I have been a bit surprised that the results of the Iowa caucus have been greeted with such, well ... surprise, in the press. On the Democrat side, Obama has been polling well there for weeks and Hillary was always going to be stronger in New Hampshire. Talk that her campaign has hit the rails is utter nonsense as national polls still give her, on average, a 20 point lead. Obama needs the momentum all the way to Super Tuesday.
Huckabee's win was more of a surprise but not by much. A baptist minister rallying heartland conservatives. Who ever saw it coming - tongue firmly in cheek. Romney will hit back in New Hampshire and while McCain is polling well there, I wonder will his age (71) come into play as the primaries continue.
Rudy Giuliani seems to be re-thinking his policy of ignoring the early voting states with a last minute push in NH. That's no surprise as the GOP nomination is turning into quite the dog fight. National poll averages put the top five candidates with ten points of each other.
I think the ability to win nationally is a huge factor and one which is not always to the fore in the early primaries. I read an interelisting piece about the Israel factor in Dossing Times. Click here for the blog post and link to the website which matches up the candidates on Jewish-friendliness.
Issues like these can differ from those discussed at primary level. On the republican side Guiliani has the pedigree it seems. Huckabee is likely to be a divisive candidate and Romney as the former Governor of a firmly blue state, may be able to bring liberal states into play, but may not be conservative enough for some of the red states.
On the Democratic side both Hillary and Obama can mount serious challenges against any opponent. The first black president/ first woman president factor may be the X factor in November.