Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Iowa Expectations.

Let's go through the check list, shall we?

1. Gingrich is leading in virtually every poll of alleged caucus attenders in Iowa by a double-digit margin.

2. He polls better than he will actually perform in the straw poll balloting (that precedes the actual caucuses and that is the reported "result" on January 3rd).

3. He will under-perform because he does not have a substantial statewide organization. And he doesn't have any money to buy telemarketing services and the like to insta-build a statewide organization.

4. Ron Paul, on the other hand, has a substantial "field" organization and so is likely to somewhat "over-perform" in the actual balloting. If we say that he has 18% of the vote going in, he might actually win as much as 22% in the straw poll.

5. Mitt Romney has a better organization in Iowa than people (in the national press corps, at least) think. This is due to his prior presidential campaign in Iowa four years ago and the fact that his campaign is now spending money on organization in Iowa (while doing everything it can to lower expactations). It's possible that he could break into the low 20s, which would be just fine by Boston's calculations.

6. The key for Romney is for Paul to out-perform and for Gingrich to under-perform. This sets up a press narrative of the Gingrich souffle. The Newtster rose and then he fell. The normal laws of political gravity apply. Unstated conclusion: Gingrich is doomed.

7. This is exactly the narrative that Romney needs going into New Hampshire.

8. Rick Perry has to throw everything he's got at Iowa or he gets written out of the story. If he can finish third, he might (as former Senator Fred Harris famously said in 1976) get "winnowed in." But if he's fourth, then he's done.

Hat Tip: Arnon Mishkin