Before the Iowa caucus gets underway, I’ll give my predictions: Clinton and Romney. Why? As I noted in this early post, pre-primary elite endorsements are perhaps the strongest predictor of who wins the most delegates, and as of August Clinton and Romney were leading in this category. (However, Romney’s lead over McCain is tiny at best, which makes his resurgence all the more intriguing.) When I first made this prediction, in a talk at GW back in early November, Clinton and Romney were also doing quite well in the polls in the early states, suggesting victories there and the resulting momentum would only augment the apparent advantages conferred by pre-primary endorsements. Of course, since then, their leads in the polls have waned or even disappeared.
What do some other political scientists think?
William Mayer makes the same prediction in this piece.
Marty Cohen and colleagues also suggest that the Democratic Party elites have coalesced around Clinton, though these leaders remain somewhat “lukewarm.” They find less evidence of agreement within the Republican Party, where there is “little positive party leadership for voters to follow.”
So, all told, I’m far from certain. But I’ll stick to my guns: Clinton and Romney.