Walter Shapiro calls the Iowa Caucuses!
At Salon, Walter Shapiro has some incisive thoughts about Iowa:
"No New York mayor, since the modern city was created in 1898, has ever been elected to another political office."
"Always bet against the youth vote making a difference."
Bad news for Sen. Obama.
"Insurgents may win news-magazine covers, but they lose the nomination to establishment candidates in the end."
The last outsider to win was Jimmy Carter, in 1976. Bad news for Huckabee, and possibly for Sen. Edwards.
If the weather's a factor, Sen. Clinton's partial reliance on elderly women will hurt her.
The early campaign onslaught could depress turnout. Because of his strength among regular caucus-goers, lower turnout helps Sen. Edwards.
Holding the Caucuses right after the holidays creates a major wild card. No one knows how it will effect attitudes or turnout.
Polling for the Caucuses is never reliable, and the holidays factor makes it even less likely to be so, this year.
The TV networks will hold entrance polls, which don't factor in the Democratic Party rule that candidates must garner 15% of the vote to be counted. Second choices will matter in the Caucuses, but not in those polls. For campaign purposes, someone other than the actual winner may claim victory, based on those entrance polls. I will add that, if that's the case, such a someone would deserve the same ridicule Lieberman earned with his "virtual tie for third place" inanity, after finishing fifth in the 2004 New Hampshire primary.
In other words, to summarize: despite all the hyperventilating over the latest polls, the latest mistakes, the latest ads, the latest endorsements, and the latest conventional wisdom, no one can accurately predict what will happen. Given that there will be predictions of every possible outcome, someone will be proven to have guessed right. But it really will be about having guessed right.
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