Thursday, December 20, 2007

McCain "Surging"

The power of endorsements is debatable. However, in a volatile field, a series of key newspaper nods can give a candidate incredible momentum. Case in point, John McCain, who now has serious wind in his sails. In New Hampshire, Romney's double digit lead has evaporated, in the wake of The Union Leader, Boston Globe endorsements of McCain, not to mention Joe Lieberman. Anybody's primary:
New Hampshire

Nov 26-29... Dec 16-19

Giuliani 22%.... 16%
Huckabee 13%.... 11%
McCain 11%.... 26%
Romney 36%.... 26%

Thompson 3%.... 4%
Undecided 12%.... 10%

Another poll:
The latest(December 18) Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of the state shows Romney with 31% support, McCain at 27% and no one else close. Rudy Giuliani attracts 13% and Huckabee barely reaches double digits at 11%. This is the first time any candidate has been within single digits of Romney in several months. It remains to be seen whether this is a temporary bounce or a lasting change.

Before the latest endorsements, it was Romney 33% and McCain 18%. In late-November, Romney led by nineteen points. Earlier in November he was up by fifteen.

Guiliani has apparently abandoned New Hampshire, hoping to make a stand later in Florida. McCain is now neck and neck, with two weeks to go until the primary.

What is even more impressive, McCain is back in the conversation in Iowa, a state that he hasn't campaigned in, one in which he was polling a distant 5th. The endorsement from the Des Moines Register has given McCain a major boost, which might explain why the campaign has decided to bring McCain back after Christmas. This result is shocking:
Nov 10-14.. Nov 26-29.. Dec 16-19

Giuliani 11%... 9%... 13%
Huckabee 24%... 27%... 28%
McCain 10%... 9%... 20%
Paul 3%... 3%... 4%
Romney 26%... 28%... 17%
Thompson 11%... 14%... 5%
Undecided 13%... 9%... 11%

Another poll, not quite as dramatic, but still impressive:
It’s now Huckabee 28%, Romney 27%, and the man endorsed by the Des Moines Register, John McCain, in third at 14%. No other Republican candidate reaches double digits.

To put that result in context, here is the same outfit just last week:
Huckabee 39
Romney 23
Mccain 6

McCain lacks the organization that is critical in the strange expression of democracy that is a caucus. However, Romney and Huckabee are engaged in a fierce battle, with Romney in particular going very negative in his ads. McCain doesn't have to win Iowa, in the game of expectations. A credible third will be spun as a mini-victory, given the relative emphasis, enough that it won't hurt his prospects heading into New Hampshire.

It's still anyone's guess on the Republican side, some have even suggested a brokered convention. As the voting nears, McCain is suddenly well placed to exploit a fluid dynamic.


New national poll that shows McCain growing, Rudi sagging:
12/18 - 12/19
Guiliani 20
Romney 11
Huckabee 19
Thompson 10
Paul 3


Anonymous said...

The Giuliani numbers are shocking for a front runner. A possible meltdown of Howard Dean proportions.

Not even top three in both Iowa and New Hampshire. Possibly not even South Carolina.

Steve V said...

"The Giuliani numbers are shocking for a front runner. A possible meltdown of Howard Dean proportions."

I think Guiliani made a serious error. You can't bypass the early contests and hope to remain relevant. Guiliani just isn't in the news, waiting until Florida is very risky.

Anonymous said...

Giuliani has the most money to stay while others will probably have to throw in the towel after South Carolina. Something went wrong between Des Moines and Manchester. Probably realized that his pro-choice stance was a disadvantage against Romney and retreated.

Looking at RealClear, it is apparent that Romney has built a firewall in New Hampshire. He is becoming as rabid as Tancredo in order to score points against Huckabee. A replay of the CPC convention of 2009, Baird attacking Day over who is the most xenophobic ;(

Steve V said...

"Giuliani has the most money to stay while others will probably have to throw in the towel after South Carolina."

True enough, Guiliani is in it for the long haul. I saw him last week on Meet the Press, and he kept pointing to Florida as the beginning. Trouble is, his numbers are shrinking in Florida now (7% lead), which will probably evaporate after Iowa, NH, Mich, Nev and SC.

Anonymous said...

Update: Tancredo has just dropped out and endorsed Romney.

Looks like Paul Christie and Paul Fromm have decided that John Baird should replace Stephen Harper next ;(

BTW, Nice picture of Santa with your daughter. Didn't know he was in Wellington County.

Steve V said...

"Update: Tancredo has just dropped out and endorsed Romney."

Interesting. Romney has sure played up illegal immigration, Tancredo has been a crackpot on the issue.

Steve V said...

Boston Herald just endorsed McCain. Funny how the one's that know Romney the best aren't endorsing him.

Monkey Loves to Fight said...

I think the race is wide open, especially for the Republicans. Between Romney, Guiliani, McCain, and Huckabee, anyone of them could win it. I would say after the first few states, we will have a better idea of who is the front runner. I also wonder if you think New Hampshire and Iowa could be good indicators on the bigger scene as to who is most electable. In both 2000 and 2004, these were amongst some of the closest states and these were amongst two of the three states to change hands between 2000 and 2004 (New Mexico the other).

As for the Herald endorsing McCain, not really a surprise as Romney was not a very popular governor in Massachusetts. That being said I think Massachusetts is one of the later primaries and by then I suspect there will be only one person left in the race.

Also Steve - what are your thoughts on the Democrat race. Do you think Oprah's endorsement of Obama will help him as well as the fact most polls show he has a better chance at winning than Clinton.

