Friday, December 14, 2007


It's amusing to watch Republicans squirm these days, but really, does anyone think that Mike Huckabee would win if there were, say, an instant-runoff system in place to choose the GOP nominee for president?

It's not just that that the Republicans who don't like him really don't like him -- it's that he probably couldn't get the support of anywhere close to a majority of Republicans if he were matched head to head with any of the other front-runners. He's only at or near the lead in so many polls because the majority of Republicans (who want a candidate they think is electable) are splitting their votes among several other candidates.

There wouldn't need to be an instant runoff if the primaries served as a winnowing-out process, but they don't seem likely to do so: Romney will do well in Iowa and New Hampshire and has gobs of money, so he'll stay in -- but McCain will probably also stay in for a while, assuming he has a strong showing in New Hampshire, and Giuliani will hang on through Florida and into Super Tuesday, while Thompson hangs on until South Carolina. If McCain, Thompson, and Giuliani dropped out before Super Tuesday, Romney could probably kick Huckabee's butt in big states -- and you can substitute Giuliani and perhaps Thompson and maybe even McCain for Romney in that scenario and get the same result.

But that won't happen, and Huckabee might win a lot of delegates from deep-red states up to and on Super Tuesday, with less than 30% support -- which is probably about what he'd get one-on-one with any of the other front-runners.

Ah, well -- pass the popcorn. Some of the other guys could put party ahead of ego, but they won't. And the mayl get Huck as a result.

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