September 28, 2012

Libertarians Prefer Romney

The folks over at Cato published the following:

The Reason-Rupe September 2012 poll includes our favorite ideological questions to differentiate libertarians from liberals and conservatives. Using three questions, we can define libertarians as respondents who believe “the less government the better,” who prefer the “free market” to handle problems, and who want government to “favor no particular set of values.” These fiscally conservative, socially liberal voters represent 20% of the public in the Reason-Rupe poll, in line with previous estimates.

Among these likely libertarian voters, the presidential horserace currently stands:

Romney 77%
Obama 20%
Other 3%

Romney’s share of the libertarian vote represents a high water mark for Republican presidential candidates in recent elections.

… George W. Bush won 72 percent of libertarians in 2000, but lost many libertarians by 2004, as the wars, spending, and growth of government weighed on many libertarians. John McCain matched Bush’s 2000 vote share, winning 71 percent. Many libertarians seem to have preferred McCain’s independent streak to Obama’s soaring promises. But if the election were held today, the Romney/Ryan ticket would get more libertarian votes than any candidate since 1980.

Do they love Mitt? Not really, but they’ll take him over the alternative.

What if Gary Johnson is included in the mix? The same poll shows the following:

  • Romney: 70%
  • Obama: 13%
  • Johnson: 14%

Johnson takes seven ppts of the Libertarian vote from both Romney and Obama in that scenario.

  6:41 am Barack Obama, Gary Johnson, Mitt Romney  

August 12, 2012

I Endorse Romney-Ryan but Will Not Vote for Romney-Ryan

I proudly call myself a libertarian Republican.  I want the budget balanced, ASAP.  I want the wars ended.  I want to keep more of my income.  I want habeas corpus and due process preserved.  I want my right to own and use a gun.  I want my gay friends and neighbors able to legally marry.  I want a government that obeys the Constitution, even if it means overturning Roe v Wade or repealing the Patriot Act, abolishing the Federal Reserve or ending the War on Drugs.

Some people see me as a conundrum.  A hodge podge of conflicting views, patched together from hardcore liberalism and hardcore conservatism.  I see my philosophy as a consistent one.  It all revolves around personal freedom.  Leave me alone.  Let me do what I want to do, so long as I’m hurting no one else.

In 2008, I eagerly supported Ron Paul.  I made emails and phone calls, I trudged in the bitter cold of winter putting up signs, I raised money and donated what little I as a college student could afford.  In 2012, I supported and was actually employed as a political consultant for Gov. Gary Johnson’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.  When Johnson switched to the Libertarian Party just before the primaries began, I wished him well and threw my support behind Ron Paul.

We libertarian Republicans tried hard to get one of our own nominated this year, and fell short.  Instead of winning one election, we libertarian Republicans made undeniable strides in transforming the ideological makeup of the GOP.  That’s evident in the fact that out of all the possible running mates Mitt Romney could have chosen, he chose Paul Ryan–a congressman whose #1 message is: Do whatever it takes to get debt and spending under control.

I retain deep misgivings about Mitt Romney, and Paul Ryan is certainly no libertarian.  Romney’s anti-gay rhetoric infuriates me; his stand against medical cannabis perplexes me; his refusal to even consider cutting waste and fraud from the Pentagon budget exasperates me. Ryan’s vocal support of the Wall Street bailout, the auto bailout, the 2008 and 2009 stimulus bills, and Bush’s Medicare expansion showed hypocrisy and irresponsibility.

However, Romney and Ryan aren’t running as evangelicals or war mongers.  Their message is fixed squarely on the economy: get spending under control, figure out a realistic plan for entitlements, and restore a culture that celebrates entrepreneurship and a government that doesn’t stand in the way of it.  These are the important issues of our time.

Despite his progressive rhetoric, President Obama has offered nothing more than lip service to gay marriage proponents.  President Obama has continued unconstitutional federal raids on medical cannabis dispensaries.  Instead of ending the Iraq War, he merely pumped up the Afghanistan War and got us into new wars across the Muslim world.  Obama now claims the power to assassinate and indefinitely detain American citizens without due process.  Obama is no better than Bush or Romney on the issues where Democrats are supposed to side with us libertarians.

There are, however, stark differences between Romney-Ryan and Obama-Biden on the economy.

When I was working for Gary Johnson’s campaign, I engaged in some opposition research.  I pored over hundreds of pages of Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports on the governorships of Johnson, Romney, Pawlenty, Perry, and Roemer.  Johnson had the best record by every measure, yes.  Johnson slashed the size of government without firing anyone; he eliminated the state’s debt and raised its credit rating; he vetoed more bills than the other 49 governors combined and got re-elected in a blue state.  I was surprised and a bit shocked, however, to see who came in second place amongst the Governors I researched.

While not quite the slash-and-burn Friedmanite that Gary Johnson was, I found Governor Mitt Romney to have a, dare-I-say, very good record on debt and spending!  I crunched the numbers every way I could think of, to make sure I wasn’t giving Romney too much credit.  I adjusted for inflation, I adjusted for population changes, I adjusted for the state of the national economy during each governor’s time in office.  Yet, still, I found that when Gov. Romney said he would turn around the financial situation of the Massachusetts state government, he actually did it.  Gov. Romney upended a $3 billion deficit, cast hundreds of vetoes, hiked the state’s credit rating, and dropped the state unemployment rate a notch.  In fact, of all the governors running for president in 2012, the only two who left their states in better shape than they found them were Johnson and Romney.

Now, on to Paul Ryan.  Congressman Ryan threw us fiscal hawks under the bus with the bailouts, stimulus, and Medicare Part D.  His budget plan takes so long to balance the budget that I, someone who has no kids, could actually be a grandparent when it finally gets us out of the red.  However, Ryan’s plan to balance the budget and deal with entitlements is a starting point.  It’s definitely better than Obama-Biden’s “plan” to just ignore the debt and do nothing about it.  Yes, 23 years is way too long to balance a budget that we just had balanced only 12 years ago.  But I’d rather have it balanced in 23 years than never.  And maybe, just maybe, as the Republican Party continues shifting more toward the libertarian axis, maybe we can start speeding up those reforms and get the budget balanced sooner.

Lastly, the most important victory that we libertarian Republicans are on the verge of winning is that of monetary reform.  The first step in building awareness and support for monetary reform is fully auditing the Federal Reserve.  We must show the American people and our representatives just how badly our current monetary system is working.  Ron Paul’s “Audit The Fed” bill just passed the House of Representatives, and it may or may not pass the current Senate, but it will definitely not pass President Obama’s desk. President Obama will veto the Fed Audit, and a President Romney will sign it.  We philosophical libertarians believe that the Federal Reserve is the key enabler of the debt and inflation that have exploded out of control over this past century, and we believe the Fed is the most destructive force in the economy today.  The Fed “prints” the fiat money that funds the wars and domestic spying and medical cannabis dispensary raids that we libertarians hate.  Dealing with the Fed is something we cannot do under an Obama presidency, but something we can begin to do under a Romney presidency, at the very least.

Because Romney and Ryan actually offer a positive vision for the economy, because they will work with libertarians like me on Federal Reserve policy, and because Obama and Biden are, in practice, just as bad on social and foreign policy issues, I would prefer a Romney-Ryan White House to a grueling four more years of an Obama-Biden one.

Therefore, I hereby endorse Mitt Romney for President and Paul Ryan for Vice President.

Not so fast!

That doesn’t mean I’m voting for them.  I have a better idea.

I live in California.  On November 6th, my state will go to Obama by something like 20 points.  It’s not winnable.  Not at this point in history.  Should us few Californian Republicans vote for Mitt Romney, it would just be a waste of gasoline and our own time and energy. What if we really put our votes to use, and voted for the Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson, here in California?  Not only would it not eat into Mitt Romney’s electoral college tally, but it would make a real statement.

What if Romney-Ryan won the presidency in the electoral college, but Johnson-Gray won something like 15% of the popular vote?  I am a lifelong Republican and not a member of the Libertarian Party, but I would love to see the day when the two major parties debating ideas are the GOP and the LP, and the Democratic Party is the irrelevant third party.

Here’s my proposal: if you live in a guaranteed blue state, like California, DC, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, New York, Washington, or one of the little New England states, then help change the national political landscape and vote for third party candidate Gary Johnson for President.  If you feel so compelled, then donate to Romney-Ryan and volunteer for Romney-Ryan, but cast your ultimate ballot for Johnson-Gray.

If you live anywhere else, especially in a swing state, then use your ballot to help Romney-Ryan overcome Obama-Biden.

Let’s kill two birds with one stone.  Both of these objectives are very realistic and achievable:

1). Let’s shift the national dialogue and political landscape further in the direction of liberty and limited government, and

2). Let’s replace the failed Obama-Biden team with a better team, Romney-Ryan, and at least get this ship of state pointed in the right


  12:00 am 2012 Misc., Gary Johnson, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan  

July 17, 2012

Race42012 VP Survey

Let’s hear your opinions!  We want to know who you would pick for VP running mate if you were Romney, who you think Romney will actually pick, what your reasoning is behind why Romney will or won’t pick the individuals whose names have been floated, and when you think Romney will announce his decision.

1). I would pick:

Rand Paul.  Intelligent, articulate, principled, and eager, Rand Paul would show the small government base of the conservative movement that Romney is serious about being something better than another in the Bush-Obama continuum.  Rand Paul would help shore up a little bit of the Ron Paul contingent and might even sway some of those Gary Johnson voters (who might be eating into Romney’s support in the Mountain West).  Romney won’t pick Rand Paul, of course, because of the ideological differences on many issues, but Paul would be my pick.

2). I think Romney will actually pick:

Marco Rubio.  Young, articulate, conservative, and Hispanic.  Rubio’s minority status will energize Republican voters and help Team Romney not be seen as the club of old, rich, white men.  He’s a great debater, and would slaughter Biden in a head-to-head.  He has a clean record, and is not prone to gaffes.  He gives Romney a little Washington insider knowledge, and also could help solidify the important swing state of Florida, as well as helping Romney pick up Hispanic voters in other swing states like New Mexico and Colorado.

3). Why Romney won’t pick the other guys:

Tim Pawlenty.  Pawlenty is an artful surrogate on the trail, but never really shined in the debates.  As another Governor, he could re-inforce Romney’s executive experience, but that doesn’t really need much more re-inforcing.  Having Pawlenty on the ticket probably won’t flip Minnesota, or any other state.

Rob Portman.  Portman is a smart and effective Senator, but doesn’t really add any wow or excitement to the ticket.  Sure, Romney is a level-headed businessman who is trying to pick the best person for the job, not a celebrity sideshow, but Romney is also a shrewd politician, and he knows that the base is not thrilled with him.  He needs someone competent, but energizing, and Portman just doesn’t really offer the latter quality.

Condoleezza Rice.  As a Bush administration official, someone who is pro-choice, someone who has never actually run for electoral office herself, and someone who flat-out has no desire to be the running mate, she’s a no go.

Paul Ryan.  Ryan would be a smart choice, as he is articulate and would help shore up optimism amongst the small government, Tea Party type crowd.  Ryan puts forth some bold, positive, substantive plans, and can hardly be accused of simply being a Republican naysayer.  He’d demolish Biden in a debate, but much of the rationale for a Ryan VP is the same rationale for a Rubio VP.  If Romney is going to pick a Ryan type, he’s going to go big and just pick Rubio.

Chris Christie.  Christie is sharp, quick, and popular in his home state.  However, as cruel as it may sound, having a guy who instituted universal health care in Massachusetts and an obese individual, as the standard bearers against Obama’s health care law…well…it’s just bad imagery.  Plus, the general consensus is that Christie is doing great things for New Jersey, and New Jersey needs him more than the nation does right now.

Bobby Jindal.  Jindal is a much more likely pick than he’s being given credit for, I believe.  If Rubio is not the pick, it may very well be Jindal.  As another young racial minority, he too helps dispel the rich, old, white guy imagery.  But like Pawlenty, as another executive, he doesn’t really round out the ticket much, and he doesn’t quite fire up the base with his oratory like Rubio does.  Furthermore, he seems rather busy with Louisiana at the moment.

4). Romney will most likely announce his decision:

August 14th.  I think Romney is a cautious man, and wants the maximum amount of time necessary to vet his running mate options.  He also wants to give the opposition very little time to dig up dirt on his ultimate selection.  Delaying his announcement until after the Olympics are over, and just two weeks before the Convention, seems the most sensible thing to do, as the excitement of the announcement will begin to fade just as the Convention comes along to boost it up again.

What are your opinions?

February 25, 2012

A Libertarian Republican’s Thoughts on Romney-Paul 2012

Since it became increasingly clear, following my candidate (and employer) Gary Johnson’s decision to drop out and run third party, and my second choice Ron Paul’s failure to gain traction after his very-respectable-but-just-not-energizing-enough finishes in the Iowa and New Hampshire contests, that a libertarian would not be representing the Republican Party in the general election, my sense of disappointment, frustration, and burn-out has compelled me to take something of a slight break from politics for a month or two. (I’m sure you were all enormously grieved by my absence.) A lot of libertarians in the GOP have been, and are currently, going through this phase right now. One thing that may be snapping a lot of us out of our funk, however, is the chilling surge in popularity of Rick Santorum–quite possibly one of the most overtly anti-libertarian candidates ever to come within reach of the GOP presidential nomination.

February 1, 2012

Final Florida Tally

Final vote tally for the Florida Primary with all precincts reporting:

Votes Percentage
Romney 771,842 46.4%
Gingrich 531,294 31.9%
Santorum 222,248 13.4%
Paul 116,776 7.0%
Perry 6,742 0.4%
Huntsman 6,182 0.4%
Bachmann 3,947 0.2%
Cain 3,481 0.2%
Johnson 1,186 0.1%
Total 1,663,698 100.0%

Margin of victory for Romney over his three main rivals:

Votes % Total % of Romney
Gingrich 240,548 14.6% 31.2%
Santorum 549,594 33.5% 71.2%
Paul 655,066 39.9% 84.9%
Gingrich + Santorum 18,300 1.1% 2.4%

So even if every single Santorum voter had voted for Gingrich, Romney would still have won. And we know from both anecdotal evidence as well as several polls that there was a large percentage of Santorum voters who would voted for Romney over Gingrich.

For reference, here are the results from the 2008 Florida Primary:

John McCain 701,761 36.0%
Mitt Romney 604,932 31.0%
Rudolph W. Giuliani 286,089 14.7%
Mike Huckabee 262,681 13.5%
Ron Paul 62,887 3.2%
Fred D. Thompson 22,668 1.2%
Alan Keyes 4,060 0.2%
Duncan Hunter 2,847 0.1%
Tom Tancredo 1,573 0.1%
Total: 1,949,498 100.0%

So Mitt improved upon McCain’s percentage by 10 points and his own by 15.  Mitt has 70,000 more votes than McCain had in 2008 and improved his own total by 166,000 votes.

December 31, 2011

Romney Proves the Point Again

Nancy French writing in Patheos (emphasis added):

With all the hoopla surrounding the Virginia ballot, I wondered how the candidates fared in my home state.  Tennessee works a little differently than other states.  In fact, it seems that every state has a little tweak, a little nuance that makes it a little different from the others.  That’s why the process is a great peek into how a candidate can handle complicated issues that require organization and hard work.

Tennessee will have fifty-eight delegates to the Tampa Republican National Convention. Each of our nine congressional districts will have three delegates.  That means that Presidential candidates must find delegates who are leaders in their community willing to walk around with a clipboard asking friends and strangers to sign their names and their addresses on behalf of their candidacy for their preferred Presidential candidate. Each delegate had to get one hundred valid signatures of registered voters.

In addition to the congressional delegates, fourteen “at large” delegates will be elected. These delegates had a slightly easier job, because they weren’t restricted to a certain district and could signatures from any registered voter in our state.

A full slate of delegate candidates would be forty-one.

So which candidates were able to supply a full slate for Tennessee?  Only one:

Michelle Bachmann: 0

Gary Johnson: 0

Rick Santorum: 0

Ron Paul: 35

Newt Gingrich: 34

Rick Perry: 27

Mitt Romney: 48

[I]t’s worth noting that the Yankee governor received forty-eight delegates in our southern state, pulling off what no other candidate could.  What does this say about the conventional wisdom that southerners won’t warm to him?

You will note that Mrs. French states that a full slate of delegates is 41. Yet where none of the other candidates qualified that many, Mitt qualified 48. (I checked. He really does have 48 delegates qualified. You can check here yourself if you wish.) So not only did Romney fulfill all the requirements for Tennessee, he went the extra mile besides.

That is a hallmark of his organization. In Virginia when told the party would automatically qualify him if he reached 15,000 signatures, he wasn’t satisfied until his campaign had collected more than 16,000. Even then he still had his people do an audit on over a third of them to verify they had enough valid signatures to get on the ballot. The last step was totally unnecessary, but he did it anyway.

I am grateful I don’t have to compete with the guy.

December 27, 2011

Gov. Gary Johnson Endorses Ron Paul

Former Republican presidential candidate Gov. Gary Johnson unveiled a new website cover today designed to promote his own bid for the Libertarian Party nomination, as well as to urge support for Ron Paul for the Republican nomination. Johnson will be holding a televised press conference in front of the State House tomorrow in Santa Fe, New Mexico at 10:35 AM Mountain Time, where it is expected that he will switch his party registration to Libertarian, announce his new bid, and officially endorse Ron Paul’s GOP bid.

