Welcome to the latest edition of PoliticalDerby.com’s 2008 Power Rankings, the original tracking service in the current race for the White House. The rankings are updated as circumstances warrant and are compiled by our Editor and contributors using wire reports, polls, campaign staffer scuttlebutt and confidential tips.

As promised (or threatened) we have trimmed the number of ranked horses from 10 to 5 with Labor Day approaching and the Ames straw poll now behind us. You’ll find the long-odds horses in the “Others receiving votes” category.

Rankings last updated: August 16, 2007

The DEM Horse Tip Sheet
Power Ranking The Horse Momentum The Tip Sheet
1 Hillary Clinton Clinton Up Hillary miraculously avoided the minefield of YearlyKos with only a few boos from the netroots. Playing the chess game of courting the Left-wing lunatic fringe while not alienating the middle better than anyone else, she’s widening her impressive lead in national polls. But her support amongst the Left seems more, “Yeah, sure, fine, whatever” than “I love Hill!” Will that be enough to walk away with the nomination? There’s just no passion in the relationship with her supporters. (Not that Hillary isn’t familiar with passionless relationships. She’s been in one for 32 years.) (previous ranking: #1)
2 Barack Obama Obama Even Obama took nuclear weapons off the table, no matter what, then put them back, sort of. Also said he would attack an ally, risking putting Pakistan’s nuclear weapons into the hands of those sworn to destroy us. Obama is the recipient of the most pointless and offensive question thus far in campaign 2008. “Are you black enough?” But lately the more appropriate question is, “Are you competent enough?” (previous ranking: #2)
3 Bill Richardson Richardson Even Richardson is on the rise only if measured against Edwards’ fall. He has managed to avoid most of the pitfalls that trip also-rans and in the process is looking like a savvy VP choice. But to remain on the short list he has to avoid his penchant for pandering. Eyes rolled statewide when Richardson told the media he would rank Iowa in the top 10 of terrorist targets. Even the terrorist cells holed up in Iowa don’t know where Iowa is. (previous ranking: #3)
4 John Edwards Edwards Even Rumors are swirling that Edwards has a lucrative new book deal: From Frontrunner to Also-ran in Three Simple Steps. One, build the largest house in North America. Two, get haircuts that cost more than most people spend on haircuts during their entire lives. Three, demonize Wal-Mart while purchasing a PlayStation 3 from … wait for it … Wal-Mart. Take these steps while talking about two Americas, one rich, one poor, and you’re guaranteed to be hit with charges of insincerity, as was the case with his home state’s largest newspaper. Sounds like a bestseller. (previous ranking: #4)
5 Joe Biden Biden Even Joe Biden, aka the first person ever to run for Secretary of State in a presidential primary. Not nearly crazy enough to win support of the DailyKos crowd, he was the only Democrat candidate to avoid kissing the ring of the netroots. Biden comes across in the debates as the most level-headed of the Democrats running, which is like being the most sober pop star; you’re still drunk. Is it difficult to relate to average Americans when you’ve been a Senator since the age of 29? (previous ranking: #5)
Others receiving votes: Christopher Dodd, Al Gore, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich

Sign up to receive The Derby Wire, a weekly e-mail featuring
Power Ranking updates, contests, news and more.
Your Email Address

