I noted a few months ago that it appeared that the Republican Party and its grass roots were indicating they wanted to win the 2014 national midterm elections decisively with their best candidates for competitive U.S. house and senate seats.
Tuesday’s primaries in North Carolina reinforces my initial observations. Most notably, North Carolina state house Speaker Thom Tillis won enough votes to become the GOP nominee without going to a runoff. Tillis had been opposed in the primary by two so-called Tea Party protest candidates, and as they have done in recent elections, Democratic Party strategists spent money against him hoping it would elect one of the protest candidates (who would of course be easier to beat in November). Democrats did this successfully in races in 2010 and 2012, most notably in Missouri where they spent more than $1 million to defeat a strong GOP senate candidate, The result was a weak and gaffe-prone Republican senate nominee who lost in November to an otherwise vulnerable Democratic incumbent.
(There has been, incidentally, little media discussion of the political ethics of one party interfering and intruding in the candidate selection process of the other party. This has been particularly true of the biased so-called “mainstream” media, which in fact have mostly cheered this practice on, resulting in the success of their preferred candidates. After two cycles of this, however, the Republican electorate has evidently caught on to the mischief, as North Carolina and other primaries have demonstrated. Led by Harry Reid in competitive senate races, the practice continues, but it is now likely to turn out to be mostly a waste of campaign dollars that might be more needed in November. Doing this is not illegal, of course, but it might be interesting to see how loudly Democrats and their media friends complain if Republican strategists resorted to the same practice in future elections.)
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who led the fight to block Mr. Tillis’s primary win in North Carolina by campaigning for an obviously flawed Tea Party candidate, then did the right thing by immediately and strongly endorsing Tillis on primary night. Mr. Paul, who is emerging as a serious contender for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, hopefully learned an important lesson from this experience, especially as he has been reaching out beyond his libertarian base to gain support for 2016. As Governor Chris Christie learned in 2012 when he “embraced” Barack Obama in the closing days of that campaign, a certain party loyalty is necessary if one expects then to obtain party support for oneself. (It will be interesting to observe how Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, another GOP protest figure with national ambitions, will conduct himself during the rest of the 2014 campaign.)
As I have pointed out repeatedly, the Tea Party movement was born as a legitimate economic protest by conservative voters, most of whom were Republicans, but also included many disaffected independents and some centrist Democrats. As their numbers grew, and their success, social issue factions began to dominate, especially in candidate selection, and the “Tea Party” brand began to acquire a negative image in Republican Party circles that were trying to win elections. Most of the grass roots Tea Party members by 2014 seem to have now rejoined the party, but some social issue partisans remain to create intraparty challenges.
More contests with intraparty challenges lie ahead, most notably in Georgia, Kentucky, Alaska and Iowa. In these races so far, the strongest GOP candidates appear to be ahead, although surprises can yet happen. On the Democratic side, the left wing of the party appears to be stirring, especially against the prospects of Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee in 2016, but so far Democrats are not indulging in intraparty fights against their own U.S. house and senate candidates. Democrats, to their advantage, avoided these squabbles in 2010 and 2012, and reaped rewards for their self-discipline.
Public opposition to Obamacare remains the largest issue of 2014 so far, but other issues are emerging, including President Obama’s stubborn refusal to permit the construction of the Keystone pipeline to please a few rich supporters (but not his union friends), and some pocketbook issues such as a sluggish economy and raising the minimum wage.
Although foreign policy issues very rarely affect midterm elections, the constant headlines featuring Russian aggressiveness in Ukraine, Chinese aggressiveness in Asia, North Korean provocations, and bestial murder and kidnapping by warlords in Africa, to name only the most prominent, could have an affect on voters, especially if they want to protest Mr. Obama’s foreign policy.
The curious advice by administration supporters and some Democratic strategists for candidates to “double down” by supporting unpopular and controversial Obama policies so far does not seem to be working for most of these vulnerable Democratic candidates. Those who early on have tried to separate themselves from Washington, DC seem to be having the most success. In the U.S. senate, now controlled by the Democrats, majority leader Harry Reid is becoming more and more erratic in his speeches and public comments, and thus further enabling the 2014 election to be nationalized, something which in this cycle clearly helps the Republicans.