  10:53 am Gary Johnson, Ron Paul  

December 21, 2011

The Lesson of Gary Johnson: Or, “How to Lose Friends and Alienate People”

Gov. Gary Johnson announced yesterday that he was done with the Republican Party, and pursuing a third party bid. Can anyone honestly blame him? Gov. Johnson is by no means a “sore loser.” To the contrary: he was never allowed to compete.

Gov. Johnson had, at one point, been a rock star of the Republican Party. The very definition of the self-made man that conservatives idealize, this fellow had worked his own way through college, started a one-man handyman business, and through sheer hard work and entrepreneurial cunning, had grown it into a successful, multi-million dollar construction company. Faced with a weak slate of Republican candidates in the 1994 New Mexico gubernatorial election, Gov. Johnson–despite never having held prior political office, yet being fairly covered in the news media, opinion polling, and televised debates–came out of nowhere to win the nomination, unseat an incumbent Democratic governor, and deliver the first-ever 8 solid years of Republican leadership in New Mexico (a state where Democrats outnumbered Republicans 2 to 1 at the time). As Governor, Johnson balanced the budget, cut spending and taxes, vetoed as many bills as the other 49 Governors combined, and passed many free market-oriented improvements in quality of life for New Mexicans. His political rise and governorship are a model for Republican leaders everywhere.

Starting this year’s presidential election campaign with the highest hopes and optimism, Gov. Johnson was soon greatly disillusioned by a process that didn’t even allow him out of the starting gate. When his polling average hovered at a solid 1% despite virtually no coverage, debate sponsors raised the bar to 2%. When he began garnering 2%’s, still with no help from the media or the Republican establishment, debate sponsors raised the bar to 3%. Political pundits like Slate‘s Dave Weigel mused that there might exist a “Gary Johnson Rule,” whereby debate sponsors were purposefully changing the inclusion criteria specifically to exclude Gov. Johnson, so as not to have to listen to his unique (but remarkably mainstream) political philosophy. Still, talk of a “Gary Johnson Rule” was only semi-serious conspiracy theorizing at first. Until, that is, Johnson started out-polling Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman (two of the media’s officially anointed “serious candidates”) in several surveys. When Bloomberg unveiled their criteria of a candidate having had to have appeared in three nationally televised debates in order to be included in the Bloomberg debate (how convenient, since Gov. Johnson had only squeaked in to two FOX debates), the existence of the “Gary Johnson Rule” became an evident reality. After Johnson blew the roof off the 9/22 debate with a stellar performance and the best one-liner of the entire election thus far, his name was inexplicably removed from virtually all polls, effectively ending his chances at being included in any future debates.

And where was the Republican National Committee, while all of this abuse was being directed at one of their most sterling exemplars of conservative principles? No where. When Johnson reached out to the RNC for assistance, a snide letter was returned claiming that Gov. Johnson’s inclusion in the debates would cause “chaos”. Where were the run-of-the-mill Republican voters during all of this? A few quietly conceded that Johnson was being treated unfairly, but there was no widespread outcry amongst mainstream Republicans to right this injustice against one of their own.

Why? Because Gov. Johnson insists on maintaining the old Republican conservatism of the first half of the twentieth century, rather than the “neo”-conservatism of the Nixon-through-Bush era. Johnson still believes, as President Coolidge, Sen. Robert Taft, and Barry Goldwater did, that a big government foreign policy is just as foolish as a big government domestic policy, and that we should have a robust military that is utilized very prudently. Johnson believes, as a majority of average Americans now do, that a federal prohibition on cannabis is just plain silly, and a complete waste of taxpayers’ hard-earned wealth. Furthermore, Johnson is brave enough to call out the emperor’s nakedness–pointing out that Medicare and Medicaid are bust and that benefits must be cut, and pointing out that the budget cannot be balanced without touching the Pentagon’s piggybank.

Johnson, at one point a proud, self-professed lifelong Republican, has been so abused by the Party he’d worked so hard on behalf of, that he can no longer even stomach having the letter (R) next to his name. Recent polling shows that his third party presence on the general election ballot not only ensures that the swing state of New Mexico cannot be won by a Republican, but also that his third party candidacy changes the outcome of a Romney-Obama contest decisively. Blame Johnson for being a spoiler if you like, but the GOP has no one to thank for this outcome but themselves.

As someone who was a paid staffer for Gov. Johnson’s campaign for seven months, and who had been a coordinator for his Our America PAC for several months prior to that, I am as angry as anyone about the shameful way the Party and the conservative movement have treated the Governor. I am sticking with the Republican Party, because I still believe the GOP is the most realistic vehicle for positive change in this country, but I can’t blame Gov. Johnson at all for the path he has chosen to embark upon. Let this political tragedy serve as a wake-up call to us.

Anyone who was elected a state Governor twice as a Republican, who served eight years as a Republican, and who delivered so magnificently on all the policies the Republican Party claims to support, should be guaranteed a place on the debate stage throughout the entire process (or, at the very least, the first several debates, in order to give them a chance to break out), not excluded based on meaningless surveys of those who were barely even paying attention yet. Let this also serve as a warning in the case of Rep. Paul. Love him or hate him, he is bringing people into the Republican Party like no other Republican politician is, and he has legitimate, serious ideas and a lengthy record of service in Congress. Even if you vote against Ron Paul, at least give the man some basic respect and treat him like you would any other Republican candidate you don’t happen to be supporting.

The Republican Party must not only stand for a free economy and a vision for spreading freedom around the world, it must also stand for a free election process. The Republican Party ought to be known for its unparalleled openness to fair competition, and tolerance for new ideas (or for new perspectives on old ideas). The GOP should be the one party where voters know their candidate will be given a fair shot at airing their message and their résumé. Republican voters must be willing to stand up to the progress-resistant GOP establishment, and to speak out loudly when a qualified candidate (even though they may not be one’s personal favorite candidate) is clearly being given the shaft. Until Republicans become willing to hear new ideas, and to call for and embrace a free and fair election process, we will continue to bleed our best and brightest, and we will continue to lose voting blocs, until we cease to exist as a political entity. Perhaps the loss of Gov. Johnson from our ranks can jolt us into turning around this establishmentarian culture infecting the GOP before it’s too late.

  11:47 am Gary Johnson, Presidential Debates  

December 20, 2011

Johnson to officially leave GOP, seek Libertarian party nodd.

Politico has the story on one of the worst-kept secrets in the Presidential race this month.

I wrote last week on the likelihood of a credible third party challenger running in 2012. Is Johnson that guy? Beyond a doubt, he’d be a step up in credibility for the LP over their last two nominees. But Johnson will need to make a hard cell to socially liberal fiscally conservative northeasterners and the libertarian-leaning conservatives of the mountain west, and make a play for the anti-war, pro-marijuana, disillusioned-with-Obama crowd. At this point, I’m skeptical that Johnson can do that. However, Republicans now need to worry that, if Ron Paul’s galvanized supporters become deeply dissatisfied with the process after he (probably) wins Iowa and (almost certainly) doesn’t get the nomination, they may bolt to Johnson. On the other hand, Obama needs to be concerned that a powerful Johnson candidacy will bleed away his support with the youth vote and up-scale creative class voters. As for Johnson, however, he has worries of his own; even in the New Hampshire primary–which is open to independents and Democrats–he only managed to pull two percent. NH is exactly the kind of state in which Johnson needs to do well, and up until this point, things have been less than encouraging. Whether this will turn out to be a novelty story which fades quickly or a minor game-changer remains to be seen.

  10:22 pm Gary Johnson  

December 19, 2011

PPP Poll Analysis. The Anatomy of a Collapse

PPP came out today with their latest Iowa Caucus poll. It shows a major collapse in Newt Gingrich’s poll numbers.

The full results were previously reported here on Race4. This article will only deal with the top-line numbers for the last two weeks.

First, here is the tabulated data for the past two weeks:

(PPP Iowa) (12/5) (12/13) (12/18)
Paul 18 21 23
Romney 16 16 20
Gingrich 27 22 14
Bachmann 13 11 10
Perry 9 9 10
Santorum 6 8 10
Other/Undec 7 7 7
Huntsman 4 5 4
Johnson 1 1 2

Here is the same data in graphical form:

Several things are obvious:

  1. Newt Gingrich’s lead has utterly collapsed. He has gone from a +9 lead over Ron Paul to being -9 in back of him — a minus 18 point swing in less than two weeks. Ouch!
  2. Ron Paul and Mitt Romney are moving up together with Paul currently in the lead.
  3. Rick Santorum is the only other candidate with any significant movement, going from six points to ten points in a two week span.

With only two weeks to go to the caucus and with Paul and Romney moving up in the polls, it will most likely be Paul and Romney on top. They are in the lead, and they have the most loyal supporters of any candidate. It’s a pretty safe bet that one or the other will take first, the other second. So the question becomes, who will take third place?

