Here’s a Kristol-clear speculation, and here’s the Des Moines Register poll. If Kristol is correct, then Huckabee holds on to win Iowa. My question then would be how close McCain comes to Romney, and how that might alter the dynamic in New Hampshire.
On the Democratic side, Obama leads, but his support might be a little soft and, in its youth, perhaps unreliable about showing up. As the WSJ’s John Fund points out, the rules for the Democratic caucuses are complicated, with second choices mattering a lot. Since I’d bet that the’re’s a lot of ABH sentiment out there, that can’t help the Clinton campaign. (Here’s a Knippenberg speculation: given the gender and age gaps, the smoothest path to a Clinton victory would be a caucus dominated by older women.)
It’s also worth noting that the principal speculations in these posts aren’t borne out by the substance of the Register poll. Nevertheless, the Obama campaign’s apparent confidence about the outcome (and its effort to discourage belief in Edwards’s staying power) suggest, first, that they’re worried about him (as, apparently, are the Clintonistas) and, second, that the stakes in Iowa are very high, as this Voegeli post summarizes.
I’ll close by noting this summary of the poll reactions and this analysis by the dean of Iowa observers, who suggests that his newspaper’s own poll--probably the best of the bunch--will have problems in predicting the outcome.