From the official release:
Ann and I salute Congresswoman Bachmann. She ran a campaign to advance the principles of limited government that I hold dear. Michele is a friend and a strong competitor. Her tenacity on the campaign trail and her fierce intelligence in the debates have left me no doubt that, as advertised, she does indeed have a titanium spine. Michele inspires millions of Americans by the way she has lived her life, raised her family and served her country. With leaders of her caliber coming up the ranks, the future of the Republican Party – and the future of the country – is bright.
With poll results all over the place in the days leading up to the Iowa caucuses yesterday, I thought it would be interesting to see how the pollsters fared in predicting the results. To be fair, a lot changed in the last week, so I’m only including pollsters who released a survey December 27th or later. In terms of average deviation from the actual results, the pollsters rank, from best to worst:
1. Insider Advantage (1/1 – 1/1) – an average deviation of 2.014 points from each candidate’s total
2. CNN/Time (12/21 – 12/27) – 2.186
3 (tie). Rasmussen (12/28 – 12/28) – 2.300
3 (tie). Des Moines Register (12/27 – 12/30) – 2.300
5. NBC/Marist (12/27 – 12/28) – 2.557
6. Public Policy Polling (12/31 – 1/1) – 2.986
7. American Research Group (12/29 – 1/1) – 3.557
What’s interesting about these results is that some of the polls that had the benefit of being taken as close to the caucus day as possible still managed to have the worst predictions (PPP and ARG). Yet, Insider Advantage made use of its last-minute advantage to provide the most accurate pre-caucus snap shot of any pollster. The much vaunted Des Moines Register poll ends up in the middle of the pack, making one wonder why it is worshiped so fervently. CNN seems to have redeemed itself this year, after its embarrassing mistake of predicting a decisive Romney win over Huckabee in 2008.
What’s also interesting is which candidates pollsters had the most trouble predicting. Here’s the list of each candidate, next to the average deviation of the seven above pollsters’s results from the final results:
Most Differed from Polling Expectations
1. Rick Santorum – final vote count had an average deviation of 8.214 points from the pollsters’ predictions
2. Mitt Romney – 2.000
3. Michele Bachmann – 2.000
4. Jon Huntsman – 1.971
5. Rick Perry – 1.386
6. Ron Paul – 1.229
7. Newt Gingrich – 1.1
Least Differed from Polling Expectations
Santorum and Romney (particularly the former) significantly outperformed expectations, while Bachmann and Huntsman underperformed, and Paul, Gingrich, and Perry came in pretty much where pollsters predicted they would. This is undoubtedly due to Bachmann and Huntsman supporters knowing that their candidates didn’t stand a chance and deciding to shift their support to Santorum and Romney (probably mostly from Huntsman to Romney, and from Bachmann to Santorum), combined with a lot of undecideds breaking for a surging Santorum at the last moment. Santorum isn’t going to play nearly as well in New Hampshire as he did in Iowa however, opening up the door for a potential Santorum-like surge from Ron Paul or Jon Huntsman at the last minute in the Granite State. Romney’s final vote tally in New Hampshire will probably be a little more cozy with the polling predictions as well. He is unlikely to get a late break of a lot of undecideds, since he is such a well known quantity in New Hampshire and most people there have made up their minds on him one way or another. Can such a thing happen? Apparently, we ought to keep our eye particularly on Insider Advantage, CNN, and Rasmussen polls in the coming days for the answer.
Michele Bachmann has technically ended her campaign for the GOP Nomination. She did not endorse another candidate.
“Last night the people of Iowa spoke with a very clear voice so I have decided to stand aside,” she said, stumbling several times in her speech and seeming somewhat fragile.
“Make no mistake I’ll continue to be a strong voice, I’ll continue to fight for the American people,” she said, standing on a stage surrounded by her husband, family and supporters.
In a speech laden with references to God and her faith, she said she would rally behind the person with the best chance to defeat Mr Obama but she did not endorse another candidate.
Ms Bachmann technically suspended her campaign, rather than completely ending it, meaning she can continue to raise money.
Per James Novogrod of NBC News, Rep. Michele Bachmann has cancelled her scheduled trip to South Carolina and has announced a 11am EST press conference.
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.
