EDIT TO ADD: So the results are, roughly:
So, what does this mean?
1.) Well, obviously it’s big ups for Obama, for a number of reasons. Firstly, an enormous youth turnout – really, it’s massive. The legendary “candidate that brings in the youth vote that never appears” is nigh-mythical in politics, but Obama did it – in spades. Secondly, a massive initial victory in whiter-than-fuck Iowa effectively dismisses the “a black guy can’t get white votes” argument that quietly been making the rounds (especially, it seems, in black political circles – go figure). Finally, it’s just a good start right out of the gate, and that’s never a bad thing.
2.) Edwards’ campaign isn’t done, but his odds are very weak now. His campaign was predicated on winning Iowa and he didn’t do it. His concession speech, though, was a thing of genius, effectively arguing that with a top-two finish of himself and Obama, the primary season is about who can bring change, and Hillary effectively has been cast as the status-quo candidate. If the Clinton campaign collapses (and it could happen), the dynamic is in place for a two-man race. Still, that’s a lot of “ifs.”
3.) Clinton is in trouble. Her campaign was predicated on her being the inevitable nominee and she just came in third place in the first real test: not even second, but third. She needs an exceptional performance in New Hampshire to keep it together. If she doesn’t win New Hampshire she is in deep shit. If she only barely wins New Hampshire she is still in pretty deep shit. With just about all the non-big-three nominees dropping out to endorse Obama, she has a tough road ahead of her.
4.) Romney is in less trouble than people think. Yes, Huckabee winning Iowa is not great for Romney, but remember that the essential character of Romney’s campaign is that he’s every Republican’s inoffensive second choice, and getting a solid quarter of the vote right off the bat is good for him. The Guiliani and Thompson voters aren’t going to flock wholesale to Huckabee, after all.
5.) Speaking of Huckabee, yes, it’s a great early performance, but Iowa is littered with the ghosts of campaigns which had one great early performance then collapsed outright. Huckabee has very little institutional support and not a lot of money, and although he’s a very folksy speaker, he’s shit on details, which might even matter. The question for Huckabee is can he get more than one-third of the Republican electoral vote when the money and the foreign policy cons are against him, and I don’t know if he can do that.
6.) McCain probably wanted a few more points (fourteen points for Fred Thompson? Seriously?), but Iowa was always a distant afterthought for a campaign planning to really start by kicking ass in New Hampshire. That having been said, McCain needs to kick ass in New Hampshire even worse than Hillary does.