Monday, December 1, 2014

Iowa Caucuses: 2016 Opening Odds

 Ranked by Steve Deace at the Washington Times:
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee: 2-1
The former caucus champion is the opening favorite because he has two things going for him that matter in Iowa — he’s socially conservative and Iowans like him.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz: 4-1
He has the backing of the activists and has the best chance to put the long-dormant Reagan coalition back together again.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker: 5-1
He’s a repeated winner in a blue state, and has enough establishment and conservative credentials to put the George W. Bush coalition from 2000 back together again.
Dr. Ben Carson: 10-1
He already has a campaign chairman in each of Iowa’s 99 counties, and Iowans ask me about his potential candidacy more than any other. There are a lot of people who want Dr. Carson to sell them on his bid.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul: 15-1
His father’s Iowa coalition is diminishing for several reasons that would take another column to flesh out. He’s also facing some competition from Mr. Cruz for liberty voters, and he is struggling to make any gains with the state’s large bloc of evangelicals.
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum: 20-1
The reigning Iowa Caucus champ faces substantial competition for his base with Mr. Huckabee’s re-emergence, because much of Mr. Santorum’s earnest support in Iowa came from Mr. Huckabee’s former base. Several of those people have already moved back to Mr. Huckabee now that it’s clear he’s running this time.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal: 25-1
Iowans really like Mr. Jindal, and he could be a lot of people’s second choice. Which can set you up for a dark-horse run in a typical caucus environment.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio: 30-1
The Gang of 8 amnesty fiasco continues to haunt Mr. Rubio. However, he is still articulate, likable and fairly conservative. Like Scott Walker, he’s got some establishment and conservative street cred, and his odds would substantially increase if Walker declined to run for some reason.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence: 30-1
I’m told he’d like to run, and he’d also have some establishment/conservative support similar to Mr. Walker and Mr. Rubio. However, the political calendar conspires against him, because he’s not even through a full-term as Indiana governor yet.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich: 50-1
If I had posted these odds a month ago, Mr. Kasich wouldn’t have even been listed. But when you win what is historically the most important battle ground state for Republicans with more than 60 percent of the vote, you definitely become a candidate.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry: 50-1
Iowans are more fond of him now than they were in 2012, but he doesn’t really have a place in the race as of yet. He’s not as charming as Mr. Huckabee, as conservative as Mr. Cruz, he’s not a minority and he doesn’t represent an emerging faction like Mr. Rand. He’s also failed to maintain the momentum of the border crisis that made him a national political star briefly last summer.
Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan: 75-1
Some in the establishment here like him, but with Walker, Rubio, and Kasich also vying for that support he comes up short. He doesn’t have Walker’s record (and Walker overshadows him in his own state), Rubio’s charisma, or Kasich’s claim to electability.
Businessman Donald Trump: 100-1
He has had substantive conversations with key Iowans I know about running, and there’s no doubting he’s a star. But until he starts laying the serious groundwork of a campaign it’s hard to give him better odds.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie: 500-1
I don’t know anybody in Iowa who has proven they can move Iowa Caucus numbers who is lining up to jump on his bandwagon. Mr. Christie is a liberal Republican like Rudy Giuliani was, but doesn’t possess Mr. Giuliani’s winsome persona. His bullying demeanor also doesn’t mix well with “Iowa Nice.”
Off the Board: Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush
He has made no serious attempt to play in Iowa, and at best seems to be playing the role of Hamlet (“to be or not to be”) about running at all. Until he starts getting serious, there’s no point in laying odds on him.

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