December 16, 2011

Post Debate Thoughts

Like most everyone on this site, I spent last night watching the GOP’s final debate before the Iowa Caucus.  Here are some of my own quick observations:

1: For the most part, the  frontrunners were all impressive.

Romney was exceptionally strong the entire evening.  Gingrich was fine when not under attack, but struggled at times in response to Freddie Mac.  Ron Paul had a good debate (though not all would agree with what he said at times).

2. Rick Santorum did well.

I learned not to put too much faith in Frank Luntz’ observations during the 2007-08 election, and last night was no different.  I found Rick Santorum to be very impressive last night, which is personally somewhat surprising  because I have never exactly been a member of his fan club.  When Santorum decided to run this election cycle, I rolled my eyes and figured that he’d be nothing more than your token pro-lifer who talks about nothing other than abortion.  I was wrong.  He’s been a pretty good candidate in these debates, and I have grown to like him.

3. Michele Bachmann did not.

One candidate who I have just about had enough of is Bachmann. She’s turned into nothing more than a grenade launcher.  I haven’t learned a thing about her because all she has done is talk about other candidates.  Everyone’s record deserves to be examined, but going by her last debates, I wouldn’t even know if she had been in office because she never talks about herself or her own accomplishments, just what’s wrong with Perry, Newt, Paul, etc…

4. I’m also sick of Hannity.

Sean Hannity sucks up to every candidate except Paul, who he asks redundant questions that have been asked every day for months.  I may not agree with Paul on a number of issues, but last night’s post debate interview was cringe-worthy because of Hannity’s arrogance.

December 15, 2011

Today’s Rasmussen’s Iowa Poll Analyzed.

Rasmussen has released a poll today that shows that Newt Gingrich’s lead in Iowa has collapsed. Assuming for the time being that this collapse is for real, and that this poll is not an outlier, the movement shown in the poll is quite interesting.

Here is a breakdown of the movement the poll shows in the past month:

(11/15) (12/13) Change
Romney 19 23 +4
Gingrich 32 20 -12
Paul 10 18 +8
Perry 6 10 +4
Bachmann 6 9 +3
Santorum 5 6 +1
Huntsman 2 5 +3


Three things stick out from these numbers:

  1. Everyone but Gingrich went up.
  2. Gingrich’s loss was in double digits.
  3. Paul’s increased the most. He doubled Romney’s and Perry’s increase.

I have to say that Ron Paul now has a legitimate shot at taking Iowa. He is only five points back from the leader. And he nearly doubled his support from 10 to 18 percent. THAT is impressive.

Perry is once more in double digits. He has been working extremely hard in Iowa and has been rewarded with an increase of support of four percentage points.

The other guy who went up four points is Romney. He has returned to his steady-state low to middle twenties plateau. His supporters call it his floor. His detractors call it his ceiling. Whatever it is, his steady level of support in this extremely volatile year has been nothing short of remarkable.

The Iowa Caucuses are going to take place during the heart of a Midwestern winter. Under those circumstances, ask yourselves’ this question. If you were a candidate, which scenario would you prefer:

  1. Supporters who have been rock-solid in your favor for months and months, even years.
  2. Supporters who have essentially settled upon you in the last week or two primarily because they aren’t entirely happy with the other guy.

I know which one I would prefer if I were running. And if the results of this poll remain accurate (a very, very big “if” this year), I would think that any ABM candidate is going to have to have support in the high twenties to out-caucus Mitt Romney.

The joker in this deck, of course, is Ron Paul. His supporters are notoriously loyal and active. He might just pull off the Iowan Upset. We shall see.

One thing is for certain. The two and a half weeks before the Iowa caucuses are not going to be boring.

Weird Scenarios 2: The Guy Who Was Going Nowhere Goes All the Way

Continuing on yesterday’s theme of how this craziest of election cycles could get crazier still, let’s look at how Jon Huntsman could end up as the Republican nominee.

