Thursday, August 11, 2011

2012 Republicans Line up for Ames

The Republican Party is converging on Ames, Iowa for a debate tonight and a straw poll festival on Saturday.

Most all the announced candidates from Mitt Romney to Jon Huntsman are in Iowa campaigning. Unannounced candidate Rick Perry says he will be here Sunday. And Sarah Palin is swinging by too, although she may only get to the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines.

Were does the race stand on the day of the big debate? A McClatchy-Marist Poll National Survey of registered voters was published August 9, 2011 based on phone interviews August 2-4.

Half of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents said they are Tea Party supporters. While Washington and Wall Street may say they've had enough Tea, don't tell that to the Tea Party voters.

CandidateRep+IndRepIndTeav. BHO
Mitt Romney21%24%15%14%41% to 46%
Rick Perry18%16%24%25%33% to 52%
Sarah Palin10%10%9%12%35% to 56%
Rudy Giuliani9%9%9%6%43% to 48%
Michele Bachmann8%4%17%12%35% to 52%
Herman Cain6%4%9%9%
Ron Paul3%4%3%5%
Rick Santorum3%3%2%1%
Newt Gingrich2%2%2%1%
Tim Pawlenty2%2%2%1%36% to 49%
Gary Johnson2%2%2%1%
Buddy Roemer2%2%0%2%
Jon Huntsman1%1%1%1%

In this poll, no Republican beats Barack Obama but two are within the 6% margin of error. With 40% saying they will definitely vote for Barack Obama in 2012 and 40% saying they will definitely vote against him, that leaves a 20% middle to fight over in the general election.

Actually, that 40% who says they would definitely vote against Barack Obama is not quite so definite if the Republican is Perry, Palin, Bachmann, or Pawlenty. That's the problem with letting caucus and primary voters pick the nominee, they are in the 40% not the 20%.

Mitt Romney would give Obama the best run. And he's the frontrunner among the Republicans. If Republicans were ready to fully embrace Mitt Rimney, this would be over.

Rick Perry finished second among Republicans but second to worst against Barack Obama. However, he is a favorite among both Tea Party supporters and independents. Rick Perry's real play may be for VP. Romney-Perry may just be the establishment dream ticket.

Sarah Palin seems to be running a shadow campaign. She is not officially a candidate. But she keeps showing up in the early caucus and primary states. And she keeps tweeting into the big issues of the day, such as the debt ceiling vote and the debt rating downgrade. Sarah will only be 52 in 2016 and 56 in 2020, still a youngster in Presidential politics.

Rudy Giuliani is on this poll even though he has shown marginal interest in running. He would run well against Barack Obama but would have a lot of trouble securing the nomination.

Michele Bachmann probably ranks higher with Sarah Palin off the list. If she comes up short, expect to see her next in a 2014 run in Minnesota against Mark Dayton for Governor or against Al Franken for U.S. Senate.

Herman Cain got some early traction in the South Carolina debate this past spring but needs to regain that momentum. At this point he may be running for the VP slot or a Cabinet position. Romney-Cain was probably the point of his recent mosque apology, which Cain flubbed but not in a way that would stop a Senate confirmation.

Ron Paul, who in many ways invented and turned out the Tea Party movement in 2008, seems to have been eclipsed as the movemnt has expanded and other candidates have captured the movement's imagination. Still he could embarrass fellow Texan Rick Perry by outpolling him.

Everyone below Ron Paul is just in it for the national exposure and debate experience at this point. It's got to be hard to raise campaign contributions that far down the list. If they don't get rain soon, they may start dropping like flies in the hot Iowa sun.

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