November 19, 2014

RNC 2018 Straw Poll Lists 33 Possible Candidates

  11:32 am

The Republican National Committee recently began an on-line straw poll asking its members which candidate they would like to see. The respondents are to circle any three. The list includes:

  1. New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte
  2. Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour
  3. Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton
  4. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush
  5. Businessman Herman Cain
  6. Dr. Ben Carson
  7. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie
  8. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz
  9. Former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels
  10. Former CEO Carly Fiona
  11. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich
  12. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley
  13. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee
  14. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal
  15. Ohio Gov. John Kasich
  16. New York Rep. Peter King
  17. New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez
  18. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin
  19. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul
  20. Former Rep. Ron Paul
  21. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty
  22. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence
  23. Texas Gov. Rick Perry
  24. Ohio Sen. Rob Portman
  25. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
  26. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio
  27. Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan
  28. Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval
  29. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum
  30. South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott
  31. South Dakota Sen. John Thune
  32. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker
  33. Former Florida Rep. Allen West

Write-in votes are allowed.

The results have not been published anywhere that I’ve seen, and I don’t particularly wish to sign up just so they can get my email address to spam me. However, if you are inclined to participate, here is the link.


July 31, 2012

VP RUMOR MILL: Romney to Announce VP Aug 10; Major Multi-State Bus Tour Planned for Rollout

  3:43 pm

Political Ticker reveals some details about an upcoming multi-state bus tour which are being leaked out by the Romney camp — and quotes the source of the leak as saying, “Sounds like VP week…”

On August 11, Romney (and his VP?) will be campaigning in the three largest media markets in Virginia – metro D.C., Richmond, and Norfolk. August 12 takes him through the media markets in North Carolina. August 13 finds him doing a Florida swing through Jacksonville, Orlando, and Miami. And tour dates are being added in Ohio – and potentially other states – for the end of the tour.

It sure sounds like a VP rollout to me, as well, and the timing really makes perfect sense. It gives Mitt and his VP two weeks to campaign together, building momentum up to the RNC on August 27. The Romney campaign, for what it’s worth, have confirmed that the leaked schedule is accurate, but are saying only that Romney will be discussing his vision for the economy during the bus tour.


July 16, 2012

Thune’s Name Floated as Possible V.P.

  7:22 am

The Hill has the story:

Thune Rising: GOP senator on Romney veepstakes and his future

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) has reemerged as a viable vice presidential candidate who would check many of the boxes Mitt Romney is looking for in a running mate.

He’s an experienced legislator who has earned respect from both parties in Congress, and if he didn’t end up in a Romney cabinet many think he could one day become the Republican leader in the Senate.

In an interview with The Hill, Thune acknowledged he’s been to Boston to meet Romney’s senior advisers and has met Beth Myers, who is leading the search for the vice presidential nominee.

Thune will no longer say whether he is being vetted, a telling distinction from a month ago when he freely admitted to The Hill that no one from Romney’s vetting team had contacted him.

Talk of Thune’s national political ambitions had receded to the point of nearly vanishing until June, when he was invited along with other potential running mates to an exclusive retreat the Romney campaign hosted with its biggest donors in Park City, Utah.

That was the same event, if you recall, that sparked all the recent Condelezza Rice talk. So it’s only fair that Thune gets his moment in the sun, too.


December 14, 2011

Weird Scenario 1: The Late Entrant

  12:46 pm

The turmoil of the Republican nomination process, and the unhappiness of a large part of the party with all the choices, has led to recent speculation that we might have a brokered convention and/or the nominee might be someone not in the current field.

In the interests of full disclosure, I must note that I am not an unbiased observer on this point, since I count myself among those who look at the current field with disappointment (well, okay, ‘disappointment’ is a weak word – ‘revulsion’ is more like it).

Sean Trende assessed the possibility of a brokered convention, and rated the chances as low, which I think is fair. But that there is any realistic chance is remarkable – it has been sixty years since either party’s convention has gone past the first ballot.

So what are the factors that could cause a brokered convention this time?

  • The two leading candidates are deeply flawed in the eyes of many in the party
  • A substantial portion of the delegates will be selected by proportional methods
  • There is a strong third candidate (Ron Paul) who has the resources and the will to stay in to the bitter end

The factor that, added to the above, may mean a late entrant has a chance to emerge as the nominee from a brokered convention is that the nominating process is back-loaded.

