It seems to me that a lesson from the Dean-Kerry race is that it’s not enough to be the first choice of a lot of Iowans. It seems equally important to rank well as the second choice of people who support other candidates. As I recall John Kerry went into that state with far from a commanding lead in the overall polls, but he crushed Dean largely because he was the second choice of many more voters. It also matters that Kerry had well-connected operators while Dean had a larger number of young volunteers doing this for the first time, but that’s the game.
Given that, it seems weird to me that nobody (that I know of) is polling Iowans’ second choice in the race. I suppose it doesn’t much matter much in the Democratic field since the second tier doesn’t have that many supporters to throw around, but the bizarro Republican field could go anywhere right now. I for one would love to know where Huckabee’s supporters, or Thompson’s or Giuliani’s would go if their guy failed to make the cut.
Or maybe this has already been done and I don’t know about it. Discuss.
The word from the comments is that Edwards consistently polls as the top second choice of Iowans, by a wide margin. Based on that, and given the three-way photo finish for first choice, I predict that Edwards will take the state.
I have a hard time understanding why anyone would support any of the Republican candidates this year, which makes handicapping difficult. But since McCain seems like the only candidate with[out] some glaring disqualification hanging over his head (fringe loony, criminality, fake like Pam Anderson’s boobs) I will have to go with McCain.