We haven’t been paying attention to many general elections polls around here lately. Why? Because none of it really matters until around 60 days before voters casts their ballots. But there has been a narrative that Mitt Romney is performing poorly in swing states and President Barack Obama is well on his way to re-election. But a poll released by CNN earlier this week shows that Romney is up in the states that will decide the presidential election:
Mitt Romney has a sizeable lead in 15 battleground states, according to a CNN/ORC poll released late Monday.
The Republican candidate leads President Obama 51 percent to 43 in 15 states that will be critical in determining the outcome of the 2012 election.
Obama won 12 of these battleground states in 2008 — Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin — and will need to keep about half of those in 2012 if he’s to secure reelection. The poll also included Missouri, Indiana and Arizona as battleground states.
That’s good news for Romney, showing he has a base of support in those states, though the blanket poll of 534 registered voters doesn’t give an indication of which candidate leads in an individual state, or by how much.
Obama holds a slim lead over Romney nationally in the CNN/ORC poll, 49 percent to 46, which is within the poll’s margin of error and unchanged from the same poll in May.
A few days ago, I nearly wrote a post, based on what I was reading from some elections observers, encouraging Ron Paul supporters to calm down over the results in Maine. Paul supporters were arguing that the election had been stolen due to uncounted ballots. Josh Putnam, who blogs at Frontloading HQ and offers insight I generally respect, discounted the “conspiracy” being floated.
But over at the American Spectator, Jim Antle notes that the Maine Republican Party is under scrutiny due to the number of uncounted ballots, which may or may not be enough to question whether Mitt Romney won the caucus:
The Bangor Daily News is reporting that the Maine Republican Party is facing increasing pressure to reconsider its claim that Mitt Romney won the state’s caucuses until all the votes are counted. (Hat tip: Taegan Goddard.) Some caucuses were postponed due to snow and told that they won’t count in the final tally; towns that had their caucuses before February 11 were also inexplicably not counted.
Dear Republican primary voters and caucusgoers:
Yesterday, some of you in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri delivered stunning victories for former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Penn.) in the race for the GOP presidential nomination. You may have thought in caucusing and voting for Santorum that you were dealing a blow to the big government establishment. Unfortunately, you weren’t. Santorum is and has always been a card-carrying member of the Beltway GOP. Santorum’s record in the U.S. Senate reveals consistent opposition to the principles of limited government, fiscal restraint, and individual liberty. That’s why libertarians can’t support him now or in the general election and why you shouldn’t either.
Rick Santorum has consistently voted in favor of big government, budget-busting programs. He has slammed former Governor Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) for signing RomneyCare into law, but RomneyCare and ObamaCare are hardly the first examples of big government intervention in the health care market. Another recent example was the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 establishing the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit. While libertarians and limited government conservatives were busy arguing for the reduction of government health care entitlements, former President George W. Bush was busy expanding them — and Rick Santorum was happy to vote in favor of Medicare Part D along with other big government establishment Republicans in the U.S. Senate.
As we head into the South Carolina primary where former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum may still have a shot at the GOP nomination, it’s worth recalling what Sen. Santorum had to say about libertarians and others who favor limited government during an interview with NPR in August 2005:
One of the criticisms I make is to what I refer to as more of a Libertarianish right. They have this idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do, government should keep our taxes down and keep our regulations low, that we shouldn’t get involved in the bedroom, we shouldn’t get involved in cultural issues. That is not how traditional conservatives view the world. There is no such society that I am aware of, where we’ve had radical individualism and that it succeeds as a culture.
This has rightly riled many libertarians, who insist that the “radical individualism” derided by Santorum was the basis for the American experiment. But libertarians should really be thanking Rick Santorum. He’s provided us with a valuable reminder that far from being a limited government ally of libertarianism, traditional conservatism is actually inimical to libertarian principles. Traditional conservatism was America’s first statist, big government ideology.
Now that Rick Santorum has managed to get some attention after a good showing in Iowa, more information is coming out about his big government past. I touched on this earlier this week, noting that Santorum backed expanding entitlements and bloated budgets. But more pundits are starting to pay attention to his record.
