OK so McCain won - I'm happy that he did and in recent weeks would have picked him to win (its just crazy to go against 90% odds at the betting agencies) - but that would have been a bit cheating since the results were already half in by that stage. I knew I was pushing my luck trying to pick the republican candidate from so far out in such a competitive field - but he still had a chance up until Florida.
This from kiwi in america
"Campaigns often turn on a dime and the clincher for McCain was Gov Crist’s endorsement in FL 3 days before their primary. Crist’s team run a smooth machine and that machine was in full campaign mode over Amendment 1 to the FL Constitution (an extension of the property tax break). Crist’s people were polling constantly and their internal polls had McCain losing a point a day in the week before the FL primary culminating in an 11 point deficit by the Saturday. This accelerated when Romney whooped McCain in the St Petersburg debate on the Wed and was compounded by the growing chorus of right leaning commentators like Rush hammering McCain and endorsing Romney. Crist had told all the GOP candidates he was not endorsing however, he is a close friend of McCain and so he changed his mind and decided to endorse him but, more significantly and crucially for Romney, he threw his entire FL political machine that was in full campaign mode behind McCain and his endorsement. Crist’s people used every media connection to ensure maximum exposure of the endorsement in the FL media and twisted the arms of every GOP county chairman to mobilise behind McCain. This resulted in a huge turnout of the more moderate undecideds who broke for McCain and overwhelmed Mitt’s conservative base.
Had Crist not endorsed McCain, the political old hands in FL believe Romney would’ve won and it would’ve been he not McCain who would’ve clinched the close Super Tuesday races in CA and MO and it would’ve pushed Romney over Huckabee in GA. That would’ve given Romney a slight lead in the delegate count and given Romney momentum to finish the race in places like TX, OH and PA not to mention sweeping all the smaller caucus states (he had won all previous caucuses) in between."
I think Guliani leaving and Huckabee stubbornly staying in (something that I should have picked I guess) was part of it as was Huckabee's strategy of keeping a fairly amiable relationship with McCain - resulting in Romney being the only attack dog.
Anyway I hope I am again wrong in regard to Obama vs Hillary - an Obama vs McCain race would be interesting.
Still I think I am still better than almost any other political pundit in actually picking what the contest was going to be from a couple of years out and not changing my mind every week based on whatever random insignificant things happened.