The GOP Horse Tip Sheet
Power Ranking The Horse Momentum The Tip Sheet
1 Mitt Romney Romney Up Mitt met expectations, not an easy thing to do in take-no-prisoners politics, and won the Ames Straw Poll big. But everyone knows he was the only major candidate taking it seriously. Polling very well in Iowa and New Hampshire, but still dragging nationally. If he can’t find a way to become known to the nation more for his policies than his religion, he has potential next January to bomb bigger than Daddy Day Camp. Yes, he’s raised a lot of money, but he can’t afford to keep spending more than $400 per vote, especially when those votes don’t matter. (previous ranking: #3)
2 Rudy Giuliani Giuliani Down Rudy skipped Iowa, which is probably an indication of his future fate there. But he still leads in the polls almost everywhere else and his no-show in Ames may not damage him as much as a poor showing certainly would have. It’s time for America’s Mayor to become comfortable with what he did do on 9/11 so he’ll stop getting baited into claiming credit for things he didn’t do on 9/11. His biggest asset is starting to reveal albatross potential. (previous ranking: #1)
3 Fred Thompson Fred Thompson Down Freddy T’s flirtation with running served him well for months, but his fans are growing tired of waiting for him to ask their hand in marriage. He’s waited so long that his real wife is getting more media attention than he is and he’s had more campaign leadership shuffles than anyone in history who hasn’t officially joined the campaign. It’s time to put up or shut up, or he runs risk of arriving at the altar alone. (previous ranking: #2)
4 Mike Huckabee Huckabee Up The only person not surprised by Huckabee’s showing in the straw poll is Huckabee himself. Finishing second, while only spending $58 per vote, is a terrific showing for someone the media has been considering an also-ran from Day One. Surely Giuliani’s decision not to participate helped, but so have his stellar showings in the debates. If there is an argument to be made for so many debates so early, Huckabee is it. But he would be the only argument for so many debates so early. (And there is no argument, period, for having Chris Matthews or Keith Olbermann hosting debates no matter how early they are.) (previous ranking: #5)
5 John McCain McCain Down Yes, McCain is still running … this time away from his stance on immigration reform. His switch on a key GOP issue seems too little too late to regain traction or track position. Even the rock thrown in the pond by Mike Gravel didn’t sink to the bottom this fast. And when you lose the straw poll to Duncan Hunter you know that pain in your butt is a fork. (previous ranking: tied for #4)
Others receiving votes: Sam Brownback, Newt Gingrich, Duncan Hunter, Ron Paul, Tom Tancredo

Sign up to receive The Derby Wire, a weekly e-mail featuring
Power Ranking updates, contests, news and more.
Your Email Address

The rankings may not be reprinted or quoted in any form without attribution to PoliticalDerby.com.


  • Dominick08

    The early primaries–Iowa and New Hampshire–will be much less significant in 2008 because of the multi-state primary in early February. Not only is this a group including huge electorial states like California, but it comes so soon after Iowa and NH as well. There really isn’t time for the traditional Iowa/New Hampshire momentum to happen as in the pst.

    Also, all national polls showing either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama beating Rudy G. Mitt Romney or Fred Thompson in a head-to-head general election match up. Very interesting date that both Hillary and Obama beat all three.

    If’s early to be talking about such polls too realistically in terms of the general election. But it is unusual that 2 candidates of one party would beat all 3 top-tier candidates in a hypothetical head-to-head match up. This is an important data point to watch as we move closer to the party nominations.

  • Jacosta

    Thank you, David…:)

  • PSU2007

    It’s not the conversations, it’s how nasty some of you sound.

  • David Kaiser

    Very true Jacosta :)

    And you didn’t offend, I just like a good arguement…

  • Jacosta

    Why do you think I stopped when I did; I felt it was a conversation not meant for this forum. I’d rather fight against the Liberals….not my fellow Consevatives on here.

    Sorry if I offended you by my points of view.

  • PSU2007

    Jacosta, do you have to work at being so unlikeable? I can barely stand Politicalderby anymore. And I’m a fellow conservative!

  • Jacosta

    And if over 50% of the nation starts supporting bestiality? Inter-familial or incestuous relationships? Cross-generational marriages? Where does it end?

    And I don’t want people to think like me…I’m not perfect and no better than anyone else. However, I do want people to start following the admonition in Matthew 5:48, Joshua 24:15, Exodus 32:26 and, most importantly, John 14:15.

    Did not Jehovah command explicity several times in the Old and New Testament to shun adultery, fornication and homosexuality? Also warning of their consequences for those that partake in and support such deeds?

    So, who would you rather follow – the popular opinion of men and changing standards of the time….or the Lord, whose standards never change?

    Also, a careful reading of the Mosaic Law would educate you as certain practices by the Israelites were done away with and fulfilled with the Higher Law – or coming of Christ in the meridian of time…such as stoning, etc. The Mosiac Law pertained to the temporal or physical…whereas the Higher Law delivered by Christ dwelt on the spiritual.

    The reason for this is because the Israelites proved themselves unready and unworthy of the Higher Law because of their idolatrous worship and immorality when Moses came down off Mount Sinai the first time after his conversation with God. God, seeing this, said that they would have to wait for the Higher Law with the birth of Christ.

