Mitt Romney

Romney, Bachmann in statistical tie in Iowa

Mitt Romney’s lead in Iowa appears to have diminished with Iowa-native Michele Bachmann’s entrance into the Republican field of presidential candidates. According to a new poll from the Des Moines Register, the two are in a statistical tie.

  • Mitt Romney: 23%
  • Michele Bachmann: 22%
  • Herman Cain: 10%
  • Newt Gingrich: 7%
  • Ron Paul: 7%
  • Tim Pawlenty: 6%
  • Rick Santorum: 4%
  • Jon Huntsman: 2%

Bachmann has seen a jump in the polls, not just in Iowa, but nationally as well. The support for Romney, who has decided to skip the Ames Straw Poll in August, remains around the same level in the Des Moines Register poll as it has in other polls conducted in the state. Romney’s team has made New Hampshire their focus.

While the poll is good news for Bachmann, it’s bad news for Pawlenty, who has been spending a signficiant amount of time in Iowa; he’s even running ads in the state (the first candidate to do so). The importance of the state to his presidential ambitions already has some asking how badly he can perform in August’s straw poll and expect to be viewed as a viable candidate.

Club for Growth on Jon Huntsman

Just like in 2008, the Club for Growth is putting together a series of white papers on candidates running for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination. They’ve already looked into the records of Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain and Mitt Romney. