third WIN in Michigan combined with Huckabee's current strength in South Carolina would make a come-back very unlikely." (you obviously meant a third LOSS!!)

    Taniel, please please, PLEASE re-read your posts for your wording before you hit PUBLISH,or re-read them straight after you hit publish for errors.

    Otherwise I absolutely love your blog and keep up the coverage. I check you everyday at least 4 times, and I'm sure lots of other election junkies like me do too!

    All the best,

    - Adam

    By Anonymous Adam Lopez, At 09 January, 2008 21:18  

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