Is the Iowa caucus a make-or-break moment for Rick Perry's presidential campaign?
That's what the Intrade prediction markets suggest. The traders handicapping the GOP presidential field on Intrade give Perry a 23.4 percent chance of winning Iowa, while fixing his overall shot at the nomination at half that likelihood--a mere 12.1 percent.
Iowa is the first contest on the 2012 primary calendar--and while Perry, like all the candidates in the field, faces several possible scenarios in Iowa, I will focus on the simplest outcomes: Either he wins, or he loses.
On paper, of course, Perry could absorb a defeat in Iowa without it turning into a fatal blow. After all, Iowa distributes less than 1 percent of delegates to the Republican National Convention. And across the board, the RNC assesses delegates on something close to a proportional basis--meaning that Perry's home state Texas, for example, which has delivered him the governorship by impressive margins, weighs far heavier in the balance than a less-populated state such as Iowa or New Hampshire do. Nevertheless, because Iowa is first, it plays an outsize role in shaping the race's momentum--and in media horse-race accounts of who's up or who's down in the battle for the nomination.
So consider the fallout from a Perry loss in Iowa--which Intrade predicts at an imposing 76.6 percent likelihood. Prediction markets place Perry's shot at a victory in the New Hampshire primary, slated to come on the heels of the Iowa caucus balloting, as all but negligible. In the wake of an Iowa loss, Perry's already dismal New Hampshire numbers would only decline further.
And consider, by contrast, what an Iowa win would do for Mitt Romney, who currently shares frontrunner status in the field with Herman Cain. Intrade shows that a Romney victory in Iowa would send his already strong likelihood of prevailing in New Hampshire--which is just one state over from his home state of Massachusetts--from 83.3 percent to north of 90 percent. So a win in Iowa would essentially give Romney back-to-back victories going into South Carolina.
Read More »from Can Rick Perry afford to lose in Iowa?