Here's my prognostication:
Dems in order:
GOP in order:
I emphasize Richardson as I think he is going to show up as a lot of caucus goers second pick and that will put his candidacy at a crossroads. Do you continue after telling your caucused voters to throw their second round votes to Obama? Or do you cut bait and go for Veep under Obama or Secretary of State? Could voters go for an African-American/Hispanic ticket? On the issues, especially wedge issues like gun rights, Richardson is strong (his foreign policy expertise alone should put him as front runner if the media actually cared about stuff like that).
My emphasis on McCain, Giuliani and Thompson in the eminently more interesting and scarier GOP race goes this way. McCain comes in third and he is then in great position to pull into first with a big win in New Hampshire (where he as been strong before). Giuliani will stay in the race in fourth, hoping for the "crackdown/authoritarian"-type GOP voter elsewhere. Thompson will quit the race if he doesn't get third. He won't get third as Iowans seem to know a terrible candidate and an outright phony when they see one.
Between, first and second in either party caucus, it is probably too close to call. Romney will take Huckabee because of the organization he has. Huckabee will see a flood of money after Iowa. Obama will squeak by Clinton, who will go into the later primaries a little smarter, but had better not go negative. It isn't as inevitable as it seems, it seems.
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