January 20, 2008

John McCain!

A big win in South Carolina. Huckabee's down. But what about Mitt? Are we supposed to see McCain as big favorite now? Actually, it's not a great bet:
... Mitt Romney won the largely uncontested Nevada caucuses, giving him at least the claim of having won two contests in a row. On a more practical and potentially more meaningful level, he also captured more delegates on Saturday than Mr. McCain did.

... [McCain's] first two victories came in New Hampshire and South Carolina, where independents, who often seem more enthusiastic about Mr. McCain than members of his party do, are permitted to vote in the primaries.

The terrain from here is markedly different, starting Jan. 29 in Florida, where the Republican primary is open only to Republicans.

“He still has significant skepticism that he has to overcome in the Republican base,” said Gary L. Bauer, who sought the Republican presidential nomination in 2000 and is not endorsing anyone at this time. “The real test will be how well he can secure the Republican base as we head toward Super Tuesday.” Mr. Bauer added, “On balance, in most states, to get the nomination you’ve got to do very well among registered Republicans, and that is going to become increasingly important as other candidates drop out of the race.”

An exit poll in South Carolina offered evidence of the challenge Mr. McCain faces: 8 in 10 of the voters in the primary described themselves as Republicans, and just 3 in 10 of them voted for Mr. McCain. The finding suggests what Mr. McCain’s rivals were saying Saturday night: that he might not have won without the help of voters outside his party.
ADDED: Here's Noam Scheiber:
With John McCain's victory tonight, we've finally achieved that belated winnowing. In one quick burst, McCain has effectively knocked Mike Huckabee, Fred Thompson, and Rudy Giuliani from the race: Huckabee because it's not clear where he wins if he can't do it in as demographically favorable a state as South Carolina. (Fifty-nine percent of voters today were evangelicals; Huckabee only won them by a 40-27 margin over McCain.) Rudy because it's hard to see why anyone would perfer him to McCain going forward; both appeal to moderate, security-minded Republicans and McCain is the only one who hasn't been a disaster of late. And Thompson's finished--as if it needed to be said--because even he'd conceded this was his last chance to reverse a debilitating six-month slide. (One interesting sidenote: Huckabee's under-performance among evangelicals probably had something to do with the 15 percent of them Thompson picked off. I have a feeling that won't be Fred's last gift to McCain in this race...)

This is clearly a McCain-Romney race going forward. Romney has the money and may still be the establishment choice over McCain, who's widely disliked in elite GOP circles. The benefit of the latter will be, among other things, to dampen the fundraising boost McCain should receive from South Carolina.

25 comments:

hdhouse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
hdhouse said...

please remember that this is the same state that sent Strom Thurmond to Washington for half a century.

There is a large portion of the State composed of northerners who have escaped the cold and taxes to live there and there are distinctly different demo/geo/psychographic areas. CNN was breaking that apart last night as the results were coming in but they were not of much help when I fell asleep.

Unemployment is well over 6% there and minorities are particularly hard hit and I presume a lot of them are so far off the unemployment rolls as to not be counted. I say that only because so much was made overnight of that figure and how it might now be the economy rather than Iraq that draws the focus.

What a wierd election this is going to be.

Roger said...

Agree with HD that this is going to be one strange election. I dont think there is a front runner on either side yet, and it wont be until Feb 5 where we might see some favorites emerge. I am increasingly thinking both conventions may end up brokered.

Of course, with the media horserace mentality, they arent focusing on delegate count which is the only figure that means anything with respect to the nominations. Clinton and Romney lead those.

jaerae said...

"The finding suggests what Mr. McCain’s rivals were saying Saturday night: that he might not have won without the help of voters outside his party."

It seems to me that it might actually be a GOOD thing to promote a candidate that can draw votes from outside the party... but I'm not holding my breath that Republicans will actually employ this strategy anytime soon.

EnigmatiCore said...

"An exit poll in South Carolina offered evidence of the challenge Mr. McCain faces: 8 in 10 of the voters in the primary described themselves as Republicans, and just 3 in 10 of them voted for Mr. McCain. The finding suggests what Mr. McCain’s rivals were saying Saturday night: that he might not have won without the help of voters outside his party."

Rivals were saying that, were they? Glad to see the reporter is immune to spin.

Or is he?

According to the exit poll (which has a margin of error), Huckabee won among Republican voters by a single percentage point over McCain. A poll showing a single point lead in either direction is generally considered a dead heat.

So if McCain has a problem because only 3 of 8 Republican voters chose him, Huckabee has a problem because only 3 of 8 Republican voters chose him, and Romney has a problem because only 3 of 16 Republican voters chose him, and Thompson has a problem because only 3 of 16 Republican voters chose him, and Paul and Giuliani have a problem because only 1 in 50 Republican voters chose each of them.

cokaygne said...