There is an old adage in national presidential politics. Three tickets out of Iowa. Two tickets out of New Hampshire. If Gingrich has another week or two like these past two, he will be very lucky to hang on to that third Iowan ticket. Santorum is having a strong rise and is within easy striking distance of our former Speaker of the House. More importantly, Rick’s momentum is positive. Newt’s is all negative. In fact, there are three candidates — Bachmann, Perry, AND Santorum — that are within an easy four points of Gingrich. And they are all actively campaigning in Iowa while Newt catches some R&R in the next week.

Newt is in serious danger of becoming just a footnote in Iowa. He could easily finish fifth, even sixth. If that happens, he will have a bear of a time trying to turn his campaign around.

November 27, 2011

Index of Republican Economic Plans

The thought came to me the other day that our Race42012 community might include some folks who want an easy way to find all of our candidates’ economic plans. Well, here are links to each of the major candidates’ plans:

Michele Bachmann

Herman Cain

Newt Gingrich

Jon Huntsman

Gary Johnson

Ron Paul

Rick Perry

Mitt Romney

Rick Santorum

So here they all are. As always, I urge folks to read and look at the plans of the candidates. Ill-informed votes don’t do anyone any good.

November 25, 2011

Why America needs a libertarian President

The first bubble I ever darkened on an American electoral ballot was that of George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney for President and Vice President in 2004.  Being an 18-year-old young conservative, the choice was clear: smaller, more honest government with Bush, versus what would inevitably be scandalous, big government with John Kerry.

Over the next four years, I would watch as the man for whom I had cast my first vote expanded the federal government to its largest size in history, ramped up government spending to its greatest volume in history, engaged in some of the most radical and opaque redistributions of wealth ever undertaken by an American president, and began effectively nationalizing vast swaths of the private economy.

The effects of these actions were a housing bust that never corrected, a recession that turned into a lumbering depression, a dimming and slowing American economy, a new culture of corporatism and dependency, and a social order that has begun unraveling into civil unrest.

Needless to say, I and many others who had initially supported George W. Bush have been seriously disillusioned.  No longer do I (and the majority of grassroots conservatives) merely take it for granted that the individual with the (R) adjacent to their name will necessarily be preferable to the individual with the (D) adjacent to their name.  And it wasn’t just George W. Bush being one bad apple—the entire executive branch, Senate, and Congress, were awash with Republicans and self-proclaimed conservatives.  We got government that was larger and more unsavory than anything Democrats had ever delivered us—unprecedented federal regulations on the education system, a huge expansion of Medicare entitlements, and a Great Society program for the entire Middle East under the guise of “protecting us from terrorism”.

I needn’t relate the terrifying numbers to you, which constitute the national debt, the tens of trillions more in unfunded liabilities, and the unfolding population shift that spells crisis for all the entitlement systems.  We have heard these numbers endlessly, and we are all well aware of them.

We are in a serious crisis, and the root of this crisis is a federal government that has stifled the ability of our once robust and well-oiled free market economy to provide for its participants.  The federal government has disoriented and impoverished the individuals comprising the free market slowly, bit by bit, over the course of many decades.  Each additional, little program has contributed a little bit more to the economic and fiscal disaster now upon us.  What the economy needs is not someone who will tinker with, and try to “fix,” all these thousands of poorly-functioning trinkets that, combined, are crushing us beneath their weight.  What the economy needs is someone who will simply throw all of this junk off of our backs entirely.

The charge typically thrown at those who advocate such a massive paring down of federal responsibilities is that we would be “throwing out” these things entirely.  Without federal student loans, we just won’t have college education anymore.  Without subsidies to the arts, we just won’t have any museums.  Without massive entitlement systems, we just won’t have health care in this country.  If the federal government doesn’t do it itself, it just won’t happen.

As conservatives, our immediate response should be, “Bull hockey.”  We know better than that.  We had all these things before the feds got involved in them, and their rate of improvement has either slowed or reversed since the feds got involved.

The biggest portion of federal weight on the private economy is of course not student loans and subsidies to the arts, but rather military spending and entitlement spending.  Once again, the charge of big government-supporters is that if the Pentagon isn’t expropriating and using the wealth we create, then we will be unsafe.  If Medicare and Social Security are not humming with a steady intake of taxpayers’ money, then retirees will waste away in the streets.  On so many other issues, we conservatives readily see and admit that government spending more money on a good or service does not equal a better good or service.  Shoveling more money into the Department of Education does not equal a better educational system, just as shoveling more money into the Department of Defense does not equal a better national defense.  We can and should see huge portions of the defense and entitlement budgets returned to private control.  For every dollar that we take away from a bureaucrat’s pocketbook and return to the individual who earned it, we see an increase in the prudence and ingenuity with which it is put to use.

We need a very, very big change—not only in the size of government, but in the entire attitude and culture that defines the citizenry’s relationship to government.  A President can only accomplish so much, which is why every President accomplishes far less than they promise.  This is why I feel it is so important to risk erring more on the side of small government and individual liberty.  A President who promises to eliminate three federal Cabinet departments will probably only eliminate one—and it will probably be eliminated by joining its staff and budget to other departments in such a way that no net decrease in spending occurs.  A President who promises to cut federal spending by 10% will probably only slow the increase in federal spending by about 10%.  If we really want to see even minor changes in the way the government operates, we need to elect someone who promises to cut federal spending by a full 40%, or someone who will submit a balanced budget to Congress in his or her first or second year in office.  There will be push-back from the legislative branch and other elements of the government, but we will be much farther on the road to a balanced federal budget and an economic recovery with a President who pushes the envelope a great deal and only makes half the progress they intend to, rather than a President who promises to push only a little bit past the status quo and ends up only maintaining the status quo (or worse).

Now is not the time for status quo moderation.  We cannot afford a “safe” (which is not truly safe anyway) presidential candidate that will merely get an “(R)” into the Oval Office without actually making a serious difference in federal spending and monetary policy.  It’s time to move past the red flag / blue flag game we so enjoy playing and actually get serious about changing this government from a huge, limitless one, to a limited, constitutionally constrained one.  Only a libertarian Republican can accomplish this.

If you want an America defined by personal responsibility, free market capitalism, and strong communities, then vote for Ron Paul or Gary Johnson in your state’s primary or caucus.  If you want an America that continues its slow, gravely slide into economic stagnation, uncontrolled government power, and civil strife, then vote for any of the other seven candidates with a great haircut, a perfectly-fitting suit, smooth oratory skills, and a milquetoast commitment to individual freedom and free markets.

November 20, 2011

Race42012 National/IA/NH Polling Averages – November 20, 2011

2012 Republican Presidential Nomination

Poll Average Pew Research FOX News CNN / ORC PPP
Date 11/9 – 11/15 11/9 – 11/14 11/13 – 11/15 11/11 – 11/13 11/10 – 11/13
Gingrich 22.25 16 23 22 28
Romney 21.75 23 22 24 18
Cain 19.00 22 15 14 25
Perry 8.25 8 7 12 6
Paul 7.25 8 8 8 5
Bachmann 5.50 5 6 6 5
Huntsman 2.50 1 3 3 3
Santorum 2.00 2 2 3 1
Johnson 0.75 0.5 1


2o12 Iowa Republican Caucus

Poll Average Rasmussen ISU / Gazette / KCRG The Polling Company Bloomberg / Selzer & Co.
Date 11/1 – 11/15 11/15 – 11/15 11/1 – 11/13 11/11 – 11/13 11/10 – 11/12
Cain 19.38 13 24.5 20 20
Gingrich 18.20 32 4.8 19 17
Romney 16.83 19 16.3 14 18
Paul 14.85 10 20.4 10 19
Bachmann 7.15 6 7.6 10 5
Perry 6.48 6 7.9 5 7
Santorum 4.18 5 4.7 4 3
Huntsman 1.25 2 0 2 1
Johnson 1.00 1


2012 New Hampshire Republican Primary

Poll Average NH Journal / Magellan Strategies Bloomberg / Selzer Rasmussen
Date 10/26 – 11/16 11/15 – 11/16 11/10 – 11/12 10/26 – 10/26
Romney 36.50 28.5 40 41
Gingrich 15.37 27.1 11 8
Paul 14.53 15.6 17 11
Cain 11.60 9.8 8 17
Huntsman 7.30 7.9 7 7
Perry 2.90 1.7 3 4
Bachmann 2.33 2 2 3
Santorum 1.65 1.3 1 1


New Hampshire – Not Displaying Romney

November 17, 2011


I said early on I didn’t want a safe choice for 2012. Well, now that unsafe choice has gotten to the point where I can no longer stand behind him. It’s not just the claims, it’s the fact that Cain has been unable to run a functional campaign. Cain’s draw was that he was an outsider who was going to surround himself with the right people. The way he’s run his campaign has shown that he’s unable or unwilling to surround himself with the right people. So, what of the other candidates? As the title of the post implies, I’m undecided and let me tell you why.

Bachmann – Michele is pretty good on fiscal issues, but comes across as a kook. Why? Well, when you imply 9-9-9 is the sign of the devil, you’ve pretty much made yourself written off.