  • Several large states are going late, with winner-take-all delegations
  • A significant number of states have relatively late filing deadlines

Let’s examine that last point first, because it brings into question the idea that it is now impossible to enter the race. Let’s say that someone decided to enter after Iowa and New Hampshire (it would, of course, have to be someone who has the name and the establishment support to credibly do so). The following fifteen states have filing deadlines three weeks or more after New Hampshire votes, giving time (maybe) to get on the ballot:

  • Arkansas (3/1 deadline) – 36 delegates
  • California (3/23) – 172
  • Connecticut (3/2) – 28
  • Delaware (2/24) – 17
  • Indiana (2/10) – 46
  • Kentucky (1/31) – 45
  • Montana (3/12) – 26
  • Nebraska (3/7) – 35
  • New Jersey (4/2) – 50
  • New Mexico (3/16) – 23
  • New York (2/9) – 95
  • Oregon (3/6) – 29
  • Pennsylvania (2/14) – 72
  • South Dakota (3/27) – 28
  • Utah (3/15) – 40

These states have a total of 742 delegates and most vote in April-June, giving a new candidate time to campaign. The strategy would probably be to concentrate on New York and Pennsylvania, which vote in April. Victories there would lead to May-June wins in other states (see the chart on Sean’s article for voting dates). A candidate who captured a big piece of the 742 delegates could prevent anyone else from getting the nomination and would go to the convention with a strong argument as to why he (to randomly select a pronoun) should be the compromise choice.

Let’s say that when the dust settles in June, the scoreboard looks something like this:

  • 800 Gingrich
  • 800 Romney
  • 400 Late Entrant
  • 200 Paul
  • 88 Everybody Else

In this scenario, Romney and Gingrich have so soiled each other that they are unacceptable to too much of the party and are too wounded to battle Obama. After a nasty campaign, it’s unlikely that 350 Romney delegates could be persuaded to switch to Gingrich, or vice versa. That leaves Late Entrant and Paul. We know it won’t be Paul, so …

As the headline should make clear, this is not a prediction. I’m not even saying it is at all likely. But I do think it is just barely possible, and its slim chances seem to be growing.

This has been the strangest campaign I’ve seen in my five decades of following politics. There’s no reason to think it can’t get weirder still.

One final point: Can we put a name to the Late Entrant? The obvious choices are Daniels, Christie, Ryan, and Jindal. My pick, of course, would be Daniels, but unless the Women’s Caucus of the Daniels household has had an epiphany, that isn’t happening. Christie has endorsed Romney and this scenario involves Romney staying in all the way (I don’t see a brokered convention if he’s knocked out early), so eliminate Christie.

Jindal would be possible if Perry is eliminated after Iowa or New Hampshire. Ryan has not endorsed, so he could still get in. John Thune? Suggestions are welcomed.

Here are a few other assessments of the chances for a brokered convention or a Late Entrant: Brian Bolduc in National Review, Rhodes Cook at the Crystal Ball, Nate Silver at NYT.


May 16, 2011

SNL: Republican Ad

  10:42 am

Since this video automatically starts, click below to view it.



March 17, 2011


  9:01 am

As the political March Madness continues, we are seeing the race begin to take shape.

Mitt Romney remains atop the field with another solid month.  Romney caught a big break with Sen. John Thune’s decision to stay out of the race.  Thune was well positioned to be a credible establishment alternative to Romney and his departure leaves one less obstacle in the former governor’s path.  With Thune out, Romney’s chances have only improved.  His odds were also boosted by Justice Roger Vinson’s ruling against President Obama’s healthcare reform law, reinforcing Romney’s argument in defense of his own Massachusetts health legislation.  However, Romney’s chances could be damaged by the emerging organization of Ambassador Jon Huntsman, who could infringe on Romney’s LDS donor base and cut into his New Hampshire strength.

Tim Pawlenty has probably benefited the most from Sen. Thune’s departure from consideration and from Gov. Mitch Daniels’ continued uncertainty.  With them out of the way, Pawlenty is fast becoming the top alternative to Gov. Romney among the establishment while also building a comparable organization.  Gov. Pawlenty has also seen his outreach to the Tea Party begin to pay off as his numbers among their ranks steadily improve.  Pawlenty’s positioning as a compromise candidate to unite diverging factions will continue to improve, and will skyrocket if Gov. Daniels decides to pass on the race.  His recent staff additions continue to show his strength, even if the very early polling hasn’t caught up.

