Grab your popcorn. Republicans are in for an interesting few weeks. With the Iowa caucuses coming up on Feb. 1, political prognostication is in full force. It's not unusual to hear dramatic statements across cable television outlets such as, "Jeb is finished!" "Name one state in which Marco Rubio can win?" or "How does Chris Christie go south?" But, such blanket statements fail to account for recent presidential primary history.
Nationally, in 2008, for example, a month before voting began, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was leading the Republican field. In Iowa, Mitt Romney led most of 2007, only to be overtaken by former Governor Mike Huckabee in December (The caucuses were Jan. 3 that year). At one point, shortly before Iowa voting occurred, Romney returned to the top of the polling charts, only to be overtaken once again by Governor Huckabee, who won the caucus vote. In New Hampshire, Senator John McCain also overtook Romney, who had led much of the race (and who some argued underperformed in the Iowa caucuses).