Two weeks to Iowa! I have no clue what’s going to happen! Woo!
A year ago, I had thought that by now polling would have sussed out a clear top-two or something. Nope. Yes, nationally, Joe continues to command the most support – but there’s a difference when you’re winning with 20-30% support and when you’re winning with 40+. In Iowa, which is what matters far more, polling is both sparse, often low-quality, and not providing a clear picture. Uncertainty reigns.
With those things in mind, let’s go through a pot-pourri of Things I’m Wondering About:
Is Bernie Really Worth Near 50c in Iowa?
I mean…. nah. Right? What evidence is there to support the claim that he wins 50% of the time? A win in the DMR poll, but with only 20% support, extrapolated forward? The case is too thin for me. And yet! The pricing persists. Clearly, he can win. Clearly, to me, he’s not worth 48c or wherever he is currently. I price him near 30c, which is about the most I’d pay for anyone there. We will see what polling says over the next two weeks – the last DMR poll will be the last big pre-caucus money-maker there (I expect this the Saturday before).
When I wrote the whole blog post gaming out Iowa scenarios, I rather conspicuously ignored the possibility that Klobuchar would come back and insert herself into the top echelon, or turn it into a 5-way scrum or some such bewildering result. And she’s still yet to really catch on. But there have been a few (lower-quality) polls here and there showing her starting to break through into double digits in early states. I don’t know if there’s enough time left for her, and she herself will be tied to the impeachment trial, unable to capitalize on any movement (and lacks the surrogates of Warren or Bernie to campaign in her stead). But let’s just say I’m holding off on betting against her just yet – if I miss out on a few pennies of NO profit for my caution, then so be it.
He hasn’t and will not catch on with black voters. He’s fading nationally (about to be surpassed by Bloomberg). He retains some equity in IA, but not enough. To me it feels like the tide is turning against the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana. That said, he and Joe have the run of Iowa with two weeks to go due to the impeachment trial. Maybe he pulls something out, but I’ve started to convince myself that the undecideds simply aren’t going to break his way. I think he drops after NH, and now that I’ve committed to that publicly, he’ll probably go on to win the nomination or something.
What fraction of state delegate equivalents will come from satellite caucuses?
I am literally writing this to force myself to do the math on this later. I have the satellite caucuses generally favoring Joe, since so many are in snowbird states and Joe was always doing better in the virtual caucus crosstab of early polling.
Do I really have to worry about El Bloombito?
Like, really? I’m deeply skeptical he wins anything at all. Or ever shows up for a debate (which he really ought to do after South Carolina anyway). But the market does not know how to price someone doing what he’s doing because literally no one has ever done what he’s doing before. He’s bought himself into the high single-digits. Can you buy double-digit support? Can you buy a polling lead? Can you buy state wins?