    One of the first instances of this change is when the Pharisees – who wanted to still live under the law of Moses – brought the prostitute before the Savior and inquired of their wanting to stone her because of her sin. Notice that after they all had left – not being able to use the Law of Moses on her – that Christ turned to her in a more loving and humble manner and told her to “go and sin no more”.

    So, though He recognized he willingness to change, He still commanded her to repent for her sins. Quite a difference living, again, under the Law of Moses.

    This also deals with stoning those for working on the Sabbath. Again, it was done away with when Christ came.

    However, how can you further explain why, even though the Higher Law came and therafter through His apostles via revelation – the standard or commandments still did not change regarding God’s views on adultery, fornication, and homosexuality? That He still regarded them as grievious sins and still commanded people to not partake in them? That He still counseled that the consequences of partaing in such immoral practices would be severe to the individual and/or nation(s) that follows such behavior?

    People may no longer be stoned anymore, due to the Higher Law replacing the Mosaic Law…but, according to what you’re saying, we should not follow God’s commandments, and instead adopt man’s changing standards?

    Reading Jeremiah 17:5 and Romans 8:1-8 reminds us that God warns of following and trusting the views and changing opinions of man (flesh) and instead commands that we follow and trust in Him…keep His commandments….and in turn, we with our nation will be more righteous and protected against any harm; that we will not suffer the consequences of Sodom and Gomorrah.

    As far as your last comment, given what I’ve just stated – I’d rather be out of touch with man than God.

    This is my last comment on this entire issue as it is not productive to the core issue of politics. Besides…you’re right, and I’m wrong….and I’m right, and you’re wrong – doesn’t get us both anywhere.

    We are, however, both Conservatives, right?


  • David Kaiser

    Jacosta, I really hope you aren’t using the Bible as a guide to how things should be, because some of the things said in the Bible are even more conservative than you.

    I’ll start spouting the quotes from the Blble that say people should be put to death for working on the Sabbath. As soon as you start taking the Bible literally, you become a complete idiot.

    Everyone makes bad choices, but the fact of the matter is, it is their CHOICE. You seem to feel that everyone should be like you. Most of the world does not think like you. I’d be willing to bet that most of the United States does not think like you.

    Sure, if over 50% of the nation thought polygamy was OK, I wouldn’t fight it. But as of your “own admission” only 1-2% of the nation agrees with it.

    Conversely, more than 50% of the nation supports either gay marriage or gay civil unions, according to several recent polls.

    I have the ability to seperate the term “marriage” from religion and government, so I don’t have an issue with it.

    The Bible is far from black and white, as is the Constitution. If you take both literally, you really are out of touch.

  • Jacosta

    I knew you would start bringing up slavery and women – why? Because everytime one argues for “moral” standards, someone else comes along and mixes it with “social” standards – or something that is a societal concern vs. a moral concern.

    Man’s definition of standards are considered different than those standards that have been in place – again – for all these millennias gone by. Slavery and gender issues were never “moral” standards – they were “social” standards…even those, of course can be wrong. Sometimes, yes, thay can even be intertwined. I believe that slavery can be both a moral and a social wrong.

    Slavery or bondage of any human being is, of course wrong and should be abolished at all cost. Discrimination or biasness towards a gender is also wrong. I’m not the one who set these as moral or social standards – it’s been God Himself who set them.

    By your own admition, we should allow polygamy to become a standard, and perhaps other types of moral and social compasses to be changed as well?

    Be careful what you wish for…society may just get what it wants and suffer the consequences of its choices.

    Look throughout history and the Bible, and one can clearly see the consequences of bad choices.

    It was rampant adultery, fornication, and homosexuality (a lack of or changing of moral standards) that caused the great cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to be destroyed – it’s all there in balck and white for everyone to read.

    As to bringing this back to Romney – he always was against gay marriage from day one and never was in favor of it when it became a conern or topic. No one can ever find one statement ever made of his defense of gay marriage – because, again, there is a difference between a “right” and a “rite”.

    I welcome anyone – Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, or Independant – who champions the cause of the family unit and marriage remaining only between a man and a woman!

