Monday, September 10, 2007

Who is going to win the Republican nomination?

Long-time readers will remember I went out on a bit of a limb, and predicted Obama would win the Democratic nomination. The truth is that if I was actually putting money down on this, I'd want odds: Hillary will probably be the actual winner. Still, I'd buy Obama contracts at the market price (assuming, counterfactually, that I could induce my spouse to agree to such a frivolous expenditure).

The Republican field is more difficult. It's not really that they are, in an objective sense, weak candidates: the top tier all have individually more impressive accomplishments than Bush or the 2008 Democratic contenders. And yet. Giuliani's position on abortion seems likely to doom him for the nomination, and maybe make a devestating third party challenge inevitable if elected. It is hard to really imagine a woman voting for him (although it is also difficult to see men enthusiastic about Ms. Clinton.) Conventional wisdom holds that McCain is doomed in the primaries, and conventional wisdom is probably right. That leaves Romney and Thompson. I guess by elimination one of them is going to get it, and I'd bet on Thompson for now.

I'd say the probability of the Democrats taking the White House is about 60%. They are almost certain to retain the House and the Senate, although I don't think they'll improve their margin very much.