It is seven days away from the Iowa Caucus and I watch the pundits and pollsters speak on behalf of what they expect to happen. Just recently, they showed the fact that polls - even as close as seven days from the caucus - can not effectively determine ranking. It is obvious that all of the candidates are jockeying for position - Gephardt wants to be the Dean spoiler in Iowa, Kerry wants to be the Gephardt spoiler and Edwards wants to be the Kerry spoiler. It seems almost incestuous - which makes this whole effort sound like watching a football match - without any idea what the players are capable of doing.
Wouldn't it be interesting to have a way of measuring the performance of the candidates in the election with certain metrics - similar to pass completions, touchdowns and such. I wonder if anyone has actually built such a model to help determine the impact of endorsements (personal, institutional), size of field support team and when launched, size of phone bank, etcera.
Will Gephardt spoil Dean? I think not. Will Kerry beat Gephardt - that might be the surprise that we do not expect. You might suggest that I am a bit biased, but I am curious how the Midwest sees Dean and Kerry as the "liberal, East Coasters". And will Edwards surprise others? Not sure - but he is trying his hardest. The question will be - what happens in New Hampshire - and then onward to Feb 3rd States.