Michele Bachmann

Gingrich defends Trump, Romney declines debate invite

As noted on Monday, Donald Trump will moderate a Republican debate hosted by Newsmax on December 27th in Iowa. There has been some pushback inside Republican circle as Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul almost immediately declined invites. Mitt Romney has also declined. Michele Bachmann has not actually said whether she plans to attend, but did express “concern” about the debate.

Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum accepted the invitations, and Gingrich also defended Trump against criticism from Paul that it would be a circus:

After a nearly hour-long meeting at Trump Tower, Donald Trump and Newt Gingrich emerged for a joint news conference, during which the former House speaker defended The Donald from slams from Ron Paul that Trump moderating a debate would create a “circus” atmosphere.

Gallup: Gingrich, Romney in statistical tie

As was noted in yesterday’s GOP Presidential Power Rankings, Newt Gingrich is coming on strong as he appears to be latest anti-Romney emerge from the pack. The latest numbers in the race from Gallup only serve to emphasize that point.

Here is how the field looks right now:

  • Newt Gingrich: 22%
  • Mitt Romney: 21%
  • Herman Cain: 16%
  • Ron Paul: 9%
  • Rick Perry: 8%
  • Michele Bachmann: 4%
  • Jon Huntsman: 1%
  • Rick Santorum: 1%
  • Other: 1%
  • None/No opinion: 18%

As you can see in the chart Gallup provided in their report of the poll numbers, this has been anything but a normal primary as the GOP electorate — though primarily tea party influenced and more conservative voters — moved back and forth between whatever Flavor of the Month has been put before them.

Unlikely Bachmann and Perry, Cain isn’t dropping off very far; despite the recently surfaced allegations of sexual harrassment. Most Republican voters aren’t bothered by those stories. They should, however, be very concerned at how his campaign has handled them and the frequent gaffes and lack of knowledge on policy issues that would come before him in the White House.

Another reason Cain has managed to hang on is due to some distrust of Gingrich among conservatives and tea partyers, which is understandable.

Four-way tie in Iowa for GOP nod (Ron Paul is a frontrunner?)

With national polls showing yet another shake-up in the race for the Republican nomination, the latest survey out of Iowa shows a four-way race among Republican caucus-goers:

Herman Cain, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich are in a dead heat as the top choices for Iowans likely to attend the Jan. 3 Republican presidential caucuses.

A Bloomberg News poll shows Cain at 20 percent, Paul at 19 percent, Romney at 18 percent and Gingrich at 17 percent among the likely attendees with the caucuses that start the nominating contests seven weeks away.
Texas Governor Rick Perry and Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann, who both once were strong contenders in polls of the Republican race, have seen support plummet. Perry, who is running ads in Iowa, gets 7 percent support in the Bloomberg survey; Bachmann, who won the Iowa Straw Poll in August, is backed by 5 percent.

Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, who has spent the most time campaigning in Iowa, is at 3 percent. Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr., who isn’t competing in Iowa, is backed by 1 percent.

Paul’s quiet rise prompted National Journal to run with this headline in their coverage of the Bloomberg’s survey: “Ron Paul Emerges as Front-Runner in Iowa.” And although straw poll results don’t translate into support at the ballot box, Paul has had a good last few weeks with grassroots support. Unforunately, he continues to be treated unfairly by the media.

Ranking of Republican Primary Candidates – Another take

In response to Jason’s post indicating where he ranks the GOP candidates, which was followed by the CNBC economy debate, I decided to have some fun and create two lists from before and after the debate. First, Jason’s List:

  1. Gary Johnson
  2. Ron Paul
  3. Jon Huntsman
  4. Rick Perry
  5. Newt Gingrich
  6. Mitt Romney
  7. Michele Bachmann
  8. Herman Cain
  9. Rick Santorum

Here is my list BEFORE the debate:

  1. Gary Johnson
  2. Ron Paul
  3. Jon Huntsman
  4. Newt Gingrich
  5. Mitt Romney
  6. Rick Perry (Perry and Romney tied)
  7. Herman Cain
  8. Michele Bachmann
  9. Rick Santorum

And here is my updated list after last night’s debate with comments:

1. Gary Johnson: Honestly, this is the first time I remember agreeing with literally everything a candidate for any office says. If I have one disagreement, it would featuring Marijuana legalization as a top issue. Johnson was never taken seriously by the GOP mainstream because he was immediately tabbed as “the pot guy”. In the uptight GOP base, it immediately disqualified him.

