Romney Flooding New Hampshire Airwaves

November 26, 2007

Romney’s latest ad buys in New Hampshire:

During October, Romney regularly spent more than $100,000 a week on ad buys at WMUR-TV, New Hampshire’s only statewide commercial television station. This month, Romney upped the ante yet again. His campaign is now spending more than $200,000 a week on WMUR:

Oct. 31 to Nov. 6: $219,865 for 191 ads

Nov. 7-13: $228,500 for 220 ads

Nov. 14-20: $227,475 for 204 ads

That’s Romney ’round the clock, at the rate of more than one ad an hour, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

A glance at the top line of recent polling data indicates Romney’s splurges have been successful – he’s bounced from the 20s to the 30s in a month. But only 16% of Republicans have definitely decided who they’re backing, showing a fluid race with the potential for shakeup.


Hillary’s Electability

November 26, 2007

From Zogby’s new survey:

Clinton trailed Senator John McCain 42 percent to 38 percent, former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani by 43 percent to 40 percent and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney by 43 percent to 40 percent.

She also lagged behind former Arkansas Republican governor Mike Huckabee by 44 to 39 percent, and former Senator Fred Thompson by 44 to 40 percent in hypothetical general election matchups.

Clinton’s top Democratic challengers Barack Obama and John Edwards however would still beat their hypothetical Republican rivals in potential 2008 contests.

The significance of the poll is more symbolic, as all leads fall within the margin of error.  But still, the results are unfavorable to the tenet central to Clinton’s strategy – she alone can beat the Republican nominee.

Clinton Camp Tamping Down Iowa Expectations

November 23, 2007

From Clinton spokesman Mark Daley: “Our definition of success [in Iowa] doesn’t necessarily mean coming in first.  As long as we have a strong showing on caucus night.  We’re running against a guy from a neighboring state who shares media markets with the state.”

This statement comes after the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll showing Obama – 30%, Clinton – 26%.  Even though this is the first time a poll has shown Obama in the lead in the Hawkeye State for months, there are a few caveats to keep in mind.  1)  As with most polls in the tight Iowa race, the lead is within the margin of error.  2) The last poll to show Obama in the lead?  Also conducted by Washington Post/ABC News back in June, a time when other polling organizations showed either Clinton or Edwards leading.

At first glance, Daley’s statement seems out of the blue.  Is Clinton, the candidate surrounded by an aura of inevitability, saying a second-place finish in Iowa is acceptable?  It appears as if Daley’s remarks are a gross overreaction to a single poll.  But perhaps there’s more to this trend of a narrowing race, possibly surfacing in the campaign’s internal polling.  Perhaps Clinton’s new “Trust” ad is an attempt to beat back the growing chorus of dishonesty her Democratic foes are pounding home.  Whatever lies behind it, the Clinton campaign lowering expectations in Iowa indicates a real race to the finish in the next month.

Fred Thompson’s Faulty Campaign Strategy

November 19, 2007

Fred Thompson’s entrance into the Republican race arrived amidst much fanfare from the conservative base dissatisfied with the three leading candidates at the time.  But since his delayed announcement, Thompson has failed to live up to the lofty expectations.  In Iowa, Thompson registers a paltry 4th place, while in New Hampshire, Thompson’s at the back of the pack in 6th place.  However, the campaign has made it no secret that the first test comes in South Carolina, where the Tennesse senator hopes to capitalize on his southern appeal.

Right now, Thompson is running a close third behind Romney and Giuliani in the Palmetto State and has begun running television advertisements.  But the way the nominating calendar has shaped up, focusing on a state that goes third is a losing strategy.

Let’s examine the likeliest scenarios for Iowa and New Hampshire.

  1. Romney maintains his leads in Iowa and New Hampshire and takes both states.  Buoyed by the two victories, he comes into South Carolina with momentum.  Giuliani doesn’t suffer too much because he’s been discounting the importance of the early contests (but still actively participating in them).  No chance for Thompson to increase his numbers, and Romney romps to victory.
  2. Romney wins Iowa, but Giuliani manages to steal New Hampshire.  Giuliani benefits from a wave of positive press and enters South Carolina with momentum.  Giuliani goes up, and Romney may dip slightly after a loss in a heavily-invested state.  A small chance for Thompson to increase his numbers by chipping away at Romney supporters, but Giuliani’s gain is too large to overcome.  Either Giuliani or Romney takes the state. 
  3. Huckabee triumphs in Iowa, and Giuliani benefits from Romney’s devastating loss to win in New Hampshire.  This is the most beneficial scenario to Thompson, as Romney’s candidacy would effectively be dead.  Still, Romney supporters would be split across various candidates – Huckabee, Thompson, Giuliani – and Giuliani benefits from the same momentum as in Scenario 2.  Bottom line: Thompson loses to Giuliani.

In all three scenarios, Thompson loses out to a candidate that benefited from momentum in the prior states. 

On the Democratic side in 2004, Wesley Clark skipped Iowa to focus on New Hampshire and present himself as the alternate to Dean.  However, Kerry and Edwards were the two big stories coming out of Iowa due to their one-two finish, getting momentum while Clark missed out on the chance to get a bump.  This time around, Thompson’s basically skipping the first two states, leaving significant opportunities for other candidates to break through.

Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner

November 11, 2007

Barack Obama’s speech last night at the Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner received rave reviews, with influential Iowa columnist David Yepsen calling it “excellent” and “one of the best of his campaign.” Feeding off the energy of the surging crowd, Obama was in his element, showing his poise and confidence. Just a wonderful speech evoking comparisons to his vaunted 2004 DNC speech. Choice quote:

Not answering questions because we’re afraid our answers won’t be popular just won’t do it. That’s why
telling the American people what we think they want to hear instead of telling the American people what they need to hear just won’t do it. Triangulating and poll driven positions because we’re worried about what Mitt or Rudy might say about us just won’t do it. If we are really serious about winning this election, Democrats, then, we can’t live in fear of losing. [Democrats have made the biggest difference] when we led not by polls, but by principle; not by calculation, but by conviction.

The video of the 20-minute speech is below, with the full transcript after the jump:

Read the rest of this entry »

Hillary’s War Room Goes Public

November 8, 2007

As the primary season heats up, Hillary Clinton’s campaign has launched “The Fact Hub“, a rapid-response web-site rebutting other candidates’ assertions.  Among the charges refuted today: the more serious one of Obama saying Hillary doesn’t support ethanol and the less serious one that no one from the campaign left a tip at a diner in Iowa.  For an independent fact-checker, check out PolitiFact from the St. Petersburg Times.

The Republicans’ Split

November 8, 2007

A fierce onslaught of endorsements has begun, the most notable being Pat Robertson endorsing Rudy Giuliani. The overriding rationale for Robertson’s endorsement: “To me, the overriding issue before the American people is the defense of our population from the blood lust of Islamic terrorists.” How’s that for fearmongering?

In other endorsement news, Sam Brownback lent his support to John McCain’s campaign, the Kansan citing the Arizona senator as ” the best pro-life candidate to beat Hillary Clinton.” Marc Ambinder has his take on how this helps McCain in Iowa. And rounding it all up, Paul Weyrich, a godfather of the modern conservative movement, endorsed Mitt Romney.

What does this recent slew of endorsements mean for the GOP race? The lack of unity reveals deep divisions among leading social conservatives, as they fail to coalesce around a single candidate. As long as the religious vote is divvied up among several candidates (e.g. Romney, Thompson, Huckabee), Giuliani wins out in the end.

An escalating feud between Thompson and Huckabee shows each campaign trying to knock the other out in order to build a larger anti-Giuliani base. However, Romney has the better strategy in also going after Giuliani himself.  Giuliani backers have qualms about their candidate, and Romney criticizing the mayor on the hot-button issue of immigration exacerbates those reservations.