Huntsman – Huntsman has a pretty solid platform. He has a solid tenure as Governor, but governed as far to the left as was possible in the state of Utah. Other problems? He keeps poking conservatives in the eye with specifically targeted comments (ex “I believe in science”) and the fact that he was running for President (or planning to) while serving as Ambassador to China is upsetting to me. I’ve discussed this at length before. This bugs me, seriously. I could vote for him in the general, but I won’t in the primary.

Johnson – Gary Johnson has an excellent record as governor. He founded a 1 man company that turned into the biggest construction firm in New Mexico, which is far more impressive than the experience of a lot of different candidates. That said, he’s pro-choice, he’s known as the “pot” candidate, and is unable to raise money. At all. Johnson can’t get the nomination because no one has given him the chance and he’s unable to raise any funds.

Mitt – Romney has an incredible ground game, is focused on Obama, a decent campaigner, and has the same type of business experience I loved in Herman Cain. The problem? Inconsistent on fiscal issues and Masscare. Both of which led me to not vote for him in 2008, and it’s part of the reason I’m still undecided on him now. Also, I frankly don’t know if I can trust him. He comes across as disingenuous to me and in the debates came across as condescending. Then again, Obama’s always condescending. So, I could still vote for him, but again – undecided.

Newt – Newt is a fascinating candidate. Great debater, former Speaker of the House who helped lead the country in the right direction (pun intended) on fiscal issues and led to serious national reform. But he’s on his third wife with a history of infidelity and he’s been inconsistent historically on fiscal issues. He’s a brain power is unmatched, but as I said – inconsistent on fiscal issues. So, I could vote for him – but still undecided.

Paul – I will not vote for Ron Paul in the primary. Ever. Even if he’s the only one left in the primary. In that case, I would write in George H.W. Bush.

Perry – Perry has some great experience. He was a pretty solid Governor of Texas. 40% of the jobs created in the US in the past 2 years were created in Texas – that’s hard to overlook. That said, Perry is a terrible debater which could be awful against Obama in the general election. Also, there’s the Texas DREAM Act, which as a strong opponent of it here in Maryland who supported the effort to put it on the ballot / overturn it – this is a problem. Deal breaker? No, but an issue for me. Again, I’m undecided on Perry in the primary – but of course would vote for him in the general election.

Santorum – I actually don’t mind Rick Santorum. But, he couldn’t win reelection in Pennsylvania. He comes across angry and agitated in every single debate. He is inconsistent on fiscal issues. And, frankly, his active campaigning for future turncoat Arlen Specter is disappointing. Honestly, Santorum has very little money and does not have a clear path to the nomination. Also, his name is a filthy expression online that will be tough to combat should he get the nomination.

So, I’m back to being undecided. If the primary were held today, I’m not sure who I’d vote for when I got into the voting booth. Maybe Newt. Maybe Rick Perry. Maybe Romney – I’m not sure. What I do know is that I’m waiting to be wowed by the candidates.


-Matt Newman is a conservative blogger from Maryland who blogs at Old Line ElephantPundit Leagueand Tweets far too often.


November 13, 2011

Race42012 National/IA/NH Polling Averages – November 13, 2011

2012 Republican Presidential Nomination

Poll Average CBS News McClatchy / Marist NBC / WSJ USA Today / Gallup
Date 11/2 – 11/10 11/6 – 11/10 11/8 – 11/10 11/2 – 11/5 11/2 – 11/6
Romney 21.75 15 23 28 21
Cain 20.75 18 17 27 21
Gingrich 14.75 15 19 13 12
Perry 9.25 8 8 10 11
Paul 8.25 5 10 10 8
Bachmann 4.00 4 5 4 3
Santorum 1.75 2 1 2 2
Huntsman 0.88 1 1 0.5 1


2012 Iowa Republican Caucus

Poll Average Insider Advantage We Ask America 2012 Newsmax / Insider Advantage
Date 11/3 – 11/8 11/8 – 11/8 11/6 – 11/6 11/3 – 11/3
Cain 25.10 23.3 22 30
Romney 16.23 18.7 15 15
Gingrich 14.83 14.5 18 12
Paul 10.47 11.4 11 9
Bachmann 8.13 5.4 11 8
Perry 6.27 8.8 4 6
Santorum 3.20 3.4 3
Huntsman 2.00 2 2


2012 New Hampshire Republican Primary

Poll Average Rasmussen CNN / ORC Newsmax / Insider Advantage
Date 10/16 – 10/26 10/26 – 10/26 10/20 – 10/25 10/16 – 10/16
Romney 39.93 41 40 38.8
Cain 18.07 17 13 24.2
Paul 11.37 11 12 11.1
Gingrich 6.07 8 5 5.2
Huntsman 5.83 7 6 4.5
Bachmann 3.47 3 2 5.4
Perry 3.27 4 4 1.8
Santorum 1.00 1 1


New Hampshire – Not Displaying Romney

November 7, 2011

Race42012 National/IA/NH Polling Averages – November 6, 2011

2012 Republican Presidential Nomination

Poll Average WaPo / ABC Rasmussen Quinnipiac FOX News
Date 10/23 – 11/3 10/31 – 11/3 11/2 – 11/2 10/25 – 10/31 10/23 – 10/25
Cain 25.75 23 26 30 24
Romney 22.50 24 23 23 20
Gingrich 12.00 12 14 10 12
Perry 9.75 13 8 8 10
Paul 7.75 8 7 7 9
Bachmann 3.25 4 2 4 3
Santorum 1.50 1 1 1 3
Huntsman 1.38 1 2 2 0.5


2012 Iowa Republican Caucus

Poll Average Newsmax / Insider Advantage Des Moines Register CNN / ORC
Date 10/20 – 11/3 11/3 – 11/3 10/23 – 10/26 10/20 – 10/25
Cain 24.67 30 23 21
Romney 20.33 15 22 24
Paul 11.00 9 12 12
Gingrich 9.67 12 7 10
Perry 7.67 6 7 10
Bachmann 7.33 8 8 6
Santorum 3.50 5 2
Huntsman 1.33 2 1 1


2012 New Hampshire Republican Primary

Poll Average Rasmussen CNN / ORC Newsmax / Insider Advantage
Date 10/16 – 10/26 10/26 – 10/26 10/20 – 10/25 10/16 – 10/16
Romney 39.93 41 40 38.8
Cain 18.07 17 13 24.2
Paul 11.37 11 12 11.1
Gingrich 6.07 8 5 5.2
Huntsman 5.83 7 6 4.5
Bachmann 3.47 3 2 5.4
Perry 3.27 4 4 1.8
Santorum 1.00 1 1


New Hampshire – Not Displaying Romney

November 1, 2011


We are now just 2 months away from the first votes being cast in the Iowa Caucuses and the race for 2012 has finally taken shape with it’s final field of candidates. Due to the shrinking field of contenders the Power Rankings will now shift to a Top 8 instead of Top 10.

Gov. Romney has solidified his status as the frontrunner and likely nominee for the GOP, so much so that the Obama Administration, still a year out from the election, is already launching a negative campaign against the former Massachusetts governor.  Romeny’s slow and steady approach has paid off as other candidates have risen and fallen around him over the past several months.  Romney’s destruction of Perry in the debates and Cain’s disturbing sexual harassment allegations have helped put Romney in his strongest position of the cycle. The question now is will Romney be tempted to go for the Iowa knockout or maintain his New Hampshire first strategy?

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s decline has continued, despite his attempts to appear more energized in the last presidential debate.  Perry’s team has gone through a makeover with a number of national campaign veterans brought in to take the reigns from Perry’s faltering Texas staff.  The biggest acquisition was former Bush campaign manager Joe Allbaugh.  At this point Perry still has the resources to be a top contender, but his absurd New Hampshire speech and flirtation with birtherism still underscore the fact that Joe Allbaugh’s new job won’t be easy.

Georgia Businessman Herman Cain was riding high in the polls for most of the month before his campaign was rocked by a sexual harassment scandal.  The incident stemming from his time as the head of the National Restaurant Association has damaged Cain, not because of the allegations themselves which still seem to lack a smoking gun, but rather due to the incredible disorganization of his campaign’s response.  This week has highlighted why many continue to take Perry more seriously than Cain, as his operation seems to be amateurish at best and incompetent at worst.

Texas Congressman Ron Paul remains the only other contender raising serious money and building a legitimate organization.  Though it is still hard to see how Paul expands on his base, his large small donor list and impressive money bombs will make him a factor in the early states, and may surprise and confound the conventional wisdom.

The rest of the field continues to lack a number of qualities to be taken seriously, either due to money, organization, polls, or policy heft.  Rep. Michele Bachmann’s slide has hastened, as her team continues to hemorrhage staff and suffer dreadful process stories about her disorganization in the process. Former Speaker Newt Gingrich is enjoying a bump in the polls due to his debate performances, but he lacks any serious organization in the early states and has seen his campaign fall into massive debt. Sen. Santorum’s fundraising has been abysmal, yet he has still managed to put together a respectable Iowa team on a shoestring budget.  Jon Huntsman has moved his campaign to New Hampshire in a desperate final salvo to save his sinking campaign which currently resides at 0% in a number of polls. Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson’s campaign was so unserious and disorganized that he nearly forgot to file his paperwork to qualify for the ballot in New Hampshire.

On to the rankings:

1. Mitt Romney
2. Rick Perry
3. Herman Cain
4. Ron Paul
5. Newt Gingrich
6. Rick Santorum
7. Michele Bachmann
8. Jon Huntsman

VP Watch: 1. Marco Rubio 2. Bob McDonnell 3. Rob Portman 4. Chris Christie 5. John Thune

October 30, 2011

Race42012 National/IA/NH Polling Averages – October 30, 2011

2012 Republican Presidential Nomination

Poll Average FOX News CBS / NYT AP / GFK CNN / ORC
Date 10/13 – 10/25 10/23 – 10/25 10/19 – 10/24 10/13 – 10/17 10/14 – 10/16
Cain 25.00 24 25 26 25
Romney 24.25 20 21 30 26
Perry 10.50 10 6 13 13
Gingrich 9.25 12 10 7 8
Paul 8.50 9 8 8 9
Bachmann 3.75 3 2 4 6
Santorum 2.00 3 1 2 2
Huntsman 1.13 0.5 1 2 1


2012 Iowa Republican Caucus

Poll Average Des Moines Register CNN / ORC Rasmussen University of Iowa Hawkeye
Date 10/12 – 10/26 10/23 – 10/26 10/20 – 10/25 10/19 – 10/19 10/12 – 10/19
Cain 27.25 23 21 28 37
Romney 23.50 22 24 21 27
Paul 11.38 12 12 10 11.5
Gingrich 8.43 7 10 9 7.7
Perry 7.48 7 10 7 5.9
Bachmann 6.48 8 6 8 3.9
Santorum 3.53 5 2 4 3.1
Huntsman 1.30 1 1 2 1.2


2012 New Hampshire Republican Primary

Poll Average Rasmussen CNN / ORC Newsmax / Insider Advantage
Date 10/12 – 10/25 10/26 – 10/26 10/20 – 10/25 10/16 – 10/16
Romney 39.93 41 40 38.8
Cain 18.07 17 13 24.2
Paul 11.37 11 12 11.1
Gingrich 6.07 8 5 5.2
Huntsman 5.83 7 6 4.5
Bachmann 3.47 3 2 5.4
Perry 3.27 4 4 1.8
Santorum 1.00 1 1


New Hampshire – Not Displaying Romney

October 27, 2011

Johnson Will Be on the Ballot in New Hampshire

As a Johnson for President campaign staffer, I can confirm that Gov. Johnson will be filing for the New Hampshire primary in person, tomorrow morning.  Contrary to what some news sources are saying, the deadline is not until tomorrow afternoon.  Poor reporting, unfortunately, snowballed out of control on this one.

  7:44 pm Gary Johnson, New Hampshire Primary  

Johnson Likely Not to File in New Hampshire

MSNBC is reporting that Gary Johnson is likely not going to make the dealine to file for President in New Hampshire. The deadline was 4:30 PM today. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Longshot presidential candidate Gary Johnson, a former two-term governor of New Mexico, likely will not be on the ballot for the New Hampshire Republican primary, all but ending any chance he could have had at the nomination.

Despite a significant amount of time spent in the state, including biking hundreds of miles with his fiancée and son to draw attention to his campaign — and even renting a home in the state, the staunch libertarian missed the deadline to file by mail or representative, which was today at 4:30 pm ET. Johnson is campaigning in Arizona through the weekend and, according to a spokesman, has no plans to be in New Hampshire tomorrow.

The missed deadline comes as a surprise not just to political watchers, but also the Johnson campaign itself.

“The last I heard it was going to be filed today by a representative,” said Joe Hunter, Johnson’s communications director, sounding shocked, in a telephone interview when told the news by NBC. Asked if Johnson will fly to New Hampshire tomorrow, the final day of the filing period, Hunter said no.

Johnson missing the deadline is also surprising, considering he has already filed for the South Carolina primary, with its $35,000 fee, NBC’s Ali Weinberg reports. New Hampshire’s is just $1,000.

This isn’t the first embarrassing misstep by the Johnson campaign in the Granite State. On his most recent campaign swing here, he scheduled a town hall in Concord. But no one except members of the media showed. His campaign blamed that on planned robo-calls not being executed in time.

EDIT: Our own Josiah Schmidt confirms that Johnson will be on the ballot in New Hampshire, so it appears MSNBC did not get their facts straight about a Republican. Does that surprise anyone?

  6:43 pm Gary Johnson, New Hampshire Primary  

October 23, 2011

Race42012 National/IA/NH Polling Averages – October 23, 2011

2012 Republican Presidential Nomination

Poll Average AP / GFK CNN / ORC Rasmussen
Date 10/12 – 10/17 10/13 – 10/17 10/14 – 10/16 10/12 – 10/12
Romney 28.33 30 26 29
Cain 26.67 26 25 29
Perry 11.67 13 13 9
Gingrich 8.33 7 8 10
Paul 7.33 8 9 5
Bachmann 4.67 4 6 4
Santorum 2.00 2 2 2
Huntsman 1.67 2 1 2


2012 Iowa Republican Caucus

Poll Average Rasmussen University of Iowa Hawkeye Newsmax / Insider Advantage
Date 10/12 – 10/19 10/19 – 10/19 10/12 – 10/19 10/16 – 10/16
Cain 30.47 28 37 26.4
Romney 22.03 21 27 18.1
Paul 10.37 10 11.5 9.6
Gingrich 9.60 9 7.7 12.1
Bachmann 7.63 8 3.9 11
Perry 6.23 7 5.9 5.8
Santorum 3.55 4 3.1
Huntsman 1.37 2 1.2 0.9


2012 New Hampshire Republican Primary

Poll Average Newsmax / Insider Advantage Magellan Strategies NBC / Marist Harvard / St. Anselm Mason – Dixon
Date 10/2 – 10/16 10/16 – 10/16 10/12 – 10/13 10/3 – 10/5 10/2 – 10/6 10/2 – 10/6
Romney 39.96 38.8 41 43 38 39
Cain 18.24 24.2 20 12 20 15
Paul 10.82 11.1 10 14 13 6
Gingrich 5.64 5.2 6 3 5 9
Huntsman 4.70 4.5 6 5 4 4
Perry 4.16 1.8 2 7 4 6
Bachmann 3.68 5.4 4 2 3 4
Santorum 1.25 2 1 1 1
Johnson 0.88 1 1 1 0.5


New Hampshire – Not Displaying Romney

10/19/2011 10/17/2011 10/13/2011
Poll Average AP / GFK CNN / ORC Rasmussen
Date 10/6 – 10/17 10/13 – 10/17 10/14 – 10/16 10/12 – 10/12
Romney 28.33 30 26 29
Cain 26.67 26 25 29
Perry 11.67 13 13 9
Gingrich 8.33 7 8 10
Paul 7.33 8 9 5
Bachmann 4.67 4 6 4
Santorum 2.00 2 2 2
Huntsman 1.67 2 1 2

October 16, 2011

Race42012 National/IA/NH Polling Averages – October 16, 2011

2012 Republican Presidential Nomination

Poll Average Rasmussen PPP NBC / WSJ Reuters / Ipsos WaPo / Bloomberg Gallup Newsmax / Insider Advantage
Date 9/22 – 10/10 10/12 – 10/12 10/7 – 10/10 10/6 – 10/10 10/6 – 10/10 10/6 – 10/9 10/3 – 10/7 10/4 – 10/5
Romney 23.57 29 22 23 23 24 20 24
Cain 23.57 29 30 27 19 16 18 26
Perry 13.00 9 14 16 10 13 15 14
Gingrich 8.36 10 15 8 7 3 7 8.5
Paul 7.87 5 5 11 13 6 8 7.1
Bachmann 4.53 4 5 5 5 4 5 3.7
Huntsman 1.83 2 2 3 2 0 2
Santorum 1.60 2 1 1 1 3



2012 Iowa Republican Caucus

Poll Average PPP NBC / Marist American Research Group
Date 9/22 – 10/10 10/7 – 10/10 10/3 – 10/5 9/22 – 9/27
Romney 22.00 22 23 21
Cain 17.33 30 16 6
Paul 11.33 10 12 12
Bachmann 11.00 8 10 15
Perry 11.00 9 10 14
Gingrich 6.67 8 4 8
Santorum 3.00 5 2 2
Huntsman 1.00 1 1 1
Johnson 0.83 1 1 0.5



2012 New Hampshire Republican Primary

Poll Average Magellan Strategies NBC / Marist Harvard / St. Anselm
Date 9/22 – 10/10 10/12 – 10/13 10/3 – 10/5 10/2 – 10/6
Romney 40.67 41 43 38
Cain 17.33 20 12 20
Paul 12.33 10 14 13
Huntsman 5.00 6 5 4
Gingrich 4.67 6 3 5
Perry 4.33 2 7 4
Bachmann 3.00 4 2 3
Santorum 1.33 2 1 1
Johnson 1.00 1 1 1

New Hampshire – Not Displaying Romney

October 12, 2011

My Post-Economics Debate Thoughts

Last night Bloomberg and the Washington Post held a debate only on economics. I watched the entire debate and decided to put together my thoughts. First, the debate overall was meh. The questions ranged from the okay to asinine. Many of them were so incredibly biased to sound more like Democratic talking points than serious questions about the economy. When our candidates are asked, “Do you think we should arrest people on Wall Street?” we need better moderators. Personally, I’d prefer we had a debate with moderators like Hugh Hewitt, Erick Erickson, and Kavon Nikrad. Why? They’re conservatives who know about the issues asking questions to Republicans about the GOP primary. I think the three of them as moderators would be a solid choice, but fat chance that happening. So, I digress.