Nate Silver beat me to this one in Tuesday’s NY Times. I agree with him that this is not a high probability, but that it’s a bit higher than it was a few weeks ago.

Huntsman has actually begun to show some signs of life – though 5% is not all that lively. In the previous eighty or so national polls in which he was included, Huntsman had never hit 5% until the NBC/WSJ poll released Tuesday. And then, amazingly, it happened again in yesterday’s Reuters/Ipsos poll. I go by the rule that once is probably an accident, twice can be a coincidence, but the third is a trend. Show me another 5% and I may believe.

Similarly, in the first twenty-four New Hampshire polls listed at RCP, Huntsman hit 10% once. Now he’s been in double digits in four of the last six, including getting into nose-bleed territory at 13% in the latest Suffolk.

Okay, so you’re still not convinced that Huntsman, after months of total futility, is about to break out? Neither am I. But he does have a path to victory, and it’s not all that complicated. Unlikely, but not complicated.

It basically consists of a variation on yesterday’s Weird Scenario about a Late Entrant, with Huntsman filling in for the Late Entrant.

In this scenario, Romney and Gingrich rip each other to shreds in Iowa (as they seem intent on doing). Let’s say Gingrich ekes out a close win over Paul with Romney in a virtual tie with Perry and Bachmann, but the order in Iowa doesn’t matter too much, as long as it’s reasonably close. The important point is that they throw lots of garbage, and then come to New Hampshire bloodied and muddied and continuing to shout insults at each other, while the stolid Yankees hold their noses at the stench entering their state. Huntsman agrees with them that it is all very sad what has happened to the party and tsk-tsks about dirty campaigning. The disgusted voters give Huntsman a narrow win over Romney with Gingrich and Paul a little ways back.

At this point, we invoke the Late Entrant scenario, but with the party establishment turning to Huntsman as the only way to stop Gingrich and Romney from tearing the party apart on the road to Tampa, instead of trying to talk a Bobby Jindal or Mitch Daniels into doing the job. Huntsman has an advantage over a Late Entrant in that he has presumably established some sort of shadow organization in some of the early states (at least meeting the entry deadlines), and he could more quickly ramp up a campaign.

Huntsman would of course do poorly in South Carolina and probably wouldn’t contest it. We’ll say Gingrich wins there, although he might be bleeding so badly at this point that Paul or even Perry takes it, making a real muddle of things. For Huntsman, everything would turn on Florida, and Florida would turn on Jeb Bush. If that pillar of the establishment campaigns by Huntsman’s side, the race would be pretty close to over by the time the polls close in Florida.

Paul would go on, of course, and perhaps the ghosts of Gingrich and Romney would make it through Super Tuesday, but wins in New Hampshire and Florida, solid establishment support, and crippled opponents would make Huntsman (dare we say it?) inevitable.

by @ 11:39 am. Filed under Jon Huntsman

December 12, 2011

Race42012’s Gingrich/Huntsman Lincoln – Douglas Debate Open Forum Going Live at 3:30pm EST

Race 4 20012’s Gingrich/Huntsman Lincoln – Douglas Debate open forum will go live at 3:30pm EST. The debate will be streamed live online here. It will also rebroadcast on TV at 8pm EST on CSPAN.

by @ 1:20 pm. Filed under Jon Huntsman, Newt Gingrich, Presidential Debates

December 8, 2011

December 7, 2011

December 6, 2011

The Trump Debate That Wasn’t

Gingrich may get another one-on-one debate after all…

Ron Paul, Jon Huntsman, and now Mitt Romney have all declined invitations to participate in a Trump-moderated debate on December 27. Romney, unlike Paul and Huntsman who blasted the idea publicly, called Donald Trump and declined the invitation directly. It should’t have come as a surprise — Romney famously declined the original YouTube debate in 2008 because he felt a snowman asking questions was beneath the office of the presidency. It’s difficult to see Donald Trump as moderator being any better. Heh.