One of our regular commenters, Matt “MWS” wrote on another thread (emphasis added):
… There are three brackets in this tourney. The Not Mitt bracket is Santorum, Perry, Bachmann, and Newt. The Not Not Mitt bracket is Mitt and J-Hunt. Paul is his own bracket, and not really in the Tourney.
So naturally, all the Not Mitt candidates have to eliminate each other to advance to the finals. J-Hunt, however, is the only one who has to eliminate Mitt to advance to the finals. But nobody’s really paying attention to him.
I suspect Iowa will pretty well settle the Not Mitt bracket. Then you will see more direct attacks on Mitt. If the Not Mitt bracket is still muddled after Iowa, that’s definitely good for Romney. In that case, South Carolina will settle the Not Mitt bracket.
The Not Not Mitt bracket will be settled in New Hampshire. Jon is almost out of time. He pretty well needs a hail mary, a two point conversion, an on-side kick, and a field goal to win that- all in the last two minutes.
Barring a last second Mitt Meltdown, Romney appears to have New Hampshire well and comfortably in the bag thus eliminating Huntsman. However, looking at the last minute Iowa polls we’ve been seeing, it is possible that Santorum, Perry, and Newt could end up being in a virtual three-way tie next Tuesday. Michele Bachmann would be out, but what then?
Santorum is handicapped by having little money and even less organization outside of Iowa. If he wants to continue past Iowa, nothing short of a first place finish in the Not Mitt race there will do. His latest surge suggests he might just do it. Unfortunately, he is going to have to do far better than just finishing ahead of Perry and Gingrich if he wants the Not Mitt bracket all to himself. He is going to have to crush the other two. Perry has money and organization with which to continue. Newt might not have large amounts of money and much of an organization, but he currently has a nice double digit lead in South Carolina. He’s not going to give that up without a fight. Nothing short of a solid repudiation by the Iowan voters would induce Perry and Newt to concede the field to Santorum after Iowa, and the latest polling doesn’t support that scenario at all.
So expect at least two, probably even three Not Mitts to continue on to South Carolina. The state should then determine the final outcome of the Not Mitt bracket, but by then it might be too late. With the split in the Not Mitt vote, it’s very possible that Romney might sweep the first three contests entirely. If he manages to do that, trying to deny him the nomination would become a near Herculean task.
Bachmann said on Facebook that she, like Margaret Thatcher, will stand up for the free market. Here’s the video:
Super-PACs are one of the things that happen when well-meaning people decide that they are going to remove money from politics. They don’t stop and think that what they are really doing is attempting to limit political speech, which is anathema to the American system. Politics requires money, and Americans want to give money to the candidate, party and cause of their choice. So the money is going to flow from the source to the need no matter how many dams high-minded but short-sighted souls erect to stop it.
Currently their favorite tactic is to limit the amount any one person can donate. All this really accomplishes is to force our elected representatives to spend inordinate amounts of time raising a bucket load of cash one thimble-full at a time, and enable the rise of the “bundlers”. It also creates and feeds the Frankenstein monster known as the Super-PAC.
Super-PACs have no donation limit. They do, however, have the restriction that no candidate or party may control, coordinate with, communicate to, or influence them in any way, shape or form. That rule creates a loose cannon that can end up hurting the very candidate they were created to help.
Two examples from this year’s election illustrate my point: (more…)
Ron Paul has to be happy about this coup. Michele Bachmann’s Iowa chairman (now former), State Senator Kent Sorensen (R-Indianola) has decided to switch his support from Bachmann to Congressman Paul, saying “Ron Paul has established himself as the clear choice.” In a switch that was as amicable as could be, Sen. Sorensen stated he maintains immense respect for Rep. Bachmann, but noted:
“The fact is, there is a clear top tier in the race for the Republican nomination for President, both here in Iowa and nationally. Ron Paul is easily the most conservative of this group. … If you are as frustrated as I am with what’s been done by the ruling class, I urge you to join me in supporting Dr. Paul. We can send the national big government political establishment a message they will never forget by voting for Ron Paul for President in the January 3 Iowa Caucuses.”
