A caveat, I am lousy at making presidential predictions. In 1974, I didn’t foresee an obscure governor from Georgia would be elected in 1976. I thought Walter Mondale would defeat Reagan in 1984. I predicted failure for the inarticulate, alcoholic son of a failed president in 2000. (For my interest, I have added in red their Tradespot odds as of 12/6/2006.)
Hillary Clinton (sen-NY) - 6 to 1 (4 to 5)
Leads the early polls with 33%. There is a huge anyone-but-Hillary movement (of which I am a member) but she has the best organization of anyone in the race, is a strong campaigner, and benefits from the financial advantages senators have. I will be disappointed if she wins the nomination, but not surprised.
Brian Schweitzer (gov-MO) - 7 to 1 (1000 to 1)
This is a dark horse who isn’t mentioned on any of the polls. He is a successful western governor from a western, presumptively red state. My, albeit western, opinion is that the chances of a long term shift to a Democratic majority lies in making the western states blue. Nominating a western governor could make that happen.
Barack Obama (sen-IL) - 8 to 1 (5 to 1)
Second in the most recent poll (15%). He has more charisma than every other potential candidate combined. He has a John Kennedy aura about him. The question is whether he can maintain the charm for another 18 months.
John Edwards (SC) - 9 to 1 (10 to 1)
Last season’s charmer. His biggest flaw is he has no natural base to work from. Polling 14%
Wesley Clark (IL) - 10 to 1 (90 to 1)
The man with the military creds. If national security is a big 2008 issue, Clark will benefit the most. He has honed his media skills the past two years. Polling 4%.
Al Gore (TN) - 12 to 1 (11 to 1)
My choice. My man. The man who should have been president. His biggest flaw in 2000 was his image as a wooden politician. He has developed a vibrant speaking skill since then. I don’t know why he isn’t polling better than 14%.
Bill Richardson (gov-NM) - 15 to 1 (80 to 1), Carl Levin (sen-MI) - 20 to 1
We are getting into the long-shots. Richardson (3%) wants to be president and virtually nobody has noticed. Levin doesn’t want to run but has a presidential bearing.
Gary Hart (CO), John Kerry (sen-MA) (70 to 1), Tom Daschle (SD) (1000 to 1), Joe Biden (sen-DE) (100 to 1) - 25 to 1 each
The old warhorses. Hart has been out of politics for a generation. Kerry (7%) is personality impaired. Daschle is forgotten. Biden (3%) has been running for president since Lincoln. Nominating any of them is giving up on the general election.
Evan Bayh (sen-IN) (40 to 1), Chris Dodd (sen-CT) (170 to 1), Tom Vilsack (gov-IA) (50 to 1) - 99 to 1
Mike Gravel (AK) - 999 to 1
No hope. They are running out of ego.
Sources: CNN polling data, wikipedia