The only two candidates who have agreed to participate in the debate, in fact, are Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich. Bachmann and Perry are both undecided, but Bachmann is leaning against participating. Bachmann points out Trump wouldn’t be an impartial moderator since he admitted he is already leaning toward a candidate to endorse, and Perry is remaining quiet about the whole thing — but one has to imagine he is fighting to do as few debates as possible.

This debate was never going to mean much anyway – taking place right after Christmas on some obscure channel nobody gets, and a severe credibility issue because of who the moderator is. It’s a debate in Iowa, and now with both Ron Paul and Mitt Romney – two of the three frontrunners in the state – bowing out, it means even less.

Which means you should circle this Saturday and next Thursday on your calendars, because those are the final two debates before Iowa votes. If Gingrich escapes unscathed from both of them, he could very well be our nominee.

December 3, 2011

Notes From Iowa

Just 30 days to go…

In addition to the latest Des Moines Register poll being released tonight at 7:00 central time (which will already be at least somewhat out of date, unfortunately, with Cain’s exit this afternoon), there are some other happenings in the Hawkeye State to keep an eye on as well.

The Sioux City Journal will announce online which Republican candidate they are endorsing at 6:00 pm tonight. This is one of the major endorsements the candidates seek in Iowa, perhaps behind only the Des Moines Register as far as newspaper endorsements in the state. In 2008, they endorsed Romney; however, back then Romney was the frontrunner in the state and had lavished a lot of time and money on Iowa. This time around, they’ll probably go with someone who has spent more time in Iowa – or at least a candidate who acts like winning Iowa is important to them.

Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich is playing the expectations game in the Hawkeye State, telling a group of folks there that he’ll probably finish “in the top two or three” in the first-in-the-nation caucuses. At this point, that’s reminiscent of Tim Pawlenty saying he needed to finish in the top six at Ames to continue his campaign.

We’ve talked before here at Race about how the Iowa caucuses take place all the way down on the precinct level, and how there are more than 1,700 precincts across the state. In addition to having as many precinct captains as humanly possible, well organized campaigns will also have county chairmen in each of the 99 Iowa counties. The Gingrich campaign admitted yesterday that since they’re getting such a late start in the state, they won’t even have all their county chairmen in place by the caucuses, let alone enough precinct captains.

Two pro-gun rights groups have also begun running robocalls against Newt Gingrich in Iowa, blasting him for supporting the Brady Bill and the Lautenberg Law, as well as for calling for a mandated thumb print scan for all gun owners. The robocalls are being paid for by the groups Iowa Gun Owners and the National Association for Gun Rights.

And finally, there are only three debates remaining before the Iowa caucuses and they are all taking place in Iowa. Next up on the calendar is an ABC News / Des Moines Register debate one week from today — and the stage will be pretty empty compared to what we’re used to. Obviously, Herman Cain won’t be there, but Jon Huntsman will most likely not be either, barring some stroke of miraculous luck in the next two days. The requirement for being invited to this debate is that a candidate be polling at 5% in either a Des Moines Register poll or a recognized national poll before December 5th. Huntsman has achieved neither milestone, and so has just two days to pray that a national poll comes out showing him at that 5% mark or he will be excluded.

Since Huntsman has also declined to take part in the Trump-moderated Iowa debate, the next time we see him on a debate stage will probably be January 7, 2012 in New Hampshire.

by @ 3:33 pm. Filed under Endorsements, Iowa Watch, Jon Huntsman, Newt Gingrich, Presidential Debates

“The Donald” to Moderate GOP Iowa Debate

MSNBC has the story:

Real estate mogul Donald Trump will host a debate for Republican presidential candidates in Iowa just days before the state’s Jan. 3 caucuses.

Trump spokesman Michael Cohen confirmed the details of a New York Times report to NBC News: Trump, the star of the reality show “The Apprentice,” will moderate a debate on Dec. 27 in Des Moines, Iowa. The debate is being sponsored by the conservative magazine Newsmax.