  • David Kaiser

    Jacosta, if the United States would have held fast to “standards” its entire exisistance, blacks and women would not be able to vote.

    If we held to “standards”, seperate but equal would be in effect today.

    If we held to “standards”, we would not be the same nation we are today.

    You say that legislating moral behavior is dangerous, but who is giving the definition of moral behavior?

    Not all people agree on the same sets of morals and standards, and we all can change our mind right Jacosta?

    I mean, if Mitt can changes his mind, we all can.

  • Jacosta

    Actually, it doesn’t. As any astute learner of knowledge and history notes – gay marriage was NEVER brought up in the courts, press, media, and in forums of public debate in 1994 – heck, even gay people didn’t say much about gay marriage back then!

    The other thing is this – I, too, like so many others, agree that there’s a big difference between “rights” and “rites”! Marriage is not a “rights”, but a “rite”. The homosexual agenda wants us to confuse and mix the two when the are not the same. I do believe that homosexuals should be given rights that bar discrimination in the workplace, to gain access to health care benefits, to be treated fairly and as decent citizens against physical harm. However, that does not and can not extend to marriage rites!

    The argument is – and it falls deadly – that since standards and times have changed…since there is more of a presence of homosexuality in our current times than ever before…that we should legitimize it and consider it as normal behavior. That is a very dangerous thought – so, what if in 100 years from now ther are far more polygamists in the United States…heck, there is already a tv series depicting it as normal….if we believe that laws should change with the times, then let’s go ahead and legitimize polygamy and let a man have more than one wife.

    Oh – here’s another one…what if in 200 years, the presence of “love” between a 15 year old and a 50 year old becomes a norm – let’s go ahead and change laws so that that 15 year old girl and 50 year old man can marry?

    You see, legislating moral behavior and standards is very dangerous! That’s why we have “standards” to hold fast on to, and to never change them!

    Should we legitimize adultery?

    Mitt Romney had it exactly right – he understands the difference between “rights” and “rites”. Marriage between a man and a woman was first instituted by God…and it has existed as such for several millennia. Why should we change course now because 1-2% of our population want to force on us as the majority something that is not a “right”?

    Be careful – in one hundred years polygamists can become 1-2% of our population and start demanding the same from the majority as well!

  • David Kaiser

    Well, there is at least one example where Mitt at least implied he would support gay marriage. He wrote a letter to so-called “Log Cabin Republicans” (GOPers who support gay rights) in Massachusetts.

    The jist of the letter was that he was trying to position himself as a better champion of gay rights than his opponent for the Senate in 1994, Ted Kennedy.

    Here is a quote from that letter:

    “…As a result of our discussions and other interactions with gay and lesbian voters across the state, I am more convinced than ever before that as we seek to establish full equality for America’s gay and lesbian citizens, I will provide more effective leadership than my opponent.”

    I don’t think it is a farce to interpret “full equality” to include marriage.

    This was, of course, over 10 years ago, but Jacosta, this does throw a little cold water on your challenge…


  • Jacosta

    Can you find where Romney was ever for gay marriage? Or, where he never enacted legislation that wasn’t against illegal immigration?

    On abortion – why do we as pro-lifers want to convert people who are pro-choice…then pick and choose some as “flip-floppers” when it comes to politics? Seems like an oxy-moron.

    Heck, I’ll gladly call anyone a flip-flopper if they decide that they were wrong on abortion and start choosing life! My own parents used to be pro-choice – yet, changed their minds on this subject when I was in my teens.

    It’s funny how the Dems will NEVER label someone a “flip-flopper” if they were once pro-life and then converted to pro-choice.

    Shouldn’t we as Conservatives change our sttitudes? Shouldn’t we welcome with open arms any person who changes from being pro-choice to pro-life?

    Should we label Brownback a “flip-flopper” for once being Methodist, then converting to Catholicism – when the Catholic Church just announced a couple of months ago that ALL other Christian religions are not valid or true? Or that Brownback is a flip-flopper because within 15 minutes of a vote on the McCain-Kennedy “Amnesty” bill that took place recently – that he voted “yes” for it first…then just moments later voted “no” on it?

