Analysis of the Iowa Caucus: Winners May Be Losers January 4, 2008Posted by Daniel Downs in Barak Obama, conservative, Democrats, demographics, health care, Hillary Clinton, illegal immigrants, Income, Iowa caucus, Iraq, John Edwards, John McCain, marriage, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, news, political campaigns, political economy, politics, polls, religion, Republicans, Ron Paul, Rudy Giuliani, terrorism, war.
Mike Huckabee is all blue as he leaves Iowa. He moves on having won the caucus race. Voters were probably turning blue as they stood out in the cold to vote on 3 January. Nevertheless, they were blue mostly for Huckabee; 34% voted for Huckabee, 25% for Mitt Romney, 13% for identical twins Fred Thompson and John McCain, and 10% for Ron Paul.
It seems Huckabee won for a number of reasons. He led the pack with more support from women, strong conservatives, born-again evangelicals, people who are too perturbed with Bush politics, value voters many of whom lived in suburbs, small towns and rural areas. The majority of his supporters have family incomes less than $100,000. Many Iowans liked his positions on immigration, the war in Iraq, the economy, and terrorism.
Romney is still a little blue not because of the cold but because of rejection. He spent much more than all other campaigners without the desired win. Romney’s second place finish still showed many Iowans liked him. Status quo Iowans voted for him. That is, voters who do not care about whether a candidate holds similar beliefs and values. Most of his supporters were not evangelicals. Like Huckabee, most were not necessarily satisfied with Bush politics but they were not loosing sleep over it. On the issues, almost as many as liked Huckabee’s views liked Romney’s positions on the economy and especially on terrorism. More of Romney voters lived in large and mid-sized cities with family incomes over $100,000.
John McCain obviously not a standout candidate. Yet, the 13% who voted for him agreed with him about the war in Iraq and terrorism. A significant percent (26%) of McCain voters regarded themselves as moderates.
I did not include Fred Thompson because the rumor going around is that he is going to drop out. I included Ron Paul in this analysis because I like him. Since the Straw Poll, Paul’s support increased at least 4 percent. To Paul’s credit, more independent voters came out to support him than any other. Most of his supporters are from low and middle-income families living in suburbs and rural areas. The unique characteristic about Paul voters is their angry about Bush policies. They are the proverbial unhappy campers.
(See MSNBC Iowa Republican Exit Poll for more information.)
Barak Obama is one hot candidate. He is not only fired up, but he no doubt is still seeing all of those red counties where the torch of victory passed his way. I’m tempted to say Hillary Clinton and John Edward are quite blue, but I will not insult them. I image they are red with anger—maybe envy—about how decisive Obama won. My guess so many Iowans came out voting red was because they were still heated up about the last election. Whatever the case, 38% of Democrats voted for Obama, 30% for Clinton, and 40% for Edwards.
Obama won the Iowa caucus because more men and women, young and middle aged, not married, Black, Hispanic, and Asian, non-union voters liked his ideas. Over 51% said they believed he is the candidate who could bring needed change. Most believe he could make significant change in the economy, the war in Iraq, and health care. A majority of his supporters are either Independents or Republicans with family incomes exceeding $100,000 and living in large cities, suburbs, and rural areas.
Clinton should be red about her defeat for a number of reasons. She did not do so well with woman, Democrats, members of unions, moderates, or conservatives voted for her. Fewer women and moderates and no more union members or conservatives supported her than they did Obama. At least in Iowa, voters are not buying her experienced centrist positions. Nevertheless, Clinton was supported by the middle aged and elderly. Even though people do not believe she is a true blue centrist, most believe she is an experience politician prepared for the presidential job. Of course, it helps still being married to ex-president red Willy. Her example is attracting other married men and women more than other candidates at least in Iowa. A majority of her supporters are union members who live in mid-sized cities with family incomes under $100,000.
Edwards was a hot item among white, married, middle aged workers, republican and independent, conservative, with family incomes over $100,000, and living in the suburbs and rural areas. His positions on the economy and health care were better received than his views on the war in Iraq. Even Hillary did better on the issue of the war. Edwards stood out to voters who want a president who genuinely cares about their situation and needs. It should be remembered that big taxes, big spending, and the paternal welfare state government arose because of those types of presidents and their policies, FDR’s New Deal and LBJ’s Great Society for example.
(See MSNBC Iowa Democrat Exit Poll for more information.)
The Bottom Line
The bottom line in political campaign is who can win. This is where the exist polls get really interesting.
Whom do you suppose Iowans believed win the November presidential election? If you responded Huckabee or Obama, you would be entirely wrong. Both Huckabee and Obama probably have the blues about this one. Of all voters supporting Huckabee, only 8% believed he could win in November, which is comparable to Paul’s 5% vote of confidence. Now, that is a depressing vote of confidence especially when compared to McCain’s 14% and Obama’s 23 percent. Obama has nothing to brag about seeing voters gave a 30% confidence vote to Clinton and a 36% confidence vote to Edwards. Although Hillary might be red with envy over Edwards’ superior level of confidence among voters, all Democrats have something to worry about—his name is Romney. Romney received a 51% confidence vote from Iowans voters.
As I mentioned in my last post, Iowa Caucus: Sleeping on it, national polls reveal Hilary Clinton(46%) as the preferred Democrat president candidate and John McCain (22%) as the Republican candidate with Rudy Giuliani (20%) and Mike Huckabee (17%) following closely behind.