My preferences for the GOP nomination

We do a regular feature here, a “power ranking” of the GOP presidential candidates. It’s similar to what commentators post for football or other sports. But during a chat with a friend a couple of days ago, I was asked to list my preference for the Republican nomination for president. I explained that there weren’t many real options for me, as a libertarian, given that the candidates are very anti-libertarian outside of Gary Johnson and Ron Paul.

But my friend encouraged me to “give it a whirl anyway.” So while I’m indulging my friend here, the reality is if Johnson wasn’t running, I’d vote for Paul. If neither were in the race, I’d stay home. So anyway, here goes my list:

- Gary Johnson: Easily the most traditionally libertarian on the issues. Unfortunately, Johnson isn’t receiving due attention, despite his impressive fiscal record as a two-term Governor. I realize that when I vote for Johnson, I realize I’ll be casting a ballot for someone with no chance of winning the GOP nomination; and I’m OK with that.

- Ron Paul: I still have some issues with Ron Paul, but he has run better campaign this time around and has influenced politics in the GOP. That in and of itself is a win.

- Jon Huntsman: There are some positions that Huntsman has taken that I’m not fond of, but his tax plan is the best I’ve seen in the field.

- Rick Perry: Many conservatives abandoned Perry over the immigration issue. I thought that was the best thing about him. His tax plan is also a good start, but is a bit watered down to be called a “flat tax.”

Nevada moves up caucus date to January 14th

The primary calendar keeps getting pushed more into January. As you know, both South Carolina and Florida announced last week that their respective primaries would be moved earlier in the year to January 21st and January 31st. Not to be outdone, the Nevada GOP yesterday moved its caucus to January 14th:

The Nevada Republican Party announced Wednesday that it will hold its presidential caucus on Jan. 14, likely pushing the first votes of the 2012 election cycle into 2011.

“I’m extremely pleased to finally have a firm date for a caucus that will greatly improve Nevada’s standing and relevance in terms of national politics,” Nevada Republican Party Chairwoman Amy Tarkanian said. “By establishing this date, we maintain Nevada’s standing as one of the first four ‘carve-out’ states and as the very first in the west.”

This move is very likely to bring us a scenario where we’ll see the first votes cast for the Republican nomination in December:

With Nevada’s decision to hold its caucuses on Jan. 14, it’s possible that the presidential primary season could begin immediately after Christmas — with New Hampshire settling on Jan. 7, and Iowa going either Dec. 28 or 29. If that happens, it could be the straw that finally breaks the camel’s back on Iowa’s and New Hampshire’s dominance of the primary calendar.

Romney leads in Florida and Iowa

With Rick Perry’s campaign imploding, new polling out of Florida and Iowa shows Mitt Romney’s momentum continuing to build since the debate last week as he has taken the lead in both states.

The poll out of Florida, conducted by Public Policy Polling, was conducted between September 22nd, the date of the last GOP debate, to the 26th, so it includes a lot of post-debate opinions. Here are the results:

  • Mitt Romney: 30%
  • Rick Perry: 24%
  • Newt Gingrich: 10%
  • Ron Paul: 8%
  • Herman Cain: 7%
  • Michele Bachmann: 6%
  • Jon Huntsman: 3%
  • Rick Santorum: 2%
  • Gary Johnson: 1%
  • Other: 9%

The poll out of Iowa is from the American Research Group, which hasn’t polled there since July (before Perry got in the race). The last three polls out of Iowa, however, have showed Perry with a lead. This poll was taken between September 22-27.