Steve V said...


One of the reasons I'm pre-occupied with the Republican race is because it is probably the most wide open in decades.

I noticed today that Clinton had Wes Clark by her side, making the case for experience. Obama is making a move in Iowa, but more of his support is from less experienced caucus goers, which could be a factor. Throw in Edwards, and it's anybody's race. I think Oprah helps Barrack, but Clinton still has a sizeable lead with women, so the crowds might not translate to votes.

I think it might come down to who Edwards eventually supports. I'm pretty sure Biden will move to Clinton after Iowa, that's my prediction anyways. Should be interesting.

What do you think?

Monkey Loves to Fight said...


I agree the Republican race is far more wide open. In addition the electability of the Republican candidates is far more variable. Indeed the results of the next election will probably depend more on who the Republicans choose rather than the Democrats.

I agree that Edwards will play a major role in whoever he throws his support behind, off course that is assuming his supporters follow him, which doesn't always happen. In the case of Clinton and Obama, both seem to have their home states locked up and pretty much unanimous support from all congressman in their respective states. Experience could be a negative for Obama, but at the same time many want something different rather than the same old.

I also find Huckabee's rise out of nowhere interesting to say the least.

Finally, I think another dilemma both parties face is their base is very different from mainstream America. Most Americans are moderates, but most Democrats are Liberals and most Republicans are Conservatives meaning each one must play a fine line between not alienating their base, while at the same time not being too far from the American middle to alienate the general public.

burlivespipe said...

In the end i think McCain's age will end up costing him. His sudden surge is in my view more disatisfaction with the other candidates, and interest in searching the field again.
I'm truly amazed and pleased to see Thompson hit near rock-bottom, and wouldn't be surprised if it comes down to a Huckabee-Romney free-for-all in the end. McCain's endorsement would be huge in either case.
On the democrat side, its fairly uninspiring. Neither Obama nor Clinton excite me, and I can't understand why Edwards has unable to bridge the gap.
The shocking thing is, that after such a dismal administration, that the Republicans could still be in play. After a fairly abysmal term of corrupt Harding, cool and dull Coolidge and bungling Hoover, it set the ground for the longest string of democratic victories.
But unfortunately there is no Roosevelt in either field. I thought Edwards was the closest.

Steve V said...

" Most Americans are moderates, but most Democrats are Liberals and most Republicans are Conservatives meaning each one must play a fine line between not alienating their base, while at the same time not being too far from the American middle to alienate the general public."

It's an amazing dynamic isn't it. Huckabee would get destroyed in a general election, and yet he has great appeal with the base. Romney is bending over backwards moving to the right, making his govenor reign look like another person.


I agree about the Democratic side. For some reason, even though Obama is quite eloquent, and inspiring on some level, the entire race seems to be lacking something. Edwards, and this speaks to Miles point, has moved so far to the left, you see some curious contradictions.

Anonymous said...

Huckabee's rise is something that the Cons in Canada need to play attention to. He has emerged as the "authentic" candidate.

A so-con who supports raising taxes (a 23 per cent federal income tax) and free university tuition for the children of illegal immigrants. He has become the Republican version of Jimmy Carter!!!

This dilemma adds to the difficulties of the other Southerners in this race, Edwards and Thompson. Compared to Huckabee, Edwards reminds people of a slimy John Grisham and Thompson, a cameo actor fresh out of No Way Out.

Anonymous said...

Make that a 23 per cent federal sales tax. Sorry.

Steve V said...


Thompson has turned out to be a complete dud. Apparently, before he entered, Thompson had some connection with McCain. Buchanan wrote this interesting tidbit yesterday:

"If Fred does not make a strong showing in Iowa, a prediction: He will drop out and endorse John McCain"

That would be interesting.

Monkey Loves to Fight said...

Steve V - Huckabee's stances are actually quite mainstream for the Deep South. On economic issues, the South is no more conservative than the Northeast, in fact the Mountain West is probably the most economically conservative part of the country, while the Deep South is the most socially conservative part. And this has created a dilemma for the Republicans since the only thing binding these two groups is their hatred of Liberals and nothing else. If the Democrats run on a moderate enough platform they could win states like Colorado and come very close in states like Arizona (unless McCain is leader off course).

In terms of the South, those states had the strongest support for raising the minimum wage when placed on their ballots, so if anything the South strikes me as an area that is centrist economically but very right wing socially.

Steve V said...


I agree with you about Huckabee, in the traditional Republican zones he plays quite well. That said, in the swing states like Ohio, that evangelical thread might be a death knell. If I were a Democratic strategist, I would be licking my chops at the thoughts of Huckabee.

Monkey Loves to Fight said...

I agree on the whole that Huckabee's associations with the religious right can be problematic in many swing states. The only benefit he might have is even swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania do have sections within their states where those type of policies sell well. Western Ohio, Central Pennsylvania are very much politically like the Deep South. Since turnout in more liberal areas like Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia is historically lower, it is possible he could benefit from a higher turnout amongst this demographic. Off course this could easily backfire and considering how much of the public is waking up to the religious right and the threat's they pose it is hurting them. For example, in Pennsylvania, the religious right means more massive wins for the Republicans in the Central Tier, but the once safe Republican Philadelphia suburbs now generally vote Democrat and so the gains they made in the central tier, were offset by their losses in the Philadelphia suburbs. Off course many in the Republican party just assumed the Philadelphia suburbs would vote Republican because they always have.