Who Will Win The Nominations?

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.

6 Responses to Who Will Win The Nominations?

  1. Scott McClurg January 4, 2008 at 12:33 am #

    Being in Illinois and an Obama fan, I’m tempted to say he’ll get it done for a couple of reasons: 1) he can raise with Clinton dollar for dollar and 2) the primary schedule should allow him to answer important questions about viability. I also think Clinton is about ready to get two weeks of not-so-good media spin that she can’t do much about. All that said, I don’t know how much faith I have in a strategy that is built so strongly on appeals to independents and relies on charisma.

    I won’t even begin to hazard a guess for the GOP. They’re a mess.

    Side note: can anyone give me the rationale for Giuliani’s strategy? Or, I guess, can someone explain what the logic is there?

  2. Erik January 4, 2008 at 11:21 am #

    Lou Dobbs
    (he or another anti-immigration scare crow will run as an independent if Romney or Huckabee doesn’t win. I’ll get that drink!).

  3. Jeff Shear January 4, 2008 at 12:45 pm #


  4. John Sides January 4, 2008 at 2:24 pm #

    Jeff: No “oops” yet! I was predicting the nominations, not Iowa. Of course, the Iowa result doesn’t exactly help make my prediction come true.

    Erik: I will bet you one drink on the Democratic nomination and another on Dobbs. He will not run, no matter what.

    Scott: You may yet be right about Obama. As for Giuliani, my assumption is that he thinks an even more front-loaded calendar means that momentum matters less. Thus, he can concede early states and wait for Super(-Duper) Tuesday. I am skeptical: a month is plenty of time for a consistent winner to build momentum. However, if no one Republican candidate wins consistently in IA, NH, SC, etc., Super Tuesday may be wide-open. But I don’t know that this helps Giuliani, assuming his weak showing in the early states hurts his overall standing (already in decline, obviously).

  5. Erik January 4, 2008 at 5:40 pm #

    These days, a bet between the two of us for drinks is an excellent form of cheap talk.



  6. Jim January 7, 2008 at 3:01 am #

    Prof. Sides: Do you think it’s possible that the relationship between elite endorsements and nominations is spurious? I have nothing to back this up, but my instinct is that elite endorsements would largely be a function of organization. Could organization be the causal variable? If that’s the case, press vocerage suggests Obama’s organization matches, if not surpasses, Clinton’s.
    Any insight or lit recommendations you could give a lowly undergrad would be greatly appreciated.