To make this easier, I’ll go through each candidate individually:

Michele Bachmann – Bachmann had a so-so performance. She went from a great answer at the start, to insinuating that 9-9-9 was the mark of the beast. It was not funny and fell flat. She’s trying to regain footing going after Cain, but then again – everyone was going after Cain. Bottom line was that her performance will not provide her with any momentum. She didn’t stand out, she was just kind of there. Which is disappointing – cause her first debate performance was stand out.

Herman Cain – One of my followers on Twitter last night dubbed the debate “The 9-9-9 Debate.” He’s right. Much of the time was spent on the pro’s and con’s of 9-9-9. While Cain made some good points, he needs to provide us with his numbers. If he says it’s revenue neutral, the media will want him to prove it. He says he had a study done – just provide it to the public. Simple as that. Overall, I think Can did fine. Considering he was under attack for a good chunk of the debate, Cain handled himself well. He had some good answers to some awful questions. He was a little too on point / schtick-y at times, but all-in-all this debate doesn’t do substantial damage to his campaign. That said – his answer regarding TARP was not good. He needed to just say, “I was wrong on TARP…” and move on. I don’t think Cain’s ready to admit that he was wrong on even considering supporting TARP in the first place. Him and Romney are in the same boat on this question.

Newt Gingrich – Newt is an excellent debater. Period. This debate was no different. For some reason, though, Newt can not get any traction in polling. Excellent debate performances are not enough for Newt. He’s also great at calling out the moderators for their bias. Newt would be an excellent VP choice for any candidate on the stage, or an excellent choice for a high level cabinet / advisory role. Newt just does not seem to ever have momentum in his favor.

Jon Huntsman – Besides a few awkward to awful jokes, Huntsman was not bad. He’s focusing more on his record as Governor of Utah, which is a pretty good record. He did not stand out, which Huntsman needs to start doing if he wants to gain any traction. That said – if we’re including Jon Huntsman in this debate, we need to include Gary Johnson. They poll the same nationally in most national polls, if Huntsman’s included so should Johnson.

Ron Paul – Ron Paul is a big ball of talking points about auditing the Fed and loving the Constitution. He does not need specifics to make his supporters happy, he just needs to keep up the rhetoric. Ron Paul will not be the nominee.

Rick Perry – Perry had a better debate performance than last time. That said, it still was not a great performance. This debate did nothing to slow the recent drop in support Perry has seen in recent polling. In fact, it does nothing to really help Perry. Perry had a few solid answers and did a bit better at focusing nationally as opposed to on how awesome Texas is. Perry did promise an economic and environmental plan coming soon – I look forward to seeing that.

Mitt Romney – Romney did well. He seemed more relaxed in this debate setting; which is odd, considering everyone was ready to pounce on him and Cain throughout the debate. He handled the circular firing squad from his fellow competitors well. Romney continues to defend Masscare and TARP, which will not go over well with the more conservative voters in the primary. He, like Cain, just needs to say that TARP was a bad idea and move on. But, they won’t. I know that many Republicans wanted to be supportive of our President when he proposed TARP, but Bush was wrong – and we need to be ready to say that now. Again, I think Romney did well.

Rick Santorum – Santorum had some decent answers, but to me he just came across as too aggressive and angry. I felt the same way after the last debate. It’s not endearing and his comment under his breath that “You won’t be President forever…” following Cain’s defense of 9-9-9 was petty and childish.

Winners: Mitt Romney, Herman Cain – Both solidified their position as frontrunners in the eyes of their fellow competitors. They were treated as such. Bloomberg TV – How many of you watched Bloomberg TV before this debate? Me either. Newt Gingrich – He clearly was the best debater in the bunch, but he just can’t generate any momentum.

Losers: Rick Perry – He didn’t win this debate and he needed to, to help stave some of the loss of support.

Who do you think won that debate?


-Matt Newman is a conservative blogger from Maryland who blogs at Old Line Elephant / Pundit League and Tweets far too often.

October 9, 2011

Race42012 Polling Averages and Line Chart – October 9, 2011

2012 Republican Presidential Nomination

Poll Average Newsmax / Insider Advantage ABC / WaPo CBS News Quinnipiac Pew FOX News
Date 9/22 – 10/5 10/4 – 10/5 9/29 – 10/2 9/28 – 10/2 9/27 – 10/3 9/22 – 10/4 9/25 – 9/27
Romney 22.17 24 25 17 22 22 23
Cain 17.83 26 17 17 17 13 17
Perry 15.50 14 17 12 14 17 19
Gingrich 8.75 8.5 9 8 8 8 11
Paul 7.85 7.1 9 7 6 12 6
Bachmann 4.45 3.7 7 4 3 6 3
Santorum 2.60 2 3 3 2 3
Huntsman 1.80 1 2 1 1 4
Johnson 0.50 0.5

October 7, 2011

Return of the “Gary Johnson Rule”

At the time the phrase “the Gary Johnson rule” was coined by Slate columnist Dave Weigel, it was only semi-serious.  Now, it’s becoming blatantly apparent that there is in fact such a rule.  The rule is: Gatekeepers of the old media must find a way to just exclude Gov. Johnson, while including the less anti-establishment, but often lower-polling, Amb. Huntsman and Sen. Santorum.

The rule first came about in the run-up to the June 13th CNN debate, when CNN insisted that–seven months before the first votes were to be cast (and hence, about six and a half months before most voters start actually paying attention)–a candidate must earn an average of 2.0% in three national polls during a certain time period (because, at seven months out, it really matters whether a candidate is at 1.99% versus 2.01%).  Amb. Huntsman squeaked in, while Gov. Johnson clocked in at 2.0% exactly with a 1% Quinnipiac showing, a 2% CNN showing, and a 3% Gallup showing.  But alas, according to the more detailed numbers in the cross tabs, Gov. Johnson fell just short.  Maybe next time, right?

As the September 7th MSNBC debate approached, debate organizers must have been frantic.  Gov. Johnson was tying or outpolling Huntsman and Santorum in virtually every poll in which all three names were included.  How can they possibly justify including the latters while excluding the former?  Ah–by stipulating that the candidate must have achieved one, single 4% showing in any poll in the last year.  By a stroke of statistical luck, Huntsman had met that mark just once, in a single outlier poll a few months prior.  Gov. Johnson?  His highest showing was 3%.  Too bad, Governor.  Just short.

FOX News, having been the only network with a modicum of fairness and having been the only network to set reasonable inclusion criteria for this early leg of the race, welcomed Gov. Johnson onto the stage in the most recent, September 22nd debate.  Gov. Johnson gave a solid performance, delivered the most memorable single line of the election season thus far, and clearly scared the pants off of Bloomberg, who was to be the host of the next debate in October.

Gary Johnson supporters and sympathizers have waited on pins and needles since the FOX debate to see if Bloomberg would finally accept Gov. Johnson as a legitimate and qualified contender, or whether they would resurrect the “Gary Johnson rule.”  With today’s declaration of Bloomberg’s October 11th debate inclusion criteria, it seems we have our answer.

According to the Washington Post, to be included in Bloomberg’s upcoming debate, a candidate must have “participated in at least three nationally televised Republican presidential debates during the 2012 election cycle.”

How convenient (and rather cute, if I may say so).

Tell Bloomberg how you feel about it here, and let October 18th’s debate host CNN hear your thoughts also.

September 30, 2011

Gov. Johnson Issues Statement on the Killing of Al-Awlaki

I realize Gov. Johnson’s stature in the polls might not warrant a frontpage post over something so minor, but I feel that Gov. Johnson’s message here is far too important to not be heard.  The way in which US citizen and New Mexico native Anwar al-Awlaki was executed is very, very disturbing.

