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News Analysis: October 18, 2007

posted on October 18, 2007 at 1:01 PM

Tonight’s news analysis comes from “The Des Moines Register” newsroom where producer Sid Sprecher and columnist David Yepsen talked domestic politics.

Sprecher: David, do we have a caucus date?

Yepsen: Yeah, the Republicans have picked January 3 as the date for their caucuses. The Democrats haven’t picked a date. They’re still waiting, playing the game, trying to decide what they want to do. There’s a lot of reasons for both parties to want to set a date: campaigns need to make media buys; hotel rooms have to be reserved. So there’s some real pressure to do some planning.

But there’s a real possibility even that January 3 date can get changed if other states keep crowding around us, but it seems pretty safe for the Republicans right now to go on January 3. I imagine the Democrats will either be on that date of on Saturday, January 5.

And both parties have got great races going on. There’s a lot of uncertainty in these races.

On the Democratic side, Senator Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards are sort of jumbled up there in first place. Senator Clinton may be narrowly ahead, but there’s – but over 53 percent of the likely Democratic caucus goers say they could still be persuaded to change their minds.

So while some of us in the media like to handicap this thing, you know, somebody being a front-runner or not, it’s also true that there’s a lot of undecideds and this thing can go either way.

The same thing is even true on the Republican side where you’ve got a lot – even more likely Republican caucus goers who say they aren’t certain what they want to do, that they’re undecided, they don’t have an initial preference or, if they do, they could change their mind.

Republicans are kind of down and they got beat badly in 2006. They’re looking for somebody to save them in 2008. And so Mitt Romney has an early lead here, but it’s not a conclusive one, and it’s one that certainly other candidates like Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson and Rudy Giuliani are really pushing him on.

So I think the Republican race is really even more in flux than the Democratic one.

Sprecher: Is it likely there will be a contested Republican convention?

Yepsen: I don’t think there will be a contested Republican convention. That’s always possible but it’s not very likely anymore. What’s more likely is somebody is going to win Iowa, they’ll win New Hampshire, we’ll have a quick race, and the whole campaign will be over with probably by early February.


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