I always thought that the first African American or female president would be a Republican, a Maggie Thatcher or a Colin Powell who campaigned and won on something other than identity. Now it looks like a Democratic year. The Republican elites so hate their best candidate that they'd rather try with either a creationist economic illiterate from Arkansas of all places or a pandering flip-flopper from Massachusetts of all places (or is it New Hampshire or Michigan or Utan?).

Middle Class Guy said...

Hdhouse said
What a wierd election this is going to be.


I believe you are being more than prescient. I believe it will get even stranger. But, no matter what we think, who we support or detest, and what issues are important to us, this will be one of the most interesting elections in my lifetime. Who would think that elections are now a major form of entertainment, evolving or devolving into the realm of reality shows.

Elliott A said...

McCain is the best bet to beat Hillary because of those crossover votes coupled with the large antiHillary factor which will get republicans off their duffs to vote. If Obama is the Dem nominee, a lot of Republicans will stay home and he will win.

Not mentioned now is teh McCain age/ health issue, and the importance of his VP. Melanoma survivors tend to go quickly when the disease recurs. The odds might be as high as one in four that he wouldn't finish his first term and one in two of making it to 80 in 2017. If he had the right VP, he could abdicate in 2013 if things are going well, and retire if not. It will be curious to see when this subject is first breached in teh campaign.

Elliott A said...

Sorry, I type "the" too quickly and often get the "e" before the "h".

matthew said...

Looking solely at the numbers, McCain does have alot of things going for him. His current upswing is quite impressive. Here is a chart comparing all of the major Republican candidates in the polls... McCain is the only consistently going up right now.

http://politicalarithmetik.blogspot.com/2008/01/emerging-republican-consensus-can-it-be.html

http://politicalarithmetik.blogspot.com/2008/01/emerging-republican-consensus-can-it-be.html

Cedarford said...

The media is waaaaay in the tank for John McCain, who fits their narrative almost perfectly. He is Bob Dole II, who will be defeated by the Clinton forces of goodness and light moving the country from the dark night of Fascist Bushism.
Or by the Magic Negro expatiating all liberal sins and putting them in pure grace...

And like Dole, McCain is a sure loser as an old man with health problems, a relic of the past who Republicans must select and present as a trussed-up turkey for the carving because he is OWED. Bob Dole was for being a well-liked leader and a patriot. McCain apparantly for being loyal only to John McCain and his dear media friends, and being a patriot and a hero of happenstance.

McCain is a hero of happenstance because he was captured by enemy and has milked his Victimhood as POW almost 5 times as long as Rudy tried milking his hero of happenstance credentials as Mr 9/11. It justifies all "greatness" about McCain, while excusing in some way or another all acts of betrayal:

[I trusted people too much after my captivity landing me in the Keating 5. I was passed over as Admiral because of matters of temperment caused by my captivity. McCain Feingold because I saw what happens from my torture cells when a government does not have open elections. As someone who suffered, I can't see the children of illegal aliens suffering by not offering a fair path to citizenship (amnesty)]

As McCain's near-pornographic fluffers, the media helpfully reminds us that the Nevada caucuses are absolutely critical to the Democrats. But meaningless for Republicans because they are just Caucuses that John McCain ducked. Whereas, the slightly larger state of S Carolina is supremely important because "for 28 years the (wildly atypical for the nation) State of S Carolina has picked the Republican nominee!!!".
So for that bullshit stat (true in only 3 seriously contested Presidential races since 1980 where S Carolina mattered) we are told by McCains media enablers that:

1. Huckabee is finished.
2. Romney's 52% win in Nevada and getting more delegates Friday than McCain is irrelevant. Because, in a way they excuse McCains indie vote or a state packed with jingoists, Romney hasn't really won anything because his victories were tainted by home state favortism or "hidden Mormon influence".
3. Thompson is finished. But deserves the VP slot for serving as McCain's wingman in siphoning off Huckabee votes.
4. Ron Paul's 2nd in Nevada, showing the continued intellectual vitality of libertarianism, especially out West, can be ignored because it is all silly stuff to Manhattanite eyes.
5. Giuliani was clever avoiding the Great Man Himself, but He is now going to Florida via a parade where the press throws rose petals at his feet to take on Rudy and dispose of him, too. Because as a POW, McCain suffered for his country, while Rudy was a craven RFK volunteer and got student deferments.

Endgame - Vietnam guilt purged after McCain's Convention coronation - the media can then sadly shake their heads and note that McCain really isn't fit to be President. He unfortunately has the jet fighter jock management mentality identical to Dubya's. (My way or the highway, I go with my gut and don't need no stinking consultants, my decisions are always right - it isn't stubborness). My god, he's old, and showing it!!!

