Game 4 will be interesting. Besides it being my home state, there is much on the line here. Here's a scouting report.
First off, the democrats outside of Hillary Clinton, Dennis Kucinich, and Mike Gravel ought to be kicking themselves for their decision to take their names off the ballot. John Edwards needs the union voters. What state is more unionized than Michigan. Barack Obama needs the college towns and black voters. What better for him than Ann Arbor, Detroit, Southfield, and Flint? Bill Richardson could have taken advantage of the others not campaigning. For them, this is all Fubared. "Fouled" up beyond all recognition. Hillary isn't campaigning here, but her name is on the ballot at least. Unless "uncommitted" beats Hillary, I don't see anything outside of being a win for Hillary on the 15th.
The GOP side will be much more interesting. This race is LIKELY between John McCain and Mitt Romney. Both of them have been working this state extremely hard over the last three years in this state. Numerous visits have been made by both candidates. McCain won here in 2000. Romney was born and raised in Oakland County.
I was looking at the exit polls for New Hampshire and Iowa. A few things stuck out to me.
The gender gap wasn't a big deal in New Hampshire, but Huckabee did get 10% of the votes from men and 13% from women. McCain won both among men and women by fairly similar margins there. Will Michigan be more like Iowa or New Hampshire?
There were no Immigration or gun questions in the Iowa exit poll.
In New Hampshire
Non Gun owners:
Neither McCain or Romney are great on guns. SAFR gave McCain a mixed rating and Romney an unacceptable rating. However, McCain voted bad on gun shows and for McCain/Feingold. Romney signed an ugly gun ban in neighboring Massachusetts. McCain voted against that ban. If the gun owners negative voted AGAINST Romney, then that explains the 15% spread. Will they vote negative, or for someone completely different?
Those who supported a path to citizenship
Those who supported guest worker programs
Those who support deporting illegals
This is another issue to watch in the closing week. McCain is like Bush on the immigration issue, and that is a major factor here, almost like the gun issue is for Romney (and Giuliani). With jobs such a big issue here, that's something to keep an eye on.
The life issue is normally another factor, but it really did not matter between McCain and Romney if the exit polls are to be believed. Huckabee did pick up some votes based on the life issue however in New Hampshire. I didn't see that question in the Iowa poll either, but I think it was a much bigger factor there based on the demographics and turnout.
Now the question is how does this all play in Michigan. I expect a lot of independent voters in this race. With the democrats not having many names out there, that will skew some of the indy turnout, but not as much of the hard core democrat turnout which will go for Hillary, Kucinich, or uncommitted.
I'm predicting a 1-2-3 finish of McCain, Romney, and Huckabee.
McCain wins West Michigan. He's pro-life enough to be accepted there. His spending stances will help him, and he'll get enough independents in Macomb and elsewhere to support him to a win. Those in New Hampsire irked with Bush voted for McCain. The veterans vote in the end wins it. He wins by 5%
Romney takes Oakland County. The business support and organization edges for him, but he loses too many gun owners and others who are not sure where he really stands on the issues. Huckabee takes a lot of votes from him. Immigration helps, but isn't enough.
Huckabee takes the Northlands. The populist center-left economics and center-right social conservatism fits in Up North, near Flint/Saginaw, Downriver, and the thumb area. His drawback is that the business crowd and economic conservatives do not care for him much. If he can get some pro-life leaners and gun owners away from McCain, he has a shot, but he did not spend enough time in his state to win. I'd say about 15%
Ron Paul will likely get his 10-12% of support. I'd predict more, but not after his weak showing in New Hampshire. Thompson and Giuliani aren't catching on here for whatever reason. I think their votes will go to McCain over Romney (Thompson has similarities to McCain, Foreign policy in Rudy's case). Hunter is a good guy, but most do not know who he is.
Whatever the case is, there's a lot on the line here, so expect a lot of TV ads, robocalls, political calls, mailings, and other invasions by politicians on the way.
By the way - some last minute stuff in Livingston County:
McCain is visiting this Sunday. January 13. 2PM at Crystal Gardens in Howell. That's a free event.
The Livingston GOP has a fundraiser and pre-primary party on the 12th. All Presidential candidates invited. Shark Club in Howell on D19, North of I-96. $20 at the door. Duncan Hunter will be there. Other may stop by as well.
Current Delegate Standings:
GOP: (after 3)
Dems: (after 2)