Welcome to the latest edition of PoliticalDerby.com’s 2008 Power Rankings, the first tracking service of the next race for the White House. The rankings are updated as circumstances warrant, generally twice a month. The rankings are compiled by our Editor using wire reports, campaign staffer scuttlebutt, and confidential tips. The rankings may not be reprinted or quoted in any form without attribution to PoliticalDerby.com.

Updated November 6, 2006

Power Ranking The Horse Previous Ranking Momentum The Tip Sheet
1 John McCain 1 Perhaps it says something about the GOP when their lead horse is a guy that’s 70, looks 90, and who’s loathed by a vast swath of hard-core activists for his positions on Global Warming and Campaign Finance Reform. McCain leads the pack in every major poll, but it’s unclear whether his support will eventually extend beyond pollsters and newsrooms to primary voters. For now he leads the pack, but the contenders are closing fast.
2 Rudy Giuliani 3 Rudy might be the most attractive hypothetical candidate in history. With his star power and 9/11 legacy, it’s hard to tell a pollster on the phone that you wouldn’t support him. But will conservatives feel the same way when he’s no longer a poll question but an actual candidate with controversial positions on affirmative action, gay rights, abortion, guns, etc? The Tip Sheet predicts Rudy eventually fades, but the rankings are a snapshot of today, and today he’s formidable, hypothetical or not.
3 Mitt Romney 2 Romney scuffed a hoof in recent weeks when the media piled on a story about the appropriateness of his staff using his Mormon and BYU relationships to advance his campaign. It’s unlikely to have a lasting impact, but it underscores his need to run as a Christian Conservative who happens to be Mormon, not the other way around. The good news is that Romney stands to benefit the most from George Allen’s free fall.
4 Newt Gingrich 6 More than one activist has told the Tip Sheet that Gingrich would make the very best president of any Republican on the track. The issue, of course, is that sticky little matter of having to win the nomination and something we call the general election. Newt will probably never be closer to the presidency than when he was Speaker, but that won’t stop him from helping set the terms of the debate.
5 Mike Huckabee 5 Conventional wisdom says that Huck has been running for president for at least two years already. But race fans, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Just wait until January when he’s term-limited out of office and has a huck-of-a-lot less on his menu. He definitely has his eyes on the lead pack, but can he become more than the weight-loss candidate? That’s a pretty thin platform.
6 George Allen 4 Allen hasn’t exactly run a textbook campaign, at least not one on winning, but he’s still likely to run in ’08. Without many to choose from, will conservatives really hold a few campaign blunders against him forever? Despite the missteps, the Tip Sheet thinks he remains a viable candidate. Is there enough time to get the monkey off his back?
7 Bill Frist 7 If Iowa and New Hampshire were countries, Frist might have spent enough time in each to qualify for dual citizenship. He’s running quietly with his eyes squarely fixed on post-Senate life. Ridding himself of the Senate ball and chain could add 10 years to his life and 3 spots up in the power rankings.
8 Mike Pence 9 Congressman Pence has a whisper campaign gaining momentum inside-the-beltway. It’s a stretch to think he can pass the horses ahead of him, but he could be a very attractive VP pick. He’s a conservative darling without much baggage.
9 Condi Rice 8 The more Condi says no, the more her supporters say yes. If Iraq and terrorism remain issues #1 and #2, expect even more pressure on Rice to reconsider running. It won’t happen, but the Tip Sheet thinks a Rice-Obama matchup would be superfunilicious.
10 Duncan Hunter Unranked The largely-unknown Congressman makes the rankings for admitting what 434 other members of the House privately think about themselves. “Hey! I’d make a good president!” He’s a long shot, but the Tip Sheet gives him love for coming out early keepin’ it real.
Power Ranking The Horse Previous Ranking Momentum The Tip Sheet
1 Hillary Clinton 1 The latest unofficial Political Derby poll suggests that Hillary is going to win reelection by an estimated 98-2 percent and will end her Senate campaign with a tad over $2 billion in campaign cash aimed at an ’08 campaign. Much like McCain, Hillary’s lead over the #2 horse is shrinking. She’s still the biggest horse in the field, but she’s becoming less intimidating to her foes.
2 Barak Obama Unranked Like, oh my gosh, have you heard, Obamamania is spreading hotter and faster than a sex scene from a Jim Webb novel. Is he just the ABH (Anybody But Hillary) horse-of-the-month, or will Senator Silky Smooth run in the lead pack deep into 2007? Fortunately the Tip Sheet is willing to ask the one question no one else wants to pose: Would the freshman Senator from Illinois be generating rock-star buzz if he were white? Discuss.
3 John Edwards 2 As one reader told us, Edwards problem isn’t just that he’s an empty suit, he’s an empty $3,000 hand-made Italian suit talking about poverty when the issue is barely a blip on voters’ minds. His one advantage? He polls well, and for that he stays in the lead pack.
4 Evan Bayh 3 Bayh must have felt like he’d been hit by a Mike Tyson right hook (old Tyson, not new Tyson) when he heard Obama tell Tim Russert he was considering a presidential run after all. While Bayh has been around the track much more than Obama, he lacks the Illinois Senator’s charisma, speaking skills, and pulse.
5 Bill Richardson 5 Richardson proves that sometimes you move through a pack of race horses by simply keeping your mouth shut and running your own race. Expect Richardson to bask in the glory of next week’s predicted Dem success in gubernatorial races. As chairman of the DGA he can claim a chunk of credit for helping Dems reverse their state house deficiencies of the last several cycles.
6 Russ Feingold 7 Feingold is doing his share of ground work and putting his ear to the grassroots. He still needs to build his name ID, but look for him to take a heightened role in the new-look Senate come January. He could easily emerge as the first choice of the far-left.
7 Wes Clark 8 Clark seems much less interested in running for president than do his many online supporters. If chat rooms, message boards and fan sites were part of the electoral college, Clark would be set for a Reagan-like landslide. Alas, they’re not, and Clark needs to start translating virtual support to real support.
8 Al Gore Unranked Gore returns to the rankings in large part because Kerry’s hoof-in-mouth disease opened a door. The former VP says he’s not interested, but will he still feel that way this spring if he’s still polling in the top 3? The Tip Sheet predicts an Oscar nom–and perhaps win–for his Global Warming documentary. That ought to keep him in the news.
9 Howard Dean Unranked Dean makes a return to the rankings based on his position as Chairman of the DNC. Many will argue how much credit he deserves for next week’s expected democratic gains, but the fact remains that he sat at the head of the table while democrats finally turned things around.
10 John Kerry 6 The good news is that Kerry broke the record for steepest drop in a single edition of the power rankings. The bad news is that he’s successfully replaced Social Security is the third rail of American politics. No one wants to touch him.