Mike Huckabee continues to produce solid poll numbers, but little else.  Most non-partisan polls continue to show Gov. Huckabee locked into ties with Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin or both. His recent book tour was relatively unimpressive when compared to those of Palin, Romney, and even Pawlenty.  The tour was largely overshadowed by a series of gaffes that dominated the headlines. For a candidate with the second highest name recognition (only Palin rates higher), his organization and fundraising remain alarmingly poor.  Huckabee’s position has also been hurt by several key staffers joining the organizations of his potential rivals.  Adding to his burden are the campaigns of two powerhouse GOP southerners, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour.  Both men have the means and the money to cut significantly into Huckabee’s southern base, as well as the establishments of Iowa and South Carolina.  Gingrich and Barbour will join Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum, who have been working hard cultivating the supporters Huckabee depends on, as well as the emerging Michele Bachmann effort, which is showing surprising early strength.  The best news for Gov. Huckabee is that few candidates are moving towards announcements anytime soon.  The longer the start of the campaign is delayed, the longer it will help him to recover from these disadvantages.

Sarah Palin has seen her nosedive in the polls continue, and more and more Republicans are showing the willingness to criticize her chances openly.  It was originally thought that a late start would work for Palin due to her rockstar status, but her diminishing numbers have to be a major concern.  The longer she waits, the more cemented those views of her become.  It seems now more then ever that she will pass on a run, and perhaps the increased interest from Rep. Bachmann is an indication that Palin has already decided to pass on the race. However, Palin will be heading to both India and Israel, signs that she may still be serious about a run.

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich announced that he will begin exploring a candidacy for president, but the botched roll-out has already raised some flags about Gingrich’s undisciplined past.  Former Sen. Rick Santorum continues to build a surprisingly strong staff while maintaining the busiest early state schedule in the field.  Rep. Ron Paul continues to hint towards a run on the heels of his big PAC and 501(c)4 haul.  Horizon PAC, the campaign-in-waiting of Jon Huntsman, has brought on members of John McCain’s New Hampshire team. High level GOP operatives in New Hampshire have said that Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels has been making calls to potential supporters in the state. Billionaire real-estate developer Donald Trump seems to be seriously looking at a run, something he’s contemplated a few times before, though some believe it to be nothing more than a publicity stunt.  Former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer formed an exploratory committee to run for president and appears to be basing his campaign around campaign finance reform.

On to the rankings:

  1. Mitt Romney
  2. Tim Pawlenty
  3. Mike Huckabee
  4. Newt Gingrich
  5. Sarah Palin
  6. Haley Barbour
  7. Mitch Daniels
  8. Michele Bachmann
  9. Jon Huntsman Jr.
  10. Rick Santorum

Honorable Mention: Ron Paul, Rudy Giuliani, Herman Cain, Donald Trump, Gary Johnson, John Bolton, Buddy Roemer


March 7, 2011

Whom do Pacific Northwest GOP Activists like? Mitch Daniels

  12:00 am

The state Republican parties of Oregon and Washington state have had their annual meetings. During that time, they followed the time-honored tradition of holding a Presidential Straw Poll among the party’s most active activists. As the Oregonian Magazine says, “Straw polls of party activists usually have little impact on the presidential nominating process, but they do offer a sense of who is exciting interest among those likely to get involved in campaigns.” So take the results with a grain of salt.

Here they are:

(Oregon 3-6)
Daniels 29%
Romney 23%
Palin 18%
Huckabee 10%
Gingrich 6%
Paul 5%
Pawlenty 4%
Barbour 3%
Trump 2%
Obama 0%
(Washington 1/31)
Daniels 31%
Romney 14%
Pawlenty 13%
Christie 9%
Thune 8%
Jindal 5%
Ryan 3%
Gingrich 3%
DeMint 3%
Palin 3%
Barbour 2%
Huckabee 2%
Pence 1%
Huntsman 1%
Bachmann 1%
Paul 1%



March 4, 2011

Poll Analysis: PPP’s 2012 GOP Hopefuls

  10:35 pm

It’s time for another installment in our series. Last week’s report was skipped due to PPP only releasing one poll all week. We now have enough new data to make a worthwhile report.