It has been quite a race since Inauguration Day 2009, the day of the first monthly power rankings that have chronicled the 2012 race for the Republican nomination. The field has changed pretty dramatically since then, with a few names still in the fight and a few unexpected twists and turns along the way. So with less than a week to go before the first votes are cast, I give you the final pre-vote power rankings of the 2012 race.
Gov. Mitt Romney began this race several years ago as the frontrunner by default, and as candidates have come and gone, the former Massachusetts governor has been the one steadfast, consistent contender in the field. That steadiness has Mr. Romney poised to win the Republican nomination, even securing an early knockout, which seemed unlikely just a few weeks ago. Gov. Romney continues to be the best organized, best funded, and most disciplined candidate, and those attributes are paying dividends as the voting nears. Romney has pushed back successfully against the surge of former Speaker Newt Gingrich, deflating the Gingrich bubble and positioning himself for a stunning Iowa victory. Gov. Romney also continues to lead by a wide margin in New Hampshire, with no signs of stumbling or weakening. And as he has throughout the campaign, Gov. Romney continues to rack up major endorsements, the latest being the that of South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. If current trends hold up, then Gov. Mitt Romney could be well on his way to the nomination in just a matter of days.
Texas Rep. Ron Paul has defied expectations since he first reentered presidential politics in 2008. The libertarian stalwart has seen a steady rise in support throughout the campaign despite being ignored by both the national press and the political establishment. But whatever they may think in Washington and New York, around the country Paul’s movement is real and passionate. The long time congressman seems well positioned for a victory in the Iowa Caucuses, something his detractors has said will hurt Iowa more than help Paul. But that arrogance only fuels the Paul supporters to work that much harder, and it is easy to see Paul finishing a respectable second place in this race when all is said and done. Considering what people thought of Ron Paul just four years ago, when a desperate Rudy Giuliani was aiming to score cheap points at the congressman’s expense, it is a remarkable achievement.
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is on the verge of duplicating a pattern he has mastered throughout his political career; amazing rise followed by spectacular crash. The Speaker’s campaign took off like a rocket several weeks ago, and the Georgia congressman seemed poised to unite the anti-Romney factions in the conservative base. But the Speaker’s infamous lack of discipline, which has lead not only to verbal gaffes but organizational blunders, has left his numbers spiraling downwards. Without the money to conduct an air campaign, and without the boots on the ground to complete simple tasks like qualifying for ballot access, Newt Gingrich seems ready to end his political career with one final fall.
Gov. Rick Perry has dominated the airwaves in Iowa for the past several weeks, working extremely hard to stitch together the Huckabee coaltion on 2008. Perry has made right wing social issues the crux of his Iowa push, centering his appeal to voters on a reinstatement of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and changing his position on rape/incest exceptions for abortion. So far, the air campaign seems to have gained little traction, as the governor’s early blunders has proven too severe for his ad campaign to repair. Still, the Texan has resources he can rely on to get past Iowa, and if the trio of Gingrich/Santorum/Bachmann doesn’t make the cut, he could aim for one final push in South Carolina.
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum has been racking up some impressive Iowa endorsements, and his old school work ethic in the state has positioned the former senator for an expectations-busting finish in the caucuses. Still, Santorum’s campaign lacks the resources to go much further, especially if his Iowa hard work doesn’t pay off.
Rep. Michele Bachmann finds herself in the same position as Sen. Santorum, needing shock and awe in Iowa to propel her campaign back to relevancy. Despite her struggles with personnel and resources, the congresswoman has excelled in her most recent debates and has come out strong in her confrontations with other candidates. She will need those performances to pay dividends on caucus night if she wants to survive past next Tuesday.
Gov. Jon Huntsman has made New Hampshire the begin all, end all of his campaign. At the moment, it seems that this strategy has failed, with Gov. Romney holding a commanding lead in the state. However, should Gov. Romney win in Iowa, Gov. Hunstman could play on New Hampshire’s prideful desire not to rubber stamp Iowa’s decision and make one last push for a McCain-style mutiny.
On to the rankings:
1. Mitt Romney
2. Ron Paul
3. Newt Gingrich
4. Rick Santorum
5. Rick Perry
6. Jon Huntsman
7. Michele Bachmann
VP Watch: 1. Marco Rubio 2. Chris Christie 3. Bob McDonnell 4. John Thune 5. Bobby Jindal