Cohen told NBC he had no list of confirmed candidates, and wasn’t able to name the venue yet. He also stressed that it is not a “Donald Trump Debate,” just that Trump would be moderating.

Read the full story here.

Meanwhile, the Paul Campaign has made their thoughts clear on this development:

In a campaign statement released Saturday, Paul’s campaign called the debate a distraction from the real issues of the campaign.

“The selection of a reality television personality to host a presidential debate that voters nationwide will be watching is beneath the office of the Presidency and flies in the face of that office’s history and dignity,” Jesse Benton, Ron Paul’s national campaign chairman, said in a statement.

He added, “Mr. Trump’s participation as moderator will distract from questions and answers concerning important issues such as the national economy, crushing federal government debt, the role of the federal government, foreign policy, and the like. To be sure, Mr. Trump’s participation will contribute to an unwanted circus-like atmosphere.”

Benton cited Trump’s flirtation with running for president himself as a factor in the decision not to participate in the debate.

“Mr. Trump’s selection is also wildly inappropriate because of his record of toying with the serious decision of whether to compete for our nation’s highest office, a decision he appeared to make frivolously,” Benton said.

Jon Huntsman has confirmed that he will not accept an invitation to participate as well.

by @ 12:14 pm. Filed under Donald Trump, Iowa Caucuses, Jon Huntsman, Presidential Debates

December 2, 2011

Huntsman to Debate Gingrich

Following in the footsteps of Newt Gingrich’s Lincoln-Douglas-style debate with Herman Cain, Jon Huntsman has accepted the opportunity to sit down with the newest frontrunner for the Republican nomination:

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was serious about those Lincoln-Douglas-style debates. Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman will participate in one of the long, free-form forums with Gingrich in New Hampshire this month.

This makes perfect strategic sense for Huntsman; with his poll numbers slowly climbing but still far too low in New Hampshire, he really has nowhere to go but up. He performs much better in long-form situations, as opposed to soundbite-friendly formats. The debate will take place in New Hampshire, the state quite literally at the center of Huntsman’s campaign. And while Gingrich garners widespread praise for his debating skills, he also, as discussed here, has a propensity to say politically risky things when speaking at length.

Frontrunners often seek to reduce the number of debates in campaigns, to minimize their risk of damaging mistakes. For this reason, although Gingrich surely thinks very highly of his oratorical abilities, it surprises me that he would agree to this kind of event with a (currently) lower-tier candidate like Huntsman.

by @ 10:54 pm. Filed under 2012 Misc., Jon Huntsman, Newt Gingrich, Presidential Debates, Republican Party

December 1, 2011

Please Kill Me…

…rather than force me to listen to this ever again:


by @ 12:09 pm. Filed under Jon Huntsman

New Huntsman Web Ad: Mittstant Replay

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7kog1CjzcY[/youtube]

by @ 11:07 am. Filed under Campaign Advertisements, Jon Huntsman

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.

The Union Leader Picks Gingrich

The most influential newspaper in New Hampshire, the Manchester Union Leader has endorsed Newt Gingrich:

“We are in critical need of the innovative, forward-looking strategy and positive leadership that Gingrich has shown he is capable of providing,” wrote Joseph W. McQuaid, publisher of the Manchester Union Leader. “A lot of candidates say they’re going to improve Washington. Newt Gingrich has actually done that, and in this race he offers the best shot of doing it again.”

This is a boost for Newt in the state and a blow to Mitt Romney. The same newspaper endorsed John McCain last cycle, and that helped the Senator from Arizona take the state’s influential primary.

We shall see how this plays out. The Union Leader does not have the best record of picking the winners, but they did last time against Mitt.