September 30, 2011, Santa Fe, NM — Responding to the killing in Yemen of AnWar al-Awlaki an American citizen, presidential candidate Gary Johnson released a statement this morning pointing out that the attack may be the first time a U.S. citizen has been specifically targeted for death in the “War on Terror”, and raises questions about American citizens’ rights to due process under the law.

Johnson said, “Let there be no doubt.  We have to be vigilant, we have to protect the U.S. and U. S. citizens from terrorist attacks, and we have to aggressively pursue those who would do us harm.  At the same time we cannot allow the War on Terror to diminish our steadfast adherence to the notion of due process for American citizens.  The protections under the Constitution for those accused of crimes do not just apply to people we like — they apply to everyone, including a terrorist like al-Awlaki.  It is a question of due process for American citizens.”

”I understand that laws may allow these decisions by the President and other officials in regard to al-Awlaki, and I do not in any way want to diminish the skill and dedication of our CIA and military.  But, at the same time, it must not be overlooked — and thoughtfully examined — that our government targeted a U.S. citizen for death, and carried out that sentence on foreign soil.  To my knowledge, that is a first, and a precedent that raises serious questions.

“If we allow our fervor to eliminate terrorist threats to cause us to cut corners with the Constitution and the fundamental rights of American citizens, whether it be invasions of privacy or the killing of someone born on U.S. soil, I could argue that the terrorists will have ultimately won.

“The world is very likely a better place without al-Awlaki in it, but let us not neglect to ask the tough questions this attack raises and about the laws that allowed it to be carried out.”

  8:12 pm Foreign Affairs, Gary Johnson  

September 25, 2011

Race42012 Polling Averages and Line Chart – September 25, 2011

2012 Republican Presidential Nomination

Poll Average Rasmussen USA Today / Gallup McClatchy / Marist CBS / NYT Bloomberg PPP CNN
Date 9/8 – 9/19 9/19 – 9/19 9/15 – 9/18 9/13 – 9/14 9/10 – 9/15 9/9 – 9/12 9/8 – 9/11 9/9 – 9/11
Perry 28.43 28 31 30 23 26 31 30
Romney 20.57 24 24 22 16 22 18 18
Paul 8.86 6 13 7 5 8 11 12
Bachmann 7.71 8 5 12 7 9 9 4
Gingrich 6.57 9 5 6 7 4 10 5
Cain 5.57 7 5 5 5 4 8 5
Santorum 2.00 3 2 2 1 2 2 2
Huntsman 1.43 2 1 1 1 1 2 2

How far will Perry fall in the polls, following this most recent debate?  How high will Gingrich, Cain, Romney, and Johnson rise (I assume we’ll be seeing his name return to some of the polls now)?  Did Bachmann, Huntsman, and Paul help themselves or hurt themselves on Thursday?  How much fall-out will there be from Santorum failing to denounce the booing of Army soldier Stephen Hill during the debate when he had the chance (and how much do people believe Santorum that apparently everyone in the auditorium heard the booing except him?–must’ve been some weird acoustics)?  Where would Chris Christie start out in the polls, if he were to enter (and could an overly harsh remark, or a blip in his health, send his poll numbers plummeting at a moment’s notice)?

September 23, 2011

Some Thoughts On Presidency 5 So Far

Well, it’s been quite an eventful two days so far at the Florida Presidency 5 convention. So, without further ado, here are some observations from the last two days:

1.) Quite a few of the people I’ve talked to in the last two days remain undecided about whom to support. It just goes to underscore how fluid the race is that at this stage of the race, there are still a large number of undecided activists.

2.) Yesterday before the debate, I saw tons of Rick Perry stickers. Today, they were much fewer. Not a single person I talked to thought he had a good debate last night. The Texas Governor is putting a lot of money into this event, easily more than all the other candidates. Anything short of a win for him would be a PR disaster.

3.) The biggest surprise so far has been the momentum building for Herman Cain. His well-received debate performance and a fiery speech today at the CPAC gathering have energized a lot of the undecided delegates. I would expect Cain to perform very impressively at tomorrow’s straw poll.

4.) Everybody still loves Newt Gingrich. The former Speaker is highly respected and people respond to his debating style. Almost no one I’ve talked to has anything bad to say about him. Yet, I saw a grand total of 1 person with a “Newt 2012” button. People like the Speaker, they respect him, but they aren’t voting for him.

5.) Rick Santorum is now a hot commodity. His strong debate last night has, like Herman Cain’s, brought some energy to the Pennsylvanian’s effort. I don’t think he’ll do as well as Cain, but with all the uncommitted delegates, who knows?

6.) Michele Bachmann seems to have fallen off the face of the earth. I haven’t seen anyone who was wearing a Bachmann shirt or button. I’d expect her to do poorly in the poll. Jon Huntsman’s campaign is around, but there’s certainly no groundswell of support for the Utahan. Although, at his CPAC speech, he received polite applause, which isn’t bad considering who it is.

7.) Mitt Romney has a funny way of not competing. His campaign has a booth, they’ve passed out signs, have people wearing stickers and buttons and there are Romney volunteers out there.

8.) Gary Johnson had the line of the night, no doubt about it; everyone in the crowd was laughing at it. People now know he exists, which for a candidate like that, is very good. He received a good response to his speech by the Ron Paul crowd, but they reserved their biggest cheers not surprisingly, for the Texas Congressman. Paul’s campaign is out in force, and his people are working hard for a good showing.

9.) As for the debate. First, the audience was huge, at least 5000 people in the hall. Second, any booing you heard was amplified by the hall itself. The floors are concrete and the layout of the hall made sound travel very well. The booing about the soldier came from 3 or 4 people, but the hall made it sound much greater than it was. Finally, if you ever get a chance to go to a debate, do it. That was my 2nd and they are an exciting experience each time.

So, that’s my report for now. Tomorrow is the straw poll. Delegates from every county in Florida will listen to speeches and vote by county like an old-style political convention. Should be a lot of fun, and I’ll have a Presidency 5 wrap-up post either tomorrow night or Sunday.

The Winner of Last Night’s Debate?

Is this the winner of last night’s debate?

As of this morning, behold the most popular search term in the nation:

FOX News’s post-debate online survey seems to show a correlation also.

  9:35 am Gary Johnson, Presidential Debates  

September 18, 2011

Race42012 Polling Averages and Line Chart – September 18, 2011

2012 Republican Presidential Nomination

Poll Average CBS / NYT Bloomberg PPP CNN ABC / WaPo NBC / WSJ Politico / GWU Battleground FOX News
Date 8/27 – 9/12 9/10 – 9/15 9/9 – 9/12 9/8 – 9/11 9/9 – 9/11 8/29 – 9/1 8/27 – 8/31 8/28 – 8/31 8/29 – 8/31
Perry 29.88 23 26 31 30 29 38 36 26
Romney 19.38 16 22 18 18 23 23 17 18
Paul 8.75 5 8 11 12 8 9 10 7
Bachmann 7.13 7 9 9 4 6 8 10 4
Gingrich 5.38 7 4 10 5 4 5 5 3
Cain 4.75 5 4 8 5 3 5 4 4
Santorum 2.50 1 2 2 2 2 3 5 3
Huntsman 1.38 1 1 2 2 1 2 1 1
Johnson 1.00 1
McCotter 0.50 0.5

It’s probably the case that Rick Perry has peaked.  How hard and fast his star will fall depends on how well he maintains himself from here on out.  By staying aloof but substantive, Perry could manage to level off a few points ahead of Romney.  It might be wise for Perry, at this point, to completely ignore his Republican competitors and launch an all-out offensive against Obama, trying to convey himself as the best general election choice.  I’ve been surprised at how quickly Romney went into attack mode against Perry, and kind of disappointed at the weakness of some of Romney’s anti-Perry arguments (Criticizing the “Social Security is a Ponzi scheme” comment in this Tea Party day and age?  Really?  Does Romney not know that most of the conservative base these days agrees with Perry on this?).

In any case, I think it would also be wisest for Romney to ignore Perry, focus on Obama, and just wait for Perry to trip up (Perry’s debate performances have, after all, been horribly painful to watch–I can almost see the gears in his brain struggling to turn during those long, awkward pauses).  History favors a Romney nomination anyway.

Bachmann seems to be leveling, after most of the star dust from her first debate performance was shaken loose by several weeks of attacks by Democrats and startled Republican competitors.  Gingrich’s “be everybody’s friend but the media’s” strategy also seems to be paying a little bit of dividend, as his slide into single digits has halted, and he has seen a slight uptick in support over the past couple weeks.

Meanwhile, Huntsman’s failure to gain polling traction is becoming so worrisome that some news sources have pointed out he’s actually risking missing the cut for some of the upcoming debates.  Johnson, on the other hand, after being inexplicably removed from CNN’s polls (right after tying with Cain and doubling Santorum/Huntsman’s support) can look forward to being added to PPP’s polling to replace Sarah Palin, for whom the window to enter has all but passed.

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