Fanning the Flames: The Freedom Project Blog


New Hampshire or Bust

By Shawn Healy

I may be the only non-Iowan still in the Hawkeye State as the campaigns and the press pool covering them wasted no time hoisting their wheels to the sky in pursuit of votes in New Hampshire. Before leaving, however, I will deliver a few parting shots, including a more in-depth analysis of last night's proceedings and what it means for New Hampshire next Tuesday and beyond.

It is often said that Iowa does not crown winners, but is effective at eliminating also-rans from the race. Exiting last evening were Democrats Joe Biden and Chris Dodd. Wounded were Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, even John Edwards. This was a state Edwards needed to win given the time and resources he devoted to the state on a shoestring budget. He heads for New Hampshire without the organization he developed here over the course of the past 5 years, and hamstrung by federal matching fund limits that are based on state populations. Clinton and Barack Obama both raised more than $100 million each over the course of 2007, and they will use this for the media campaign to follow as the race moves from retail to superstore politics. Edwards will stay in the race through South Carolina on Jan. 26, but I see little rationale for him competing beyond the Palmetto State short of a surprising victory.

Clinton was the presumptive frontrunner heading into the 2008 campaign, and this mantle was severely tarnished with a third place finish in Iowa. New Hampshire has been her firewall all along, and she must win the Granite State before the race heads to South Carolina where 50% of the Democratic electorate is African-American and ripe for Obama's crowning. The road will not be easy in New Hampshire, however, as independents dominate there, and Obama appeals to them as the authentic candidate of change. Hillary maintains a slight lead in the polls there, but expect the gap to close as Obama gets an Iowa boost.

Romney bet his fortune on the one-two punch of Iowa and New Hampshire. He lost round one to Mike Huckabee, and is vulnerable in the second contest to John McCain, not to mention the rising Huck. Short of a win on Tuesday, he returns to his home state of Michigan wounded and vulnerable to a second consecutive defeat to McCain who also won there in 2000. Mitt may be all but eliminated by the time the race heads to South Carolina, McCain's Waterloo in 2000, and Huckabee's first chance to enjoy the graces of his southern bretheren.

Giuliani's distant 6th place finish behind Ron Paul is certainly no surpirse given the fact that his campaign wrote off Iowa early on. He remains out of the top tier for New Hampshire and the primaries that follow, hoping for a mixed outcome that allows him to return to the fore with a late-state strategy starting in Florida on Jan. 29 and carrying onward through Tsunami Tuesday, Feb. 5.

Elsewhere in the race, Fred Thompson and John McCain are still battling for the third spot in the Iowa Republican field with 5% of the vote still mysteriously outstanding. Thompson has pledged to campaign onward in New Hampshire where he is polling outside the top five. Expect him to stay on through South Carolina where voters will weigh in on who best fits the mold of the southern base of the party.

Bill Richardson finished a distant 4th in Iowa and also plans to forge ahead in New Hampshire. I contend that this is now a two-horse race between Obama and Clinton, and Richardson may be lingering only for a VP nod or another cabinet post come 2009.

Carnage aside, time to explain the Obama and Huckabee victories in Iowa. Obama (picture from his Wednesday Cedar Rapids rally above) rode a record-high turnout, 234,000 strong, to a resounding 38% win over Edwards (30%) and Clinton (29%). He won 42 of the state's 99 counties, finishing second in 27 and third in 29. Edwards, by comparison, won 32 counties, finished second in 38, and third in 29. Clinton won 29, placed in 34, and "showed" in 36.
Obama prevailed in Polk County, home of Des Moines and the state's population center, 39% to Edwards' 29% and Clinton's 28%. Linn County, home of the second largest city in the state, Cedar Rapids, and situated in the more Democratic eastern half of the state, went even more decisively to Obama, 43% to Edwards' and Clinton's 28%. Johnson County, just to the south and home to the University of Iowa, was dominated by Obama, 52% to Edwards' 24% and Clinton's 20%.
Obama enjoyed a 5-to-1 margin over Clinton among caucus attendees younger than 30, while Hillary clung to a 2-to-1 edge over Obama for attendees older than 65. Moreover, in perhaps the evening's biggest demographic surprise, women, who acounted for 56% of caucus attendees, went to Obama by a 33% to 30% over Clinton. Simply put, she cannot clinch the nomination without creating a gender gap in her favor.
Huckabee's win was premised on an overwhelming turnout of evangelical Christians, accounting for 60% of all Republican caucus attendees. They favored him 46% to 19% for Romney, with Huck earning the support of only 14% of an non-evangelical attendees. This does not bode well for Huck as the race heads to a more agnostic, less spiritual New Hampshire.
Huckabee won populous Polk County 36% to Romney's 23% and McCain's 15%. However, Romney won Linn County, my temporary base, 31% to Huckabee's 26% and Thompson's 15%. In total, Huckabee dominated Iowa's 99 counties, winning 74, placing second in 24, and third in 1. Romney won 24, placed second in 53, and third in 20. Thompson finished second in 11 counties and third in 50, while McCain finished second in 17 and third in 18. Ron Paul won a single county, finished second in 4, and third in 12. Whispers of the Ron Paul Revolution still abound.
This wraps on my stay in Cedar Rapids and my analysis of the Iowa Caucuses. It was truly an illuminating experience, and I hope to replicate my reporting early next week in Manchester, NH. Until then, look for another podcast landing on the museum's audio presentation archive. Also, attend the Freedom Museum's Voter Fest tomorrow to visit the C-SPAN bus, register to vote, visit Vote4Me!, our special exhibit on the presidential campaign, listen to Nathan Richie, Director of Exhibits and Programs, deliver a curator's talk at 1pm, and hear from your's truly at 11am on the current state of the race.


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Managing Director

McCormick Freedom Project

Shawn is responsible for overseeing and managing the operations associated with the McCormick Freedom Project. Additionally, he serves as the in house content expert and voice of museum through public speaking and original scholarship. Before joining the Freedom Project, he taught American Government, Economics, American History, and Chicago History at Community High School in West Chicago, IL and Sheboygan North High School in Wisconsin.

Shawn is a doctoral candidate within the Political Science Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he received his MA in Political Science. He is a 2001 James Madison Fellow from the State of Wisconsin and holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science, History, and Secondary Education from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

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About Fanning the Flames and the McCormick Freedom Project

Fanning the Flames is a blog of the McCormick Freedom Project, which was started in 2006 by museum managing director Shawn Healy. The blog highlights the news of the day, in hopes of engaging readers in dialogue about freedom issues. Any views or opinions expressed on this blog represent those of the writers alone and do not represent an official opinion of the McCormick Freedom Project.

Founded in 2005, the McCormick Freedom Project is part of the McCormick Foundation. The Freedom Project’s mission is to enable informed and engaged participation in our democracy by demonstrating the relevance of the First Amendment and the role it plays in the ongoing struggle to define and defend freedom. The museum offers programs and resources for teachers, students, and the general public.

First Amendment journalism initiative

The Freedom Project recently launched a new reporting initiative with professional journalists Tim McNulty and Jamie Loo. The goal is to expand and promote the benefits of lifelong civic engagement among citizens of all ages, through original reporting, commentary and news aggregation on First Amendment and freedom issues. Please visit the McCormick Freedom Project's news Web site, The Post-Exchange at

Dave Anderson
Vice President of Civic Programs
McCormick Foundation

Tim McNulty
Senior Journalist
McCormick Freedom Project

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