With six months to go, and a potential electoral catastrophe for the Democrats approaching, it would seem only a matter of time before Mr. Reid, Mrs, Pelosi and other liberal hardliners are superseded or abandoned by cooler heads in their party who still want to win.
Copyright (c) 2014 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.
Many commentators have been suggesting recently that the Republican Party is actually two parties. The problem with this analysis is that there are so many different suggested pairs of the Party’s identity.
Some say the GOP is split between Tea Party devotees and establishment conservatives. Others say the division is between social conservatives and economic conservatives. Still others see the two groups as rural Republicans and urban/suburban Republicans. Some analyze the GOP as differing by regions (in which case there are four parties). There are those who say that today’s GOP is divided between rich voters and blue collar (“Reagan Republican”) voters. One more theory has it that the major difference is between young Republicans and older Republicans.
There is some truth to each of these analyses, and if this is so, there are more than a dozen overlapping large factions in the Republican Party, and that does not further divide GOP voters by specific issues (in which case there are almost a hundred identifiable factions).
With so many factions and so many divisions, how will it be possible for the American conservative party to win a national election?
I suggest that as long as the various elected officials, spokespersons, radio hosts, TV personalities and political consultants emphasize, screamt, focus on exclusively, and obsess about their differences, and insist on them, they are very unlikely to win back control of both bodies of the Congress, and later, the White House.
The best way to win elections is for a political party to figure what its members agree about.
A political party that does not want to win elections is not fit to govern, no matter what their written or stated policy principles.
Winning isn’t everything, differing opinions always exist in any group. but not winning is not governing.
It’s that simple.
-Copyright (c) 2013 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.
Now that everything is said and done, it’s time to figure out the truly important stuff: Who benefits, duh! (Gotta embrace the new national ethos, right?)
WINNER: Nate Silver, Public Policy Polling, and Pollsters Generally: Surprise! It turns out that professional pollsters know how to do their jobs! Nate Silver and Public Policy Polling especially deserve credit, given the crap that they’ve had to put up with. Many conservative bloggers erupted at them for not telling them what they wanted to hear — but they were right. Mr. Silver’s modeling was highly accurate for the second cycle in a row, and the dreaded PPP nailed this election, calling every state, including Florida, correctly. Marist and Quinnipiac, also slammed by conservatives, were also highly accurate. When I predicted last week that Obama would win reelection and that we’d lose ground in the Senate, almost every single commenter on this site told me that I was buying into the awful biased pollsters and Nate Silver’s nonsense. The lesson here is simple: If you want to criticize a pollster, you need to understand how polling works and then make a specific criticism about the pollster’s methodology. If a poll shows a strong Democratic turnout advantage, it does not mean that the pollster is conspiring against Republicans — it means that more people are telling pollsters that they are Democrats and that they are also likely to vote. Weighting for party ID — ie; what so many people wanted the pollsters to do — is what would have really skewed the polls. Polls showed consistently that Democrats were just as enthusiastic, if not more enthusiastic, about reelecting the president as Republicans were about defeating him — and there’s more Democrats in this country than Republicans. The math is quite simple.
WINNER: Social Liberals: Ballot questions about same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization passed in almost every state that had them. (Oregon rejected a more extreme version of marijuana legalization.) Prominent social conservatives Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock lost Senate races that should have been easy GOP pick-ups. Is social conservatism viable? Perhaps, but at the very least, it will have to be repackaged. As a 22-year-old, I find it impossible to have conversations about politics with friends who barely follow the news: “Doesn’t Mitt Romney want to ban abortion? Wasn’t there a Republican talking about how he supports rape? Why would anyone vote for someone who doesn’t support gay people?” They won’t even listen to me try to explain the conservative position on a complicated issue like Medicare — they’ve already closed themselves off to the GOP, because they think it tolerates bigotry. Conservative activists need to learn that young people do not choose a party based on a checklist of issues — they examine the parties, usually in their late teens or early 20s, and try to get a general sense of what they stand for. The social issues are the easiest to understand and are the most emotionally-loaded. If the Republican Party is seen as harboring extremists, it will lose young people’s votes — possibly for a generation. Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock are not representative of the GOP mainstream — but too many young people look at the party and say “Well, I’m not sure where I am on all the issues, maybe, but I just know that I don’t wanna be in the same party as the guy talking about legitimate rape.” For your average voter, choosing a party is often no more complicated than that. If we want to make gains among young people, we have to actively suppress the candidacies of social-issues extremists.
