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Wednesday, January 2, 2007 - 7:35pm

Prediction Time

The Iowa caucus is less than 24 hours away and both races are too close to call, but we're going to call them anyway.  Hillary Clinton has been the Democratic frontrunner for months, but is now in a virtual tie with Barack Obama and John Edwards.  Mitt Romney has spent millions of dollars in the state, but is tied with Mike Huckabee, a relative unknown a few months ago.

 

Even though Iowa is toss-up, here are my predictions for the Republicans tomorrow night.

1st Place - Mitt Romney

2nd Place - Mike Huckabee

3rd Place - Ron Paul

4th Place - John McCain

5th Place -  Fred Thompson

Even though Huckabee is tied with Romney, it is Romney who boasts a better ground game in getting out the vote.  Also, Huckabee has slid after making a handful of small political mistakes.

 

The race for third place is also intriguing, as McCain, Thompson, Paul, and Giuliani are all within seven percent of each other.  Ron Paul is tied for fifth in the RCP average, but with only 90,000 people expected to vote in the Republican caucus, Dr. Paul needs only about 15,000 votes to take a commanding third place position.  It should be noted that Ron Paul received 9% in the Iowa straw poll in August even though he was polling at less than 1% at the time.  Today, he polls at 7.5% in Iowa.  I believe Ron Paul will take third place with room to spare.

 

The Democratic winner could be any of the top three, but here are my predictions.

1st Place - John Edwards

2nd Place - Barack Obama

3rd Place - Hillary Clinton

4th Place - Joe Biden

If this were a primary I'd say Hillary would win, but this is a caucus.  In the Iowa caucus, a voter's second choice matters and it is John Edwards who has a comfortable lead in that area.  Edwards has lagged behind in the polls for months, but has surged in the last two weeks to within a few percent of Obama and Clinton.  His organizational strength and his lead as the second choice will propel him to the top.

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