Writing at the National Review, Michael Tanner explains that Santorum is pretty much in line with the “compassionate conservativism” offered by George W. Bush:
When Hillary Clinton was justly excoriated by conservatives for her book It Takes A Village, which advocated greater government involvement in our lives, Rick Santorum countered with his book, It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good, which advocated greater government involvement in our lives. Among the many government programs he supported: national service, publicly financed trust funds for children, community-investment incentives, and economic-literacy programs in “every school in America” (italics in original).
Santorum’s voting record shows that he embraced George Bush–style “big-government conservatism.” For example, he supported the Medicare prescription-drug benefit and No Child Left Behind.
It certainly sounded, on Tuesday evening, like Texas Gov. Rick Perry was about get out of the race for the GOP’s presidential nomination. But by yesterday afternoon, Perry said he was still in the race and headed for South Carolina:
Perry tweeted a message to supporters earlier in the day suggesting he would remain in the Republican presidential race.
“And the next leg of the marathon is the Palmetto State … Here we come South Carolina!!!” Perry tweeted from his account, along with a picture of himself, dressed in workout gear, giving a thumbs-up to the camera.
“I was out on the trail when it kind of came to me,” Perry told reporters, according to The Des Moines Register.
“It’s there, it’s clearly there,” he said, apparently speaking of the path forward for his campaign.
Perry also knocked the process in Iowa and suggested that many caucus-goers weren’t “real Republicans,” which was a probably a poor move. In fact, saying in the race is probably a poor move. Perry is currently polling, according to Real Clear Politics, at 5.7% in South Carolina; far behind Newt Gingrich, who leads in the state, and Mitt Romney.
During his classless concession speech last evening, Newt Gingrich claimed that his campaign stayed positive, unlike others in the race. This has been a complaint in the last of couple weeks from Gingrich. During a TV interview yesterday, Gingrich called Romney a “liar,” a charge that stems from attack ads against him from a “super PAC” supporting Romney.
Reading between the lines from last night, Gingrich certainly seems ready to run a scorched earth campaign against Romney the rest of the way. It’s going to get nasty, folks:
After criticizing Romney for running a negative campaign and promising to stay positive, Gingrich appeared before supporters to criticize the former Massachusetts governor as someone who couldn’t bring change to Washington. He also planned to run television ads against Romney in the next three states to vote - New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida.
The former House speaker called Romney a “Massachusetts moderate who, in fact, is pretty good at managing the decay.” He said the ex-governor has “given no evidence in his years in Massachusetts of any ability to change the culture or change the political structure.”
Gingrich’s planned a full-page ad in the New Hampshire Union Leader that was to appear as he touched down in the state early Wednesday. It labels Gingrich a “Bold Reagan Conservative” and Romney a “Timid Massachusetts Moderate.”
At least one pro-Gingrich super PAC also was getting into the mix.
If you listened to his speech last night, Rick Perry initially spoke as though he was gong to press forward. But, as noted this morning, Perry changed his tone during the speech, deciding that he was headed back to Texas today to determine what his next step is in the race.
But the message has already been sent. Perry was scheduled to be in South Carolina today campaigning for a primary that takes place in just three weeks. Perry is done, as we knew he would be, even if he decides to press forward.
Michele Bachmann, however, seemed to be in denial last evening, at least publicly. After winning the Ames Straw Poll in August, Bachmann placed next to last; an embarrassing finish for someone who invested a lot of time in Iowa. That defiant tone didn’t carry over into this morning. Bachmann’s team scheduled a press conference this morning where she announced the decision to suspend her campaign:
In the wake of a disappointing finish in Tuesday’s Iowa caucuses, Rep. Michele Bachmann announced Wednesday that she is suspending her campaign for president.
“Last night, the people of Iowa spoke with a very clear voice, and so I have decided to stand aside,” she said at a hastily-arranged news conference here.
“I have no regrets,” she added. “None whatsoever. We never compromised our principles.” She said she “looks forward to the next chapter in God’s plan.”
Bachmann did not endorse another candidate.
I would imagine that many of Bachmann’s backers will flock to Rick Santorum. Her numbers weren’t substantial, national polls showed her in single-digits, a boost in his polling as a result of her dropping out won’t be much, though Santorum will still receive a small bump over all.