Then the rug will gently be pulled on Bob Dole II, but it will be pulled with the media atonement for rejecting McCain and Gore for Bush II completed. Assuring the Era of Clinton Redux or the Unproven Magic Negro of Soaring Oratory starts.......

McCain could stumble himself badly and the script be altered. But otherwise it will take balls to dispute McCains 35-year long POW Victimhood Entitlement only the Navy got fed up with when they said he wasn't Admiral material, or candidates openly challenge his record and Bush-like management style.

Even so, 2008 looks like the Democrats, Putin, EuroLeft, and Amahdinejad will have their way.

Bender said...

Actually, McCain got the same percentage, with far fewer actual votes, than he received in 2000 in South Carolina.

Elliott A said...

Putin wouldn't lose an election to Hillary!

Randy (Internet Ronin) said...

I wonder if Noam Scheiber will end up regretting having written Giuliani off. If he doesn't win Florida, he's probably toast, but until then he's still alive.

rcocean said...

Conservatives are going to have to coalesce one candidate. Fred's not liked for some reason, and Huckabee is too liberal and untrustworthy so it looks like it will be Romney.

Despite his current Victory, McCain will never be nominated. Although acceptable to the Establishment in a way Huckabee isn't, probably half the conservative Republicans hate his guts and will never support him.

Delay has stated he will stay home rather than vote for him. I'm sure Rick Santorum and many talk show hosts feel the same way.

Kev said...

Elliott A: Sorry, I type "the" too quickly and often get the "e" before the "h".

Yeah, I'll bet most of us realized you weren't suddenly writing in leetspeak.

But while we're on the subject, I have a friend whose given first name is "Woot." Even though he goes by a nickname, he was quite amused to find that his true first name was chosen as Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year.

(And it's somewhat ironic that, while typing that last sentence, it originally came out as "Word of teh Year.")

matthew said...

Kev, I don't mean to disappoint your friend, but I believe the word of the year was w00t, not woot. The numbers instead of letters are NOT optional in l33t speak.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/info/07words.htm

James said...

I understand that having the most delegates is the important thing, but I don't get the "Romney is inevitable" mindset of some. So far, he has won two states that none of the other major candidates campaigned in, and a state where his dad was governor and he promised to get all the auto jobs back (!). Not to mention, that his 52% in Nevada came with a near 100% take of the Mormon vote, accounting for almost half of his total votes.

I think one of the really important factors will be how Romney fares in the Southern states. If South Carolina was any indicator, it looked like they just don't want him as their candidate. He spent a good amount of time there, even giving a modified Michigan strategy (I'm going to get all of your lost textile jobs back!) and bringing the ridiculous "My campaign isn't run by lobbyists" line.

I just don't know if the Southern republican base will go for the slick, formerly liberal ex-gov. of Massachusetts, from a religion they may not trust, coming down and saying anything he can think of that might get him a vote. It looks like they'd rather trust a Baptist minister or the "grizzled vet" they know they disagree with on some (or many) things, than the near-robotic political machine, where you don't even know hat he actually thinks.

Middle Class Guy said...

James said:
Not to mention, that his 52% in Nevada came with a near 100% take of the Mormon vote, accounting for almost half of his total votes.


While I do not dispute your premise on Romney; those Mormon votes are the same Mormon votes that put Harry Reid of Nevada in the Senate.

the zoom said...

I would go for the Clintons over McCain

Synova said...

Belated winnowing?

For the love of Pete. It's January!

Randy (Internet Ronin) said...

Synova: I think its called the Feiler Faster Principle (or something like that). In other words, "Get it Over With NOW." The unstated addendum being "so I can complain about it being over too fast."

Randy (Internet Ronin) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pat said...

McCain's now the odds-on favorite (over 50%) to win the nomination at InTrade. He's not got the deal sewed up yet, but I like his chances a lot.

Kev said...

Kev, I don't mean to disappoint your friend, but I believe the word of the year was w00t, not woot. The numbers instead of letters are NOT optional in l33t speak.

Heh. My friend wouldn't be disappointed; he's fairly bemused by this whole thing, seeing as how he's in his fifties, not a gamer, etc. He didn't know his name "meant" something until I told him a few years ago. (However, some of my younger friends who are gamers think it's just about the coolest thing in the universe that I know a Woot.)

But both the article I linked and the one you linked seem to suggest an either/or in this situation:

"Although the double "o" in the word is usually represented by double zeroes, the exclamation is also known to be an acronym for "we owned the other team"—again stemming from the gaming community." (emphasis mine)