My crystal ball is murky


s I’m always saying, in the editorial biz, we’re about who should win elections, not who will win. Endorsements aren’t predictions, yadda-yadda.

Well, we did our endorsement. It’s done, and I’m quite satisfied with it.

Who’s going to win is a separate question, and I’ve been known to indulge in the most indiscreet indulgence of making predictions since I took up the unwholesome habit of blogging.

But I just don’t know what to tell you. You know and I know who I hope will win, because I’ve been very clear about it. And there’s reason to be hopeful. Zogby shows McCain with a decent lead:

Arizona Sen. John McCain is holding on to his lead in South Carolina as the Republican primary election there approaches, a new Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby three-day telephone tracking poll shows. But the survey also shows former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney are closing in on him ahead of Saturday’s vote.

In the latest telephone tracking survey, McCain is holding steady at 29%, while Huckabee wins 22% support for the second day in a row.

Then there’s this, but it’s two days old, and I don’t know anything about that outfit’s record for accuracy.

And remember, "accuracy" is a relative thing. The best poll in the world captures a moment in time, and that moment often doesn’t match the one in which people vote. Campaigns move in four dimensions.

Also, Zogby has been known to be very wrong, very recently. And then there’s the poll that we published in this newspaper this very day, showing a McCain-Huckabee statistical dead heat.

Even with John Zogby, there’s reason for a McCainiac to be concerned. To subscribers to his service (one of whom shared this with me), he says:

There is movement afoot in the Palmetto State. The precise three-day rolling average is McCain 28.6%, Huckabee 22.3%, Romney 15.4%, and Thompson 13.2%. The very first day of polling McCain led by double digits. In the single day of polling on Thursday alone, Romney hit 19%, while McCains lead over Huckabee stood at only 3.2%. If Romney continues to gain after Michigan it will hurt McCain.

And then consider the bad weather forecast, and consider:

Likely voters of different ages had different tastes, the survey shows. Romney led among voters aged 18-29, with 33%. Huckabee was favored by those aged 30 to 49, with 30% of their support. Voters aged 50 to 64 liked McCain best, giving him 33% of their support. McCain also dominated among those over 65, with 42% support. Romney was a distant second among seniors, with 19% support.

So it can go either way. We wait to see which face emerges from the crowd.


13 thoughts on “My crystal ball is murky

  1. Scott R.

    McCain scares me. I won’t vote republican if he is the nominee. I don’t know what to do if that happens. Huckabee seems to be selling religion. I don’t like that either.

  2. Charles Purvis

    Fred Thompson is the real deal, the only candidate with a true conservative position on all the issues. The only one who openly invites you to look at his past. The only one who will look you straight in the eye and tell you how it really is, good or bad, straightup. The only one that can be trusted to stand tall, and have the resolve to do what is necessary to protect America.
    Here’s some links:
    The following speech is about 17 minutes long, but worth every minute.

    I think he’s who we need to Protect America. He’s straightforward, strong on national security and defense, tough on illegal immigration, wants to lower taxes more and simplify the tax code, and he’s for second ammendment rights and state’s rights.

  3. Bill

    Whatever happened to the moderate republican? There’s one in the race, Ron Paul, and he’s a distant….5th? At some point, the republicans need to return to Reagan’s message, not their interpretation of it.

  4. Uroot

    Paul a moderate conservative? How about a moderate “nut job.” Doctors go to medical school to learn one thing and that is to be a Doctor. They then believe that they can do anything and now everything. Paul to go back to doctoring.
    Huckabee is the best politician of the bunch. He always has a good excuse about how he was in the wrong leadership postion at the wrong time and things “just happened.”
    McCain is old and so far out there that he is not right, middle, or left. I don’t know where he is. I don’t think he does either.
    Thompson is still running?
    Where is Guiliani anyway?

  5. Galen Manapat

    I looked at the DVD mailed out by the Palmetto Family Councel by present and earlier candidates in September. There were clear differences. One candidate didn’t even address directly the issues of importance to the Palmetto Family Councel.
    To me, Romney, Huckabee, and Thompson stood out, at least in terms of what they could verbalize. I encourage South Carolinians to listen to them, and then vote.

  6. Randy Ewart

    This is off the topic but relates to a Thursday article in The State, “On the Road for Schools”.
    It seems money was pumped into a poor school district and test scores went UP! Using the SCouRGe method of analysis, this is evidence that money = higher test scores.

  7. Dan Roberts

    Hillary, McCain, Romney and Thompson are super millionaires according to the latest issue of MONEY magazine. I would just like a president who can identify with the common man and focus on issues that can make our lives better. Education. Roads and Infrastructure. Uncontrolled monopoly gas prices. Immigration. We don’t need a statesman. We need a common sense pragmatist. Huckabee. Who, by the way, doesn’t blip on the millionaires list.

  8. Mike Cakora

    Hmmm. Still some folks suffering from ”electile dysfunction” around here.
    I spoke with a FredHead yesterday who was trying to decide whether to vote for Fred or against another candidate by voting for a third.
    He thought that Fred was so far behind that voting for him would be a waste. At the same time, he really doesn’t like the Huckster, so he thought that a vote for Romney would be a strategic move. When I asked about McCain, he replied that the man had served his country well but was too old and had more baggage than is lost at O’Hare International Airport each year. So I just reminded him of Marcus Aurelius’s observation on life:

    The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.

    Not being affiliated with a major party (I’m a social conservative, economic libertarian, Groucho Marxists atheist), I’m curious as to what a “moderate Republican” is. Really. Rudy, Mitt, and Big John have been given that label at one time or another. Is it a person’s view on abortion? Federalism? Taxes? Immigration? Defense? Defloor?
    I suggest that it’s a subjective matter, so much so that two so-called moderate Republicans could get involved in a fistfight over their differences.

  9. Phillip

    Mike, good to see you commenting on here again. It’s been fascinating to watch the Republicans this year, they’re acting more like Democrats than ever before in each faction’s zeal and desire to submit each candidate to a series of litmus tests, which of course none of them can pass in their entirety.
    Most fascinating of all has been Huckabee, whose brand of evangelism has rekindled the quaint notion that to be religious also means you’re supposed to actually CARE for people instead of just hating certain ones…thus causing the more-tax-cuts-for-the-wealthy crowd to realize they can no longer abide their Faustian (ironic, isn’t it?) pact with the evangelical faction of the party. Meanwhile, racism is emerging again as Buddy Witherspoon demonstrates. Heads are exploding all around.

  10. Brad Warthen

    Phillip, I like the same thing about Huckabee. Unfortunately, he’s been running a whole different way the last few days. I’m going to try to post something about that shortly. The thing that finally convinced me of his calculation was his going around bringing up the flag.

  11. Mike Cakora

    Phillip –
    I’ve been pretty busy with work and business travel. I’ve peeked in on Brad’s blog, but have a lot of other things to do.
    I think that organizations can and should have litmus tests, and that goes for political parties. Otherwise the parties don’t stand for anything. These primaries are run by the party for their folks to choose the candidate that will best represent them.
    My view of the Huckster is that he’s certainly a religious guy and is a Republican, but he’s certainly not a small-government conservative. He’s in fact, like former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson, an evangelical who believes that big government can and should “actually CARE for people instead of just hating certain ones.” (BTW, I do find your projecting hate onto conservatives offensive, but I’ll ignore it for now.)
    The Fred has taken the Huckster’s notions head-on and Gerson lambasted him for that in yesterday’s WaPo in a column entitled “Callous Conservative”. wherein he wrote:

    At a campaign stop attended by a CBS reporter in Lady’s Island, S.C., Thompson was asked if he, “as a Christian, as a conservative,” supported President Bush’s global AIDS initiative. “Christ didn’t tell us to go to the government and pass a bill to get some of these social problems dealt with. He told us to do it,” Thompson responded. “The government has its role, but we need to keep firmly in mind the role of the government, and the role of us as individuals and as Christians on the other.”

    Gerson goes on to read a little too much into what Thompson said, in my view, but even if Gerson’s correct, his argument is confused and confusing as he charges Thompson with being a heartless isolationist bent on letting foreign innocents suffer.
    In fact Fred was espousing a core conservative principle — one he repeated in Greenville last night — that the fruits of one’s labor are one’s own and should be seized by the gummint for only pretty good reasons.
    I’ll write more about callous conservatives later, but my issue with the caring, compassionate sort is that they find much too much to care about with other folks money. (This is separate and apart from the spendthrifts earmarking funds to buy votes for reelection, an even more despicable act.) To what extent should an official’s religious beliefs guide his spending priorities? The Huckster seems to care about a lot of stuff and seems unbothered by the notion that he’s spending other folks’ money. How about limiting spending to what’s essential for national defense, public health, and other bare essentials? The Huckster doesn’t seem to have many limits on spending
    All that said, I happen to think that Bush’s AIDS initiative was bold and unusual because of the procedures put in place to assure effectiveness and minimize the corruption endemic to Africa. But I wonder if the Gates Foundation and other private funds aren’t doing a better job.

  12. Phillip

    Oh for sure Huck is a politician at heart like all the others, and I think he saw the polls showing him still behind Mac, and decided he had to throw the long ball here in SC. If he does not win today, and especially if it’s a relatively distant 2nd, he slides out of contention, as the partisan rightwing then decides whom to coalesce around to try to stop McCain.

  13. Phillip

    BTW Mike, the “hate” thing was not projected towards conservatives or economic-conservatives a la Thompson per se, I was speaking of certain elements of the religious right, especially those that focused on what—and who—they were against for political gain. Huckabee, for all his faults, is not a kind of candidate we’ve seen recently, so he’s thrown the machine into a bit of turmoil, that was my main point.
    And I give Bush props for his AIDS efforts. You may well be right about private foundations doing a better job, but remember that there are even foreign policy implications in what the US is perceived as doing as a government globally.

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