The question I have is does this drive home the final nail on Huntsman’s coffin? Jon has been putting everything he’s had in New Hampshire but his poll numbers there have only cracked double digits once — and that was way back in September. With Romney and Gingrich taking up all the oxygen and now this major endorsement going to Gingrich, is there any reason for Huntsman to continue?

 

by @ 8:59 am. Filed under Jon Huntsman, Mitt Romney, New Hampshire Primary, Newt Gingrich

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

Undecided

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 14, 2011

Super PAC Ad Suggests Team Huntsman Ramping Up Efforts

Our Destiny PAC, the Jon Huntsman super PAC, will start airing the following ad in New Hampshire tomorrow:
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWMmPu0OKiU[/youtube]
The indispensable Chris Cillizza adds:

Our Destiny PAC has yet to file a report detailing either its donors or financial activities with the Federal Election Commission. It was officially formed in late August and boasts Fred Davis, the ad maker behind Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) 2008 presidential campaign, as its main strategist.

A source close to the ad buy suggested it would be “substantial” but would not discuss specifics. One GOP media buyer said the initial expenditure was $132,000 in the Manchester (N.H.) medi market but the group has also bought time in Boston and Burling, Vermont — meaning it is likely in excess of $500,000.

At first glance, this seems like yet another attack piece from the Huntsman faction. However, once you move past the initial frames, things start to get more positive, and Huntsman’s major achievements flash across the screen. For a candidate who most voters don’t even know, he’ll need more of this if he hopes to gain any measurable traction in the Granite State. After all, as many here and elsewhere have noted, people rarely, if ever, simply cast a vote for someone out of protest against another candidate; rather, they need at least some reason to vote for someone.

Despite his initial struggles, Huntsman doesn’t appear ready to throw in the towel. Perhaps he believes President Obama will win re-election, prompting the party to seek a more moderate standard-bearer in 2016 and thus giving him plenty of reason to continue positioning himself as the heir to John McCain. Maybe he wants to remain relevant to increase his chances of landing a Veep or Secretary of State spot. Maybe he has simply become a victim of delusion.

Whatever the case, pondering Huntsman’s situation reminded me of an intriguing piece I read a couple months ago, from everybody’s favorite Republican, David Frum. At the time, Frum surmised that Huntsman’s speech to the Florida CPAC conference may portend the Ambassador running to Mitt’s right in an end-around attempt to become the Tea Party-backed Romney alternative.

Similar whispers have popped up more recently. And with the unexpected (to say the least) volatility of the Tea Party vote throughout this nomination process, it would behoove us to at least avoid dismissing the idea out of hand.

After all, it’s not too hard to imagine; notwithstanding his confrontational rhetoric toward the party base, Huntsman does sport arguably the strongest records of any candidate on some key Republican issues, such as life, taxes, and guns. And if the primary polling has taught us anything, it’s that the Tea Party support remains incredibly fluid and receptive to rhetoric and tone (to that point, none other than Erick Erickson has already started expressing openness toward J-Hunt). Therefore, Huntsman could conceivably charge after the base by emphasizing the highlights of his resume as he introduces himself to voters (and especially New Hampshirites).

He could also take an even bigger risk and attempt to ideologically position himself as a fusion of a conservative populist (a niche that no candidate has truly seized) and a McCain-esque, Independent-friendly maverick. It sounds inherently contradictory and would certainly prove difficult, but it’s actually not impossible, especially in this current political environment.

First and foremost, a candidate with this strategy would have to rail against concentrated power in virtually all forms – big government, big corporations, an adventurous foreign policy, etc. They would have to describe themselves as pro-market, not simply pro-business. Huntsman has already taken a step in this direction with his tax proposal, as it would remove the myriad deductions and credits in the tax code that distort markets, pick winners and losers, and place power in the hands of a select few instead of empowering individuals with more equitable opportunity to pursue their happiness.

A candidate like Huntsman could also thread the aforementioned ideological needle by advocating means desirable to Independents to achieve ends favored by Conservatives, and vice versa. As a means to reduce the deficit (desired by Conservatives), he could call for combining or eliminating federal programs and departments, which he would describe with Independent-friendly adjectives like “wasteful”, “excessive”, and “duplicative”, in addition to describing his intentions to reduce America’s military footprint in economic and cost-benefit terms. On the issue of entitlements (hot-button for Conservatives), he could call for his own version of a bipartisan panel directed to devise a plan to “strengthen” entitlements and make them more “sustainable” (money for Independents, who also love bipartisanship). As a means to create jobs (what Independents want first and foremost), he could trumpet his tax plan (embraced by Conservatives). On the social front, he could align himself with the polling trends we’ve seen emerge by playing up his pro-life record, especially in the primary, and then re-affirming his support for same-sex civil unions in a general election. And throughout the endeavor, he could remind voters of the “courage” he has shown in “standing up to the entrenched interests in all areas of government” and “addressing tough issues [such as the environment in Utah] by bringing all sides together and taking innovative approaches”.

These represent only a few examples that would become available to the Ambassador (or does he prefer Governor?) if he adopted this strategy. Of course, in the end, he would face two enormous – and potentially insurmountable – obstacles: his service in the Obama administration (the scarlet “O”, if you will) and his even-mannered disposition (too vanilla for the Republican electorate, to the less charitable). However, I would argue again that the polling thus far in this race has showed us that nearly any candidate can pique the interest of the Tea Party with the right wording and emotion.

Critics may also charge that this approach would require Huntsman to change past positions. Now, I don’t purport to know enough about his background to categorically discount this claim, but I would counter that with so few people knowing much about him, he could avoid the flip-flopper perception surprisingly easily by making it a point to define his record on his own terms.

It remains a remote possibility that Huntsman will win the nomination. However, a possibility still exists, should he choose an appropriate strategy and, of course, fall in the good graces of Lady Luck

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

Intrade Musings — Is Gingrich the Last Great Hope of the ABR Crowd?

I missed the debate last night. I was obligated to be somewhere else. In such situations, I’ve found that Intrade to be as good as any other source for scoring a debate. There is very little spin. Personal biases and prejudices are balanced out. All that is left is the desire to make a buck on what you really, honestly think is going to happen.

Here are how things currently stand on Intrade as to who will win the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination:

Candidate % Chance
Romney 70.7
Gingrich 13.2
Perry 4.1
Cain 3.5
Paul 3.3
Huntsman 3.1
All others combined 2.1

“All others combined” includes everyone who can’t even crack 1%.

Here it is in graphical form:

Here is the pie chart I made just five weeks ago dated October 6th. (The year typo was in the original):

Contrasting the two charts we can see that Romney isn’t going away on Intrade. In fact, he is gathering steam. He is almost up to three out of every four Intrade traders betting that he is going to be the nominee. The only real difference from a month ago is Perry was the then great hope of the not-Romney crowd, followed by Cain. Gingrich didn’t even make the top five overall.

Now Gingrich is the only not-Romney that is scoring in double digits. Perry, Cain, Paul, and Huntsman are all polling within 1% of each other. The four of them are closely clustered around an average score of 3.5.

(more…)

November 12, 2011

November 9, 2011

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 3, 2011

November 1, 2011

POWER RANKINGS: October

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 31, 2011

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 28, 2011

October 26, 2011

October 25, 2011

Shocker: Jon Huntsman Does Not Care for Rick Perry’s Economic Proposal

Hard to believe that a candidate would fail to be impressed with the economic plan of one of his competitors, I know…

Unlike my plan to clean out the tax code entirely, Governor Perry takes the easy way out by leaving in place a broken system. Because his plan is optional it will maintain our outdated system of deductions and credits. I have offered a pro-growth plan that will actually reform our tax code for the 21st Century by eliminating loopholes, deductions, and corporate welfare entirely.

by @ 4:23 pm. Filed under Jon Huntsman, Rick Perry

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