Nevada PredictionsFebruary 04, 2012
Today, voters in the Silver State will weigh in on the Republican presidential field. The state has not received as much attention as the other contests thus far and only two polls have been released. Here are my predictions for what the results will be, and feel free to add your own in the comments. In Iowa I got 89 percent of the vote correct (see post here), in New Hampshire I got 83 percent correct (see post here), in South Carolina I got 92 percent correct (see post here), and in Florida I got 90 percent correct (see post here).
1. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney will easily win. This will be his biggest victory--even surpassing Florida. After all, Romney coasted to a large victory in 2008 when he garnered 51 percent of the vote (over U.S. Representative Ron Paul's 14 percent and Senator John McCain's 13 percent) even though Romney was losing the nomination. Due to confessional politics, Romney's Mormon faith has hurt him in other states--especially Iowa and South Carolina--but it will help him in Nevada. Interestingly, though, his immigration policy conflicts with that of the Mormon Church. As if this campaign was not crazy enough, Romney joined TV star and real estate mogul Donald Trump for an event on Thursday (the photo is one I took of Trump at a gathering of Ralph Reed's Faith & Freedom Coalition last year). It seems doubtful that Trump's endorsement helps Romney with many voters, thus it was odd he would join Trump for the made-for-TV moment. Perhaps he wanted Trump endorsement to help with evangelicals since they oddly seem to love Trump (or maybe it is just because they both enjoy firing people!).
2. Paul and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich will fight it out for second and third--and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum will be a distant fourth, though he has not tried very hard in the state. Gingrich will do well because of his national standing as the main anti-Romney candidate, and Paul will do well because he has a history in this state and performs well in caucus states were a committed group--like his supporters--can influence the outcome. Both polls released this week have Paul way behind, but I doubt he will actually do worse than in 2008 since he has improved his showing in every state. He might not actually overtake Gingrich, but I would not be surprised if he did.
So, I put the order at Romney (52%), Gingrich (21%), Paul (19%), Santorum (7%).