First the Horse race table:

(Horse Race) Del Barbour Daniels Gringrich Huckabee Palin Paul Pawlenty Romney Other/Und
IA (1/11) 28 1 13 30 15 6 4 18 10
NV (1/10) 28 1 18 14 19 7 1 31 8
PA (1/10) 72 2 15 26 21 5 6 16 9
TX (1/19) 152 3 17 25 21 9 5 10 8
NJ (1/25) 50 3 15 18 14 8 4 18 19
xNC (1/28) 55 3 18 27 16 6 7 11 10
WV (1/28) 31 2 17 28 23 6 5 10 8
SC (2/1) 50 3 13 26 18 7 4 20 8
NE (2/3) 35 1 18 21 19 8 4 15 12
AZ (2/4) 57 2 15 19 15 5 4 23 16
SD (2/4) 28 1 10 11 12 5 2 12 10
CA (2/7) 172 2 18 15 16 10 3 22 12
NM (2/10) 23 3 15 18 22 6 7 16 12
CO (2/11) 36 3 12 16 16 9 7 19 16
TN (2/16) 58 3 11 31 17 10 3 11 14
NC (2/28) 55 2 18 24 16 6 5 18 11
RI (3/2) 19 4 13 15 10 5 5 39 9
VA (3/3) 49 4 7 14 20 16 8 4 16 11
Weighted Ave 2.6 15.5 21.3 17.5 7.8 4.2 17.4 11.3


  • The 1/28 North Carolina entry is now obsolete. It has been superseded by the 2/28 poll.
  • Thune has announced that he is not running, so his data has been removed.  Apparently PPP has substituted Haley Barbour for Senator Thune.
  • No Weighted Average has been computed for Barbour. There are too few data points. When we have at least four, I will include it.

Here is the table of the movement in the Weighted Average:

(Weighted Ave) Barbour Daniels Gringrich Huckabee Palin Paul Pawlenty Romney Other/Und
(2/5/11) 2.4 16.0 23.8 18.6 7.0 4.7 15.6 10.5
(2/12/11 2.2 16.2 21.3 17.8 7.6 4.2 16.9 10.8
(2/19/11) 2.3 15.7 21.7 17.7 7.8 4.3 16.6 11.3
(3/05/11) 2.6 15.5 21.3 17.5 7.8 4.2 17.4 11.3

Note that I have shifted to 1/10th accuracy. Rounding to the nearest point hid the movement too much.

Here is the above data in graphical form for those in double digits:

Everyone has dropped except Romney, both since the last data point and since last month.

Now for the vs. Obama numbers. Here are the numbers in tabular form:

(vs. Obama) EV Gingrich Huckabee Palin Romney
PA (1/6) 20 -10 -3 -15 -4
NV (1/7) 6 -11 -10 -13 -1
NJ (1/11) 14 -17 -17 -30 -15
IA (1/12) 6 -13 -4 -16 -6
TX (1/20) 38 5 16 1 7
xNC (1/25) 15 -6 -4 -9 -3
WV (1/27) 5 10 18 4 13
NE (1/31) 5 8 13 1 12
SD (2/1) 3 -2 6 -8 6
SC (2/2) 9 -1 6 -6 7
AZ (2/2) 11 0 4 -8 6
CA (2/3) 55 -23 -15 -31 -20
CO (2/8) 9 -14 -9 -19 -6
NM (2/9) 5 -21 -19 -29 -16
TN (2/17) 11 3 12 0 7
NC (2/23) 15 -4 1 -10 -3
RI (2/28) 4 -33 -25 -41 -17
VA (3/2) 13 -12 -8 -19 -6
WI (3/3) 10 -12 -7 -19 -10
Weighted Ave. -9.2 -2.6 -15.4 -5.1

Again, note the exclusion of the obsolete 1/25 poll of North Carolina.

Here is the history of the Weighted Average is tabular form.