    I see three people running for the GOP nomination…

    One has come out in full-support of abortion and even late-term abortions…and yet has been trying as best he can to escape the issue….dodging questions…even now back-peddling on some of his earlier views without ever explaining why. Yet, you never ever hear the term “flip-flopper” refered to him.

    This same candidate had very strong pro illegal immigration views in his past – but now (all of a sudden) is very much against illegal immigration!

    There’s another candidate that – as has now been investigated and reported as fact – held pro-choice views and was hired to work for a pro-choice lobbying group when he was a lawyer…and is also dodging questions about it, trying to hide from it, and coming up with excuses as to why he did what he did. Yet, you never hear the term “flip-flopper” refered to this person either?

    Then there’s our last candidate, who, for years if not most of his life, was always recorded in the press and with friends, associates, and family – as stating that he was always personally pro-life, though he wanted to abide by the current laws as they existed in the state for which he became governor because they were pro-choice – thereby running and looking as a pro-choicer.

    Yet, this person changed his stance…and he goes around NOT dodging the question…always answering the critics of his change….why he changed and when he changed….offering no excuses as to why he changed….and even goes as far as to say that he was wrong and not ashamed of changing. And yet – HE is the flip-flopper out of the three?

    In light of knowledge…your argument becomes very weak.

  • Troy La Mana

    “So, again, as people get to know Romney…the more they learn that he’s not a flip-flopper….that he is genuine….that he pro-life….anti-illegal immigration….anti-gay marriage!”

    This is a total lie based upon his past positions.

  • Jacosta

    Interesting how a little education, learning, and studying goes a long way…

    The L.A. Times has now reported that Giuliani’s numbers are slipping in California now…and that he’s slipping to Mitt Romney:

    “One interesting tidbit from the data, which is ominous for Giuliani, is that the more a voter has followed the news, the smaller the New Yorker’s lead becomes. Among voters who claim to be following the race very closely, Giuliani’s lead over Romney is nearly slashed in half, to 13%…”

    So, again, as people get to know Romney…the more they learn that he’s not a flip-flopper….that he is genuine….that he pro-life….anti-illegal immigration….anti-gay marriage!

    Reports coming out of S.C. have also now stated that Fred Thompson and Giuliani are also slipping in numbers to Romney.

  • Jacosta

    And now the latest survey from the Reno Gazette-Journal:

    Romney 28 (+24 vs. 3/12 poll)
    Thompson 18 (n/a)
    Giuliani 18 (-20)
    McCain 8 (-10)
    Gingrich 4 (-9)
    Huckabee 2 (n/a)

    Romney is leading in 3 primary states – Iowa, N.H., and now Nevada. He is also making substantial gains in S.C. – within 5 points of the lead now! A few months ago, he was merely a word in S.C. and Nevada…look as his numbers continue to rise.

    This is the first time Huckabee received any points in the Nevada survey – due to his great performance in the Iowa straw poll and in the debates.

  • Troy La Mana

    I’ll accept a one position slip for Thompson until he announces, then it should jump right back up to second.

  • Jacosta

    As you wish…here’s Mitt!

  • Nate

    The guy with the early states deservers the top spot. But I still see Rudy’s photo in the upper right corner. Time to update that.

  • Jacosta

    I do think it’s time to limit the race to 5 on each side.

    Dodd, Gravel and Kucinich for the Dems won’t make it…and neither will Brownback, Paul, Hunter, and Tancredo for the Republicans. This is reality and logic – not emotion or desire – that is speaking truth.

    Pretty soon, we can add Biden to the drop list as well.

    The three-way race for the Dems will be Clinton, Obama, and Edwards – while the GOP will narrow to Romney, Giuliani, and Thompson.

    Now that Thompson’s “about-face’s” are coming out in the press on the issues of abortion – and his support for McCain-Feingold, and the McCain-Kennedy “Amnesty” bills – look for an early peak…then a drop as voters turn to Giuliani and Romney. Another minus for Thompson – his laziness, and an inability to capture a listening audience without putting them to sleep.

    Then the Dems will narrow to Clinton and Obama.

    The two G’s – Gore and Gingrich – will be no shows to the race.

  • Jason Wright, Editor

    We hear your concerns about limiting the list to five, but we needed to eventually, and the straw poll seemed like a good demarcation point. I’ll make you a deal, if there’s an outpouring of support, a public outcry for expanding the list back to 10, we’ll do an about face :)

  • BoruJudasDedrich

    Nice Whodat.