LOSER: Rasmussen Reports: Scott Rasmussen can no longer be considered a credible pollster. His projections were disastrous. Furthermore, Rasmussen Reports polls should no longer be included in the RealClearPolitics polling average. If Rasmussen wants to win back his reputation, then he should demonstrate in 2014 that he is not just a partisan hack. But in this cycle, every single one of his state polls — both in the presidential race and in the Senate races — showed a pronounced bias toward the Republican candidate, just like they did in 2010. Rasmussen helped create a counterproductive echo-chamber environment amongst conservatives in this cycle — even as credible pollsters like PPP, Marist, and Quinnipiac showed the president gaining, for instance, conservative activists always were able to point to an inaccurate Rasmussen poll as a reason to believe that Mitt Romney still had a chance and that Rasmussen was catching something that the other pollsters, with their flawed turnout models, were missing. But Rasmussen showed a systemic Republican bias, and he needs to be held accountable for it in some way.
WINNER: GOP Up-and-Comers: With the Romney-Ryan 2016 question out of the way, the field is cleared for a new generation of leaders to truly assume command of the national conversation. Expect to hear more from Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, and others — and for a dynamic 2016 primary race to unfold. Despite last night’s wipe-out, it’s an exciting time to be a Republican — for the first time in quite some time, it’s our party that looks like the party of the future. If we can fix our little demographic problem, that is…
LOSER: The GOP, Among Hispanics: Here is the fact that will tell you everything that you need to know: Romney won whites by the same margin that Ronald Reagan did in 1980. He still lost in an electoral landslide. There’s no way around this problem anymore: the electorate was only 72% white this year. We are running out of Joe the Plumbers. We cannot continue to be the party that Latinos perceive as hostile to their race and culture. We can complain all day long about whether that’s fair or accurate — but the problem exists whether he want to acknowledge it or not. It has cost us a variety of races in the past few cycles in states like Florida, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico. George W. Bush was on the right track, earning nearly 40% of the Hispanic vote. If his immigration reform bill had passed, we might have a considerable share of the Hispanic vote right now. But we gave into the Tom Tancredos of the world in 2006, just like Mitt Romney did in 2011 when he ran to the right of Rick Perry for short-term personal gain at the party’s expense. He laid his own trap for the general election. Now this problem persists. Obama is going to tackle immigration reform in his second term. If the Republican Party revolts against it, we may lose the Hispanic vote for an entire generation, and with it, the party as we know it. I anticipate a full-on civil war about this issue in the party within the next two years.
WINNER: Bill Clinton: The rehabilitation of William Jefferson Clinton is complete. There is no more beloved Democrat in the entire country. His excellent convention speech was widely credited with launching Obama into his comfortable September lead, and his preferred strategy of painting Mitt Romney as a heartless plutocrat rather than a flip-flopper paid off. Romney bested Obama on questions about the economy and deficit — but when pollsters asked whether Romney understood the problems facing the middle class, he was absolutely blown away by the president. Clinton helped Obama to embrace a truth that few politicians truly understand: That most people don’t vote for ideology. They vote for politicians who they think “get” them. Bill Clinton will also be a tremendous asset to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign — both in the primaries (should they matter) and in the general election. If she decides to run, that is…
NEUTRAL: Paul Ryan: Nobody is blaming Paul Ryan for any part of last night’s outcome. He performed admirably as Mitt Romney’s running mate and has seen his national stature elevated. He finds himself in a position much like John Edwards four years ago. Hopefully he can make a bit more of the opportunity — he is an exceptional politician and he deserves to be one of our party’s leaders.
