9:56 AM, Jan 3, 2008 • By RICHELIEU
Your Cardinal has been busy converting the wicked in the bars and political back-rooms of icy Iowa, and offers a few final thoughts and predictions.
1.) Obama is going to win and could do so by a strong margin. Hillary and Edwards trail, with 60% chance Hillary comes in third. One interesting item: Republican turnout calls are picking up Obama supporters on Republican caucus-goers lists. There is going to be a good government/reform vote for Obama crossing over from outside the usual Dem base; especially moderate GOP women. I've predicted an Obama Iowa win for a year and I am more confident than ever now. The difference is most local Iowa operatives of both parties now seem to think it'll be Obama as well.
2.) The Huckabee versus Romney race is very tight. Caucus turnout could be low; under 78,000 and that would help Huckabee. The crossover for Obama hurts a regular Republican like Romney who needs all the non-Christian conservative votes he can get. No doubt Romney has gained a tremendous amount in last 30 days, but it may not be enough. Mitt's troops in eastern Iowa are confident and feel they dominate. Operatives in west Iowa and Polk county are far more worried. I have less confidence in this prediction than the Democratic one because the Republican race feels so close but I've changed my prediction to put The Huck narrowly ahead. McCain's third place surging finish will be a big media story; impressive because he did it with without TV ads. I predict: