Monday, December 5, 2011

My Bet is on Roger's Version

And by "Roger's Version" I'm not referring to one of my favorite Updike novels but my high school grade advisor and teacher, with whom I am in contact for reasons explained here.

Roger Brickner was passionate about politics when I participated in the mock political convention he staged the year I graduated in 1960, on the eve of Kennedy's election. Remarkably, now 51 years later, he is still passionate and his political analysis has been prescient, better I think than the political analysts we are exposed to on the battle between Fox and MSNBC. Survey research is a highly statistical discipline but the results can be problematic due to methodological flaws, question bias, and socially desirable responses, people trying to put themselves in a favorable light when answering questions (vs. what they do in the voting booth). I prefer the old fashion educated opinion, and they don't get much better on the topic of politics -- or as enthusiastic -- than Roger's broadcast emails during an election year. I have his permission to bring them to light in my blog from time to time and here is his latest one on the upcoming Republican primaries in January....

Dear Friends:

What a difference those two weeks were in terms of the Republican race for a nominee. It is getting down to a battle between Gingrich and Romney, but with Paul holding in there tenaciously in third place. All the others on a national basis will be in single digits when it comes time to vote in just one month's time. These others could exceed once in a while their single digit status. Bachmann in Iowa and Huntsman in NH for instance.

In this discussion I will confine myself to the primaries and caucus scheduled for January.

IOWA CAUCUS Jan 3 These votes will be divided proportionally... I believe a 15% threshold is required to get ANY delegates. the Iowa caucus is a whole afternoon and evening event (ordeal?... read only the dedicated hang in there). I am not ready to give exact percentages yet, but I see the following order GINGRICH, closely followed by ROMNEY, then PAUL, but PAUL will probably fall short of 15%. Therefore I would expect GINGRICH to win a majority of the 28 delegates. This will be a good boost for his challenge to Romney.

NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARY Jan 10 these votes will be divided proportionally with a 15% threshold to get ANY delegates. I now see the order as ROMNEY by a wide margin. GINGRICH second and PAUL third. Coming in a respectable fourth is HUNTSMAN, but I would doubt he would reach the 15% threshold . With just 12 delegates (such a fuss NH makes over so few delegates) I would expect the results to show ROMNEY 8 delegates, GINGRICH 2 delegates and PAUL 2 delegates.


ROMNEY 19, GINGRICH 19, PAUL 2. Close race !!

SOUTH CAROLINA PRIMARY Jan 21 These delegates will be winner take all. I see GINGRICH winning by at least 10 points, thus gathering all 25 delegates.



FLORIDA PRIMARY Jan 31 These delegates are winner take all,. I see GINGRICH beating ROMNEY by wide margin. It will be a very bad night for ROMNEY. All 50 delegates will go to the Georgian neighbor GINGRICH.



It will be imperative for ROMNEY to bounce back in the four caucus states of NEVADA, MAINE, COLORADO and MINNESOTA between Feb. 4-7. There are no SOUTHERN states here and ROMNEY must do well to get the balance of delegates more even. I will be looking into these states in the next two weeks and will be able to comment better at that time on whether ROMNEY can keep in the race. One note, the really big northern states of NEW YORK (Apr 24) NEW JERSEY (June 5) PENNSYLVANIA (Apr 24) OHIO (June 12) MICHIGAN (Feb. 28) ILLINOIS (Mar 20) and CALIFORNIA (June 5) seem to be in ROMNEY's column so the decisive delegate numbers may not be known until quite late. Watch MICHIGAN on Feb 28 and ILLINOIS on Mar. 20 as a clue to how these other big northern states will swing.

There is still the chance that for the first time since 1948 the nomination for the Rep. nominee might go beyond the first ballot. A long shot, but an exciting possibility.

THIRD PARTIES? I could see BACHMANN get into it if ROMNEY became the nominee. I'm sure she would get less than 5% of the vote, but it would hurt ROMNEY. PAUL keeps saying he will not run a third party, but he has done it before and may do it again. He would be worth 5-10% of the vote. Because of his war stance he could hurt OBAMA the most. All this is just speculation, but not outside of the possible this election cycle.

I continue to believe that OBAMA will beat GINGRICH by a margin greater than he won in 2008. A ROMNEY candidacy would be a very close race, perhaps a narrow victory for him and if not OBAMA would do less well than he did in 2008 against MC CAIN But we have 11 months before we will know better.


Here is Roger's updated forecast dated Dec. 26...

Dear friends:

I trust you have all had a very Merry Christmas this Holiday season. I enjoyed an excellent meal with a schoolboy friend of 65 years in NYC.

The shifting sands of elective politics continue to rearrange the landscape. I will look at the first three contests.

IOWA The latest "flavor of the month" is beginning to slip. Between Newt Gingrich's mouth and his poor organizational support ( failed to get on VA ballot) is catching up with him in the eyes of the voters. This shows in my latest estimate for the Iowa caucus on Jan 3. My expectations:

1 ROMNEY (20-25%) 8 delegates
2 PAUL (20-25%) 8 delegates
3 GINGRICH (15-20%) 6 delegates
4 PERRY (15-20%) 6 delegates
5 BACHMAN ( 5-10%)
6 SANTORUM ( 5-10%)
7 HUNTSMAN (5-10%)

Three weeks ago, before the decline in Gingrich became apparent, I had him leading, but he has fallen back to third place now. Paul, certainly not the flavor for ANY month will give Romney a good race for first place. I have to say that Santorum is likely to quit when, after traveling to every Iowa county, he will only draw single digits. Same for Bachman, but she may, inexplicably, hold on for a while, though I do not see her getting into double digits anywhere.

Next comes my state of NEW HAMPSHIRE on Jan 10. My prediction made on Dec 3 still seems to hold except I expect Gingrich to fall back to third place, while, once again Paul moves up at his expense.

1 ROMNEY (35-40%) 6 delegates
2 PAUL (15-20%) 3 delegates
3 GINGRICH (15-20%) 3 delegates
4 HUNTSMAN (10-15%)
The rest that are still in the race should get in the low single digits.


SOUTH CAROLINA votes on Jan. 21. If GINGRICH can't do well here he never will.

1 GINGRICH (30-35%) 11 delegates
2 ROMNEY (25-30%) 9 delegates
3 PAUL (15-20% 5 delegates
4 BACHMAN ( 5-10%) if she is still in the race
5 PERRY ( 5-10%)

This is the least certain of my predictions as events will have a lot to do with the results of this event still 4 weeks away. Unless Gingrich wins by more than just a few points here I would expect him to do less and less, including FLORIDA which will come up ten days later. Perry, also should be looking weak in a southern state like SC. Does this leave the non-ROMNEY candidate to be the eccentric RON PAUL?? How fascinating that would be.

Finally, the president and the Democrats in the dysfunctional Congress came up winners over the NO NO NO crowd who focus on OBAMA rather than on issues they espouse. When will they learn? Are they trying hard to lose the HOUSE OF REPS?? More on these after the Reps. decide on who will be their standard bearer.

Have a Happy New Year!! Roger