  • Mitt Romney: 21%
  • Michele Bachmann: 15%
  • Rick Perry: 14%
  • Ron Paul: 12%
  • Newt Gingrich: 8%
  • Herman Cain: 6%
  • Rick Santorum: 2%
  • Jon Huntsman: 1%
  • Other: 6%
  • Undecided: 15%

Bachmann is hanging her entire campaign on Iowa. If she doesn’t win there in the caucuses, she’s done. I’m mean, she’s done anyway, but can’t reasonable justify staying in the race at that point. It’s bad enough for Perry that he’s not leading here in this poll, but he’s in a statistical tie for runner up. If Romney takes Florida, Iowa and, New Hampshire…it’s game over. He’s your nominee.

POLL: Who is your pick for the GOP nomination?

We’ve been meaning to run a poll here for sometime on the Republican nomination, but I haven’t gotten around to putting it together. But since I’m short on content this morning thanks to an incredibly busy evening last night, I figured this would be the perfect chance for it.

Below is our poll of the nine candidates Republican candidates that participated in the most recent debate. In other words, Rudy Giuliani, Sarah Palin, and Chris Christie aren’t included since they haven’t confirmed anything at this point.

Obama still struggling in Virginia

The latest poll out of the battleground state of Virginia — this one coming from Roanoke College — continues to bring bad news for President Barack Obama, as both Mitt Romney and Rick Perry hold leads in prospective general election matchups; though the Senate race between George Allen and Tim Kaine remains very close (emphasis mine):

With 14 months remaining until the 2012 election, Virginia’s U.S. Senate race is a statistical dead heat. Republican George Allen leads Democrat Tim Kaine 42% to 39% with 19% undecided. President Obama trails some potential Republican opponents, but he leads others. The generic (unnamed) Republican leads Obama 41% to 33%; Mitt Romney leads 45% to 37%; and Rick Perry leads by an statistically insignificant 42% to 40%. At the same time, Obama leads potential opponents Michele Bachmann (46% to 35%), Ron Paul (43% to 33%), and Sarah Palin (50% to 31%). Looking only at registered voters, none of those margins change by more than 1 percent and several do not change at all. Within two key groups, Kaine leads among Moderates (52%-30%), but Allen leads among Independents (42%-33%). Obama also performs better among Moderates and not as well with Independents.*

The poll also shows that Obama’s approval rating is a pathetic 39%, while 54% disapprove. Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican, is doing incredibly well with voters, as he can boast to a 67% approval rating. Sen. Mark Warner, a Democrats, also has a 67% approval rating, but he’s not up for re-election next year.

CNN poll: Romney slightly closes the gap with Perry

We can begin to assess the damage that Rick Perry has done to himself thanks to CNN releasing the first post-debate numbers. The poll (we’re going with the numbers that exclude Sarah Palin), conducted between September 23-25, shows Perry’s dropping by two points over the last couple of weeks; from 32% to 30%. Mitt Romney only picked up a point, but has narrowed the lead to single-digits.

  • Rick Perry: 30%
  • Mitt Romney: 22%
  • Newt Gingrich: 11%
  • Herman Cain: 9%
  • Ron Paul: 7%
  • Michele Bachmann: 6%
  • Rick Santorum: 3%
  • Jon Huntsman: 1%
  • Other: 3%
  • None/No opinion: 8%

Perry’s lead over Romney is slightly narrowed even more — 28% to 21% — if you include Palin. But back to the numbers above. Gingrich sees a four point jump from the last CNN poll, despite done better than 8% since mid-July. Cain gained three points. Ron Paul dropped by six points, which is bad news. Bachmann, as you’ve probably noticed, is now in the bottom tier of GOP candidates; though she is still within the margin of error of Paul and Cain.

The poll also shows President Barack Obama’s approval rating at 45%, while 52% disapprove. Interestingly, 62% of respondents to the poll believe that Romney “has the personality and leadership qualities a president should have.” That’s better than Obama, who grabs 58% of voters on that question. Another 52% disagree with Obama on the issues that matter most to them, 46% agree with that assessment.

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