WINNER: Establishment Republicans / LOSER: Tea Party Republicans: The Tea Party continues to rack up losses in the Senate. In the past two cycles, they have cost us Delaware, Indiana, Colorado, and Nevada. (Full disclosure: I supported Mourdock over Lugar. I did not expect him to self-destruct; I will never again support a Tea Party insurgent against a popular incumbent.) Tea Party favorites Allen West and Mia Love both lost; Michele Bachmann had a scare but managed to hang on. Republicans retain control of the House, though. As Obama’s second term begins, I expect Boehner and Cantor’s influence to grow against the more hardline Tea Party elements of the Republican caucus. The country has voted, and elections have consequences. Boehner and Cantor — as well as Ryan — recognize that. My advice to the Tea Party is this: When qualified, articulate, conservative establishment-types like Rubio, Cruz, and Toomey are nominated, they win. When radical ideologues like Sharron Angle, Richard Mourdock, and Christine O’Donnell are embraced, they lose. It’s not too hard to figure out what to do with such information.
OVERALL: I’m trying to find a silver lining for Republicans, but I just don’t see one. Last night was an utter massacre. Yet, this is no time to whine (or to shoot the messenger). It’s time to figure out why we lost — and what we can do about it.
The Democratic Party held a rally featuring Sandra Fluke in Washoe County, NV (pop 426K). Ten people showed up. Ten people!
The Tea Party held a rally featuring Connie Mack and Allen West in Indian River County, FL (pop 139K). 3000+ people showed up.
By population, the ratio between the two rallies’ attendance is 920 to one. In other words, to match the turnout of the Tea Party rally per population, Fluke should have had 9200 people in Reno there to see her. Instead, she only had ten.
And how many were media people, I wonder.
Republicans, at least to some rather large degree, were hopeful of a Romney candidacy because of one key aspect: the appeal to independents. A Romney candidacy was a chance to rebrand the GOP, after the stereotype of Republicans as unintelligent southern hicks culminated in the Bush 43 presidency. Independents, the theory went, would not be afraid or ashamed to support the GOP any longer.
Well, here we are less than a month away from the 2012 election, and… the theory was proven correct. Perhaps even more correct than anyone could have hoped, actually. Political nerds who read past the topline results have long commented on Romney’s standing with independents throughout the last six months or so. In fact, he is doing extraordinarily well with them.
For comparison sake, in 2008 Obama won independent voters by an eight-point margin over John McCain. In 2004, George W. Bush and John Kerry essentially tied among independents, with Kerry having a slight edge. This year, Romney has consistently, on a national level, held an average of around a 5-point lead with independents.
If that’s the case — if he is doing 13+ points better than McCain with that key voting bloc, and five to even ten points better than George W. Bush did, then why has a lead in the topline results been so difficult to come by for Governor Romney?
The answer may seem a little counter intuitive at first glance, but the problem is with Republicans.
Every Presidential candidate in modern history who has won their election has done so with the backing of around 90% of their respective party. For example, Bush pulled in 91% of Republicans in 2000 (and just 47% of independents); he upped that to 93% in 2004; Obama got just under 90% of Democratic votes in 2008.
On a national level, Romney has struggled to maintain the support of 85% of Republicans this year. That’s a losing proposition. Currently in Rasmussen, he sits at 86% of Republican support — compared to 89-90% of Democrats who support Obama. The only reason he is close to Obama is his six-point lead among independent voters (a fourteen point swing from four years ago).
In the crucial trio of swing states affectionately known as FLOHVA, it’s the same story. In Ohio, Romney leads among independents by 15%, in Virginia by 7%, and in Florida by a massive 22%. Those are ridiculously absurd numbers. If someone would have read those margins among independents to me one year ago, I would have told them Romney was headed toward a landslide of 1984 proportions.
Instead, Romney is barely ahead in Virginia and Florida, and still losing Ohio.
Why? Because he is lacking the support of Republicans. In Ohio, only 83% of Republicans are supporting Romney. In Virginia, it’s only 85%. And in Florida, just 76% of the GOP plan on voting for Romney. In each state, Romney is running well behind even John McCain, who lost all three (McCain got 92% GOP support in OH and VA and 87% in FL).
So what’s going on here? Most all of it, I suspect, can be attributed to the fact that the GOP is currently so divided into so many factions — many of whom are lukewarm toward Romney at best. Within the “tent” of Republicanism, for instance, we now house the Paulite wing and Tea Party wing of the party — and those are on top of the more historical splits between neo- and paleoconservatives, as well as between fiscal and social conservatives. In fact, the traditional divide between fiscal and social conservatives has been magnified by the Tea Party movement — a movement which began based on fiscal issues and was then hijacked by the social conservative wing of the party. The Tea Party has given voice to and amplified the debate and the divide between the two.
