I’m going to keep track of the estimated delegates gathered by each candidate. It will appear in the right-hand sidebar. Looking at the delegate count, Obama’s victory does not seem as decisive as press reports would have you believe. And while I called a narrow Romney victory in Iowa, it turns out that Huckabee had a fairly impressive (9%) margin of victory there. This suggests that in other evangelical-heavy states, like South Carolina, he will also do well.
Note that these delegate projections are just that — projections. The actual pledging of delegates from Iowa does not happen until several months from now. The Wyoming county conventions which will take place on Friday will produce similar “soft” delegate commitments; binding delegate selection there does not take place for several more days. “Hard” pledged delegates will come out of New Hampshire on Tuesday. (I keep on thinking the NH primary was moved to a day other than Tuesday, for some reason, but that’s just not right.)
So the delegate results from Iowa (don’t forget, all of this electioneering is aimed at getting delegates to the national conventions to vote for the various candidates) will be more or less like this:
But that’s not the whole picture at the moment. Other “hard” pledging of delegates or readily-identifiable delegate commitments — Bill Clinton, for example, is automatically a “superdelegate” to the Democratic National Convention (as are just under a quarter of the voting delegates overall). Gee, who do you think he’ll vote for? So too are many of the candidates themselves automatically delegates by virtue of their holding elected office and we have to assume that they’ll vote for themselves. This is more of a factor for the Democrats than the Republicans, and it explains why so many delegates are already pledged to Hillary Clinton. But there are some non-Iowa delegates out there who have already committed to some other candidates, so this affects them both.
I note that a few minor players — Joe Biden and Chris Dodd — are dropping out after Iowa. They’ve not yet released their delegates to anyone so far as I know. Everyone, myself included is anticipating Fred Thompson to drop out soon, too. He may hang in there until after New Hampshire, though. I’m still predicting a significant McCain win in the Granite State. Rudy Giuliani will have to wait for Florida before having a chance of showing significant wins — not that he has a choice.
I’m particularly tickled to see Mitt Romney having spent… what? Seven million dollars in Iowa? To come in second place? I’m kind of sad to think that some of the reason for that is overt religious prejudice, because I don’t think anyone’s religion should be held against them unless it teaches bizarre moral imperatives. But at the same time, the man is a huge fake and this puts his campaign in some trouble. He needs to win New Hampshire now. And let me check… Ah yes. McCain is leading Romney there by an average of five points.
So stay tuned, junkies, this is going to get real interesting in a week.