Gingrich Huckabee Palin Romney
(2/5/11) -3.1 3.3 -8.6 1.2
(2/12/11) -9.5 -2.8 -15.7 -5.3
(2/19/11) -8.6 -2.0 -14.5 -4.6
(2/26/11) -8.5 -1.6 -14.6 -4.6
(3/4/11) -9.2 -2.6 -15.4 -5.1

And here is the above data in Graphical form:

Not much relative movement between the hopefuls.  Any difference is really more statistical noise than anything else.

And finally, here is the latest Electoral Vote data:

(EV) Gingrich Huckabee Palin Romney
PA (1/6) -20 -20 -20 -20
NV (1/7) -6 -6 -6 -6
NJ (1/11) -14 -14 -14 -14
IA (1/12) -6 -6 -6 -6
TX (1/20) 38 38 38 38
xNC (1/25) -15 -15 -15 -15
WV (1/27) 5 5 5 5
NE (1/31) 5 5 5 5
SD (2/1) -3 3 -3 3
SC (2/2) -9 9 -9 9
AZ (2/2) -11 11 -11 11
CA (2/3) -55 -55 -55 -55
CO (2/8) -9 -9 -9 -9
NM (2/9) -5 -5 -5 -5
TN (2/17) 11 11 -11 11
NC (2/23) -15 15 -15 -15
RI (2/28) -4 -4 -4 -4
VA (3/2) -13 -13 -13 -13
WI (3/3) -10 -10 -10 -10
Total Margin -121 -45 -143 -75

As can be seen, Huckabee starts with nearly a triple digit lead over Palin.


February 22, 2011

BREAKING: Thune will NOT run in 2012

  12:13 pm

Thune’s not running, per a prepared statement released today. Here’s the text of the statement

For months now, my wife Kimberley and I have received encouragement from family, friends, colleagues, and supporters from across South Dakota and the country to run for the presidency of the United States. We have appreciated hearing their concerns about where the country is headed and their hopes for a new direction.During this time, Kimberley and I and our two daughters have given a great deal of thought to how we might best serve South Dakota and our nation. That process has involved lots of prayer.

Along the way, we have been reminded of the importance of being in the arena, of being in the fight. And make no mistake that during this period of fiscal crisis and economic uncertainty there is a fight for the future direction of America. There is a battle to be waged over what kind of country we are going to leave our children and grandchildren and that battle is happening now in Washington, not two years from now. So at this time, I feel that I am best positioned to fight for America’s future here in the trenches of the United States Senate.

I want to thank those who have encouraged us and prayed for us during the past several months. We are forever grateful for all the support.

John and Kimberley


February 19, 2011

Poll Analysis: National Monthly PPP Poll (February)

  1:31 pm

PPP conducts a national poll every month. They determine the status of the horse race between the key GOP 2012 hopefuls, and they query their individual strengths against Obama.

First the Horse Race data:

(Horse Race) (1/11) (2/15)
Daniels 4 4
Gingrich 11 12
Huckabee 14 20
Palin 12 15
Paul 7 8
Pawlenty 7 4
Romney 11 17
Thune 1 1
Other/Undec 33 18

“Other/Undec” dropped 15 pts.  That allowed most of the hopefuls to pick up points.  Gingrich, Huckabee, Palin, Paul, and Romney all went up.  Daniels and Thune remained the same.  Only one — Pawlenty — lost ground.  In a near universal rising tide, he managed to lose nearly half his support.  He dropped from 7 to 4 pts.

Here is the data in graphical form.  It is limited to only those hopefuls in double digits to avoid clutter:

As mentioned above, all four improved their positions last month.  Huckabee is still on top, but Romney vaulted from a third place tie to second place.  Palin dropped to third, and Gingrich is left back in the fourth position.

Now on to the vs. Obama numbers:

(vs. Obama) Huckabee Palin Gingrich Romney
(1/11) -5 -17 -12 -5
(2/16) -3 -12 -9 -5

Here is the trend line graphic:

All hopefuls improved against Obama except Romney. Of the three that improved, Palin did the best.  She gained on Obama by 5 pts.  That bests Gingrich’s three point gain and Huckabee’s two point gain. As mentioned, Romney remained flat.

We continue to see the double grouping of the top tier in this data.  This pattern stretches back for well over a year.  Huckabee and Romney continue to trade places with each other as #1 and #2.  Huckabee has been on top more times than Romney.  Gingrich and Palin continue to battle it out for #3 and #4 with Palin in her usual position of dead last.


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