Thursday, January 17, 2008

A little election excitement in the US

Every year Venezuelans endure yet another election with 2008 being no different this time voting for mayors, councilmen, and governors. If the opposition can manage to unit and campaign well, they may be able to pull off another victory against Chavez so 2008 will be an exciting year. Equally exciting but with far fewer consequences is the US presidential election slated for Novermber 4th. The most exciting aspect of the campaign has to be how open the campaign has become, especially on the republican side. Here is a little factoid: not since the election of 1928 has no vice-president or incumbent been running for office, this along with Americans desire for change has made this campaign exciting.

It is now fairly clear that either Obama or Clinton will be the Democratic candidate. According to the recent Zogby poll both candidates are in a statistical tie with both attracting the same level of independent voters and among males and females; however, blacks and young people tend to favor Obama. Among those individuals that vote who are "republican light" they tend to highly favor Obama, so the question becomes how will this influence the remaining democratic primaries.

The most noteworthy aspect here has to be the volatility of the candidates, with Huckabee winning Iowa, McCain New Hampshire, and Romney Michigan, making this a three way race. If Giuliani manages to pick up Florida it could be a four way race. This volatility is reflected in the Zogby poll that now shows McCain (28%) with a slight edge over Huckabee (23%) in a national poll. Both Huckabee and McCain seem to attract a similar level of support from registered Republicans, however, McCain manages to attract more support from independent voters, and men and women, with Huckabee attracting more support form young people.

During an interview of John Zogby he stated that according to his polls voters are now tending to favor experience in a candidate, this is fairly reasonable considering the current economic situation with the US potentially entering a recession. This favoritism towards experience is showing a benefit towards Clinton and McCain, and Romney to a lesser degree.

A rumor that has been circulating is that the mayor of New York City (Bloomberg) might though his hat into the ring as a an independent. If he does, which seems unlikely, my guess would be that it would divide the republican voters more than the democratic voters. This would especially be true if Huckabee or Romney become the nominee since their candidacy would attract the social conservatives and Bloomberg the fiscal conservatives.

It looks as though pollsters and the media will be hard at work trying to figure out who will be the nominee for both parties until super Tudesday February 5th when 22 states hold their primaries.

So I will go ahead and make own prediction. I still think Clinton will be the Democratic nominee although her chances seem to be getting slimmer by the day, with just today Patrick Leahy announcing he will support Obama and with John Kerry endorsing him last week. On the republican side, obviously much trickier, I will predict McCain as the nominee.