It’s no wonder Romney is doing so poorly among Republicans. After all, when Ronald Reagan ran on his vision (given in his now-famous 1976 CPAC speech) of uniting the various wings of the GOP together, all he had to contend with (mostly) were two groups: social and fiscal conservatives. That coalition began cracking when neo- and paleo-conservatism began splintering off with opposing views on foreign policy, and with the Paulite and Tea Party factions now gaining prominence the Republicans are now the most splintered they’ve been in over thirty years. Or perhaps ever.
So far, Romney’s lopsided victory in the first Presidential debate has done little to move the needle with his fellow Republicans. But if he’s to win in four weeks, he’s got one of two options: run up even larger and more unheard of margins with independents, or find a way to get the GOP base behind him. Because if Romney loses to Obama, at this point it appears the Republican Party would have no one to blame for the loss but themselves.
We pundits can’t help ourselves when we try to make analogies between current and past presidential election years. To some degree, the best analogies usually do apply. But I am coming to the conclusion, that apart from some obvious comparisons, the conventional rules of U.S. presidential elections will be largely upturned in 2012.
My reasons center around some simple facts and conditions.
President Obama was the first black president. He will thus be the first black incumbent president to run for re-election. Mr. Obama won the 2008 election primarily for two reasons. First, there was considerable “fatigue” with Republican President George W. Bush, then completing his second term. Second, only weeks before the November election, there was a meltdown in the mortgage banking sector causing an immediate economic crisis. In short, there was a conflation of circumstances which enabled Mr. Obama to win. The election was decisive, but it was no landslide.
Mitt Romney is not John McCain. Although Senator McCain was clearly a much-admired figure for his Viet Nam war experiences as a soldier and prisoner of war, and for his service in the U.S. senate, he lacked ironically the combative nature to wage a tough election campaign against Mr. Obama, There was also perhaps no viable strategy to overcome the mortgage banking crisis that appeared so close to the election; Mr. McCain’s strategy to suspend his campaign might have been one of the worst alternatives available to him.
Mitt Romney is also not John Kerry, Al Gore, Bob Dole, Walter Mondale, George McGovern, Hubert Humphrey or Barry Goldwater. Barack Obama is not George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan or Richard Nixon. Mr. Romney is the first Mormon to be nominated for president. Although he was a governor, he is the first nominee for president since before World War II to come from a successful self-made career in business.
Although the U.S. economy is always going through cycles of prosperity and recession, the current downturn is unusual for its length and its chronic high unemployment. Previously the world’s dominant economy, the U.S. faces historic ad unprecedented trade challenges from China, India, Brazil and the European Union. There is also a growing global economic debt crisis facing Europe and China that has made world fiscal conditions more important to individual Americans than ever before.
Changing rules and new technologies are increasingly and more rapidly altering U.S. presidential campaigns. This is especially so in the key aspect of fundraising, public relations and in identifying voters in the often under-noticed get-out-the-vote campaigns. The internet, even more than before, has changed American politics.
The congressional election cycles have gone through two unprecedented (in terms of their quick reversal) “wave”elections. In 2006 and 2008, the “wave” went to the Democrats. Abruptly, the 2010 “wave” went the other way, to the Republicans. In 2012, Republicans control the U.S. house, and Democrats control the U.S. senate. Not all candidates are known yet, and once-in-a-decade redistricting has taken place, but given the national economic conditions, and the fact that such a disproportionate number of vulnerable Democratic incumbent senators are running, the relationship between the congressional elections and the presidential campaign of the incumbent are extraordinarily, on their face, disconnected.
The influence of non-traditional political forces on a presidential campaign has, seemingly, not been greater. The Old Media, continuing its pattern from 2008, has become a mostly uncritical cheerleader for Mr. Obama. This also includes most of the figures of Hollywood and the entertainment industry. The New Media, including radio talk show hosts, Fox News (its cable viewers total more than all the other cable networks combined), and large-scale websites such as Drudge and Breitbart, have become cheerleaders for the conservative movement.