    Also nice was Ron Paul’s 3rd place in the Illinois straw poll. That put some pep in my step.

    And I agree that it is too soon for PD to limit the list to five. But they have been toggling between five and ten candidates per Ranking since June.

  • Whodat in Texas

    Write On!

    Thank you,


  • Jason Wright, Editor

    As the guy who sold me the defective DVD system for my wife’s Honda recently said, “My bad.”

    Tancredo and Paul was a last minute oversight because we decided to kill the write ups for them and they didn’t get moved over to the new form. We’ll get them added asap.

  • Lisa

    Mitt’s buzz is a blip. When Freddie emerges I’ll be doing flips!

  • Whodat in Texas

    Did I read somewhere that Tom Tancredo
    Was 4th in Iowa, with per cent 14?
    Did I see he missed 3rd by a handful
    And, second, too, or was that just a dream?

    Yet, in your power rankings Tom T has
    Barely an asterisk by his name
    I’m confused about your criteria when
    14% and 4th snare no fame…

    Tom T. ain’t pretty like Mitt, nor
    Fancy like New Yorker Rudy he’s not
    He can’t preach like Ark’s Huckabee
    But, 14% and 4th is better than some got.

    Whodat like Tom T.

  • Robin

    I like Romney, but I hardly believe that he deserves first place, considering that he’s running 4th in most national polls.


  • Ken H

    It’s way too early to be trimming the field down to five. That should wait until around Thanksgiving.

  • NewYorkStateConservative

    Below are the results from Illinois’ first ever GOP straw poll. The event was free (for voters and candidates) and required an Illinois ID.

    1. Mitt Romney — 40.35%

    2. Fred Thompson — 19.96%

    3. Ron Paul — 18.87%

    4. Rudy Giuliani — 11.61%

    5. John McCain — 4.12%

    6. Mike Huckabee — 3.04%

    7. Sam Brownback — 1.08%

    8. Duncan Hunter — .65%

    9. Tom Tancredo — .33%

  • AndDru1

    Nice to say Huckabee in front of McCain.

  • NewYorkStateConservative

    I agree with who PD put in the top 5 (maybe not in the exact order they are in- I don’t think Mitt should be considered the top front runner right now- but I don’t have a big discrepancy on the actual list), I just don’t see why Tancredo and Paul don’t even count as long shot candidates, when their campaigns are just as alive as Brownback’s (if not more), and are in a much better position than Hunter’s.

  • BoruJudasDedrich

    I’d put Huck over Fred T. right now. Most people have never heard of Fred T, not even as an actor.

    However, it is very obvious that the GOP is backing Fred T. for this or some other position. Still, being groomed doesn’t mean much.

    I’m a Ron Paul supporter, but I can’t say he belongs in the top five in a mainstream listing. 1. It’s the mainsteam media (corrupt). 2. RP’s wins the vast majority of online polls by landslides, but I expected that to translate into more donations than it did. 3. RP could have easily bought 2000 more votes at Ames and scooped up second place…getting him all the media attention that Huck is enjoying now.

    There is a huge wave that RP is riding on…pity he doesn’t take more advantage of it.

  • NewYorkStateConservative

    I just have one question? How is it Newt and Duncan Hunter “received votes” while Tom Tancredo and Ron Paul didn’t?

    Newt isn’t going run unless nearly every other Republican candidate implodes.

    Duncan Hunter lost to two no-shows (Giuliani and Thompson) at the Straw Poll, and a few months ago in Iowa he was polling neck in neck… with John Cox.

    Tancredo’s fourth place finish with 13.7 percent wasn’t too far from Brownback’s 15.3 percent (closer to Brownback than Brownback was to Huckabee), and Tancredo spent much less time in Iowa than Brownback.

    Ron Paul’s fifth place finish (9.1 percent) at Ames was respectable for someone who is suppose to have no real-world support and spends money like Ebenezer Scrooge.

    If the Ames Straw poll is important enough to give Romney and Huckabee positive momentum in first and fourth place, then I fail to see the logic in omitting both Paul and Tancredo from the list of “long-odds horses also receiving votes”.