04 January 2008

US Elections - Iowa

When the US spends $623 billion a year on defence, and the rest of the world spends $500 billion, and when we need the US to sign up to the successor treaty to Kyoto, we're forced to pay attention to the minutiae of US primaries and caucauses.

On the Democrats side, it remains a three-way race, though John Edwards needed a win in Iowa for true momentum.

Barack Obama won with 37.6% of the vote, a clear lead over Edwards (29.8%) and Hilary Clinton (29.5%). On a cold night, the Democrats had a huge rise in turnout over 2004 (over 230 000 participating, compared with 125 000 in 2004, when Kerry won Iowa, and Edwards was 2nd).

Obama outpolled Clinton among women, and he benefited from independent voters and a surge in first-time caucus-goers. The Boston Globe commented that: "Obama's big victory is precisely what Clinton's campaign had feared, and it shattered the notion - one eagerly cultivated by her campaign - that she would be the inevitable winner of the Democratic nomination."

The thing to remember about US elections is that it's a real state-by-state race.
A second straight loss to Obama in New Hampshire could put Clinton in a very difficult situation. She was to fly to New Hampshire Thursday night so that she could make her first post-Iowa appearance at 7 a.m. today in Nashua. Historically, the results in Iowa haven't had much effect on New Hampshire, said Karlyn Bowman, a polling expert at the American Enterprise Institute. That could help Clinton recover next week.
On the Republican side, Mike Huckabee, a former governor in Arkansas, won with 34% of the vote, over Mitt Romney (25%), former governor of Massachusetts, and CEO of the Salt Lake Olympic bid. A factor which the media have played up is Huckabee being a Baptist minister, and Romney being a Mormon. The Washington Post points out that "Huckabee's religious conservatism will find far fewer receptive Republicans in socially moderate New Hampshire, and he will be battling not only Romney but also a resurgent John McCain -- and a struggling Rudy Giuliani and an unpredictable Ron Paul -- there on Tuesday."

It's a very odd election year for the US. Usually, you have a vice-president or former vice-president (Mondale in 1984, the first Bush in 1988, Gore in 2000), or a president running for re-election (Reagan in 1984, Bush in 1992, Clinton in 1996, Bush in 2004) in the race. However, the lead candidates on both sides are either former governors, senators or former senators.

Beyond this, folks like Ron Paul and Mike Bloomberg could upset the apple-cart.

Paul has raised $19 million over the last quarter, had over 10% of the Republican vote in Iowa, and will be a factor in the next few primaries. Even if his Republican campaign falters, he might have the capacity to mount an insurgent anti-war right-wing independent run for the Presidency.

Bloomberg, should the mayor of NYC decide to run, is a billionaire, so he could self-finance his campaign. CBS reports that: "someone on the Bloomberg campaign has even researched how many states have elected Jews to statewide offices, and concluded that equals about 300 Electoral College votes. That's kosher for Bloomberg, as a candidate only needs 270 to be elected president."


Anonymous said...

Bloomberg can best be described as faux...

Faux New Yorker

Faux Environmentalist

Faux Independent

Faux Non-sexist & the Un-bigot

Faux Everyman

Faux self-confidence of ever getting elected as a person living in sin with a religion other protestant who is against Gun Ownership....

These Quasi-aspirations displays a real faux sense of the reality on the ground...

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