"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Prediction Update

I had done fairly well with my predictions in Iowa, but I was much further off in New Hampshire for last night's GOP primary:

                             Actual                                    Prediction

Romney                39%                                         33%
Paul                      23%                                         20%
Huntsman             17%                                         15%
Gingrich                 9%                                          11%
Santorum                9%                                         17%
Perry                       1%                                           2%

One possible reason:  the number of cross-over votes from non-Republicans was greater than I accounted for, due to the absence of a Democratic primary.   These cross-overs inflated the numbers for Romney, Paul and Huntsman, the candidates with more appeal to liberals (Huntsman), centrists (Romney) or libertarians (Paul), and diluted the numbers for conservatives.

Another possible reason:  maybe I'm just not that smart.   My prediction for Santorum was probably wishful thinking.   I should have realized that a hard-line pro-Life family values Catholic conservative wouldn't sell in the Northeast.

In any event, Romney seemed to surge back toward 40%, which I didn't expect (although everyone expected him to win handily given the demographics of NH and its closeness to Massachusetts.   And Paul continued to do better than expected (again likely due to crossover appeal to liberals (on his foreign policy) and libertarians (on his economics)).   Huntsman bet his campaign on NH and came in third, but I doubt whether he will have any appeal in South Carolina or Florida, so he's likely just hanging on.   And Santorum, the story coming out of Iowa, came back down to Earth in NH, although his showing was substantially higher than he would have commanded just a week or two ago.   Perry, meanwhile, is dead in the water.

As to Gingrich, the oddity of this campaign continues.   Gingrich did well when he was not taken seriously but was playing the role of senior statesman, dazzling in debates without deriding his opponents.   Once he got in the game, his inner nasty reared its ugly head, and his campaign started collapsing.   His attacks on Romney over the weekend, essentially for having been successful in business, were pathetic, and hurt him, while probably marginally helping Romney.   

In sum, I think it's over and we're looking at a Romney candidacy.   Of the rest of the candidates, only Santorum looks like a viable VP choice.  

But, of course, I've been wrong before.

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