Further complicating the 2012 elections are the new populist movements of both the right (Tea Party) and the left (Occupy Movement) which have recently emerged. As these pull against the natural gravity of the political center in presidential election, they tend to upend traditional politics and politicking.
Finally, there is more political and ideological division in the nation since the 1930’s. There was perhaps as intensive political emotion in the country in the Viet Nam war period, or more, but the division was not so much between conservative and liberal as it was about the specific war issue (and it was generational).
Of course, assuming what I am contending is true about the unprecedented nature of the 2012 presidential election, the key and obvious question is: Who does these circumstances help the most and hurt the most in their quest to be elected, or re-elected, president this year?
The answer to that will become obvious right after election day, and no one knows that answer for certain six months away, but we do have some fascinating clues to the possible answer to this question, and I will discuss them in the weeks ahead.
Copyright (c) 2102 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.
From the Union Leader:
MANCHESTER — Leading state Tea Party activist and long-time “ax-the-tax” advocate Tom Thomson has chosen Mitt Romney as his presidential candidate.
Thomson, honorary chairman of the conservative Americans for Prosperity-New Hampshire advocacy group and co-organizer of three annual April 15 Tea Party AFP-Tea Party rallies at the New Hampshire State House, will formally endorse the former Massachusetts governor at 12:30 p.m. today at Madison Lumber Mill in West Ossipee.
A son of the anti-tax patriarch former Gov. Meldrim Thomson Jr., Thomson pre-dates the Tea Party as an outspoken fiscal conservative, but in recent years has become a Tea Party leader.
Last year the Republicans here in Nevada choose Sharron Angle to go up against the unpopular Harry Reid. She ran perhaps one of the poorest campaigns I’ve ever seen from a major candidate for a major office . She lost
A myth has grown up from that campaign that it was all the Tea Party’s fault. If it hadn’t been for them “thrusting” Angle upon us, Harry Reid would have been toast. While it is certainly true that Sharron did have the Tea Party’s support, it was not that support that got her the nomination. It was the other candidates.
There were three top candidates for the nomination last year, Sue Lowden, Danny Tarkanian, and Sharron Angle. Sue Lowden started out on top. Tarkanian was second with Angle third. All things being equal, that is how they would have finished.
But Lowden and Tarkanian both ran very poor campaigns. Lowden kept making little amateur mistakes like using a van donated by a supporter for campaign uses. That’s a donation in kind above the legal limit, and it got her into trouble. Tarkanian’s biggest mistake was going negative almost immediately. He did little else but attack Sue Lowden. He never really gave much of a reason for anyone to actually vote for him. He only gave us reasons not to vote for Lowden. Sharron Angle, on the other hand, ran almost a perfect campaign. I can’t remember a single mistake she made during the primary.
Nevada Republicans knew that whoever got the nomination was going to have to run a tight, effective race to send Reid packing, and the only one in the primary who came close to doing that was Sharron Angle. So we selected her to be our nominee to defeat Harry Reid.
But it was not to be. Angle’s general election campaign was one mistake after another. She never really got it together. It led me and other Nevadans to wonder exactly what happened? Did she hire Lowden’s and Tarkanian’s campaign staff to run her general campaign? Did she think that after a tough primary fight that she was just going to coast to a general election win over the most powerful man in the U.S. Senate? Did she get complacent when she kept reading polls that said she was winning easily by a minimum of five points?
I feel it safe to say that if Angle had run her primary campaign like she ran her general campaign, we would likely have had Sue Lowden as our nominee last year, not Angle. Could Lowden have defeated Harry Reid? Perhaps. She couldn’t have done much worse than Sharron Angle did. That is for certain.
Pew has released their latest poll on the 2012 national race. Here are the horse race numbers with some crosstabs:
All GOP Tea Party Yes Tea Party No A Lot of Thought Less Thought Romney 22 17 25 23 22 Perry 17 18 17 19 15 Cain 13 23 6 20 9 Paul 12 13 11 11 13 Gingrich 8 9 7 8 7 Bachmann 6 7 6 3 8 Santorum 2 3 2 2 2 Huntsman 1 1 2 2 1 Other 1 1 1 1 1 None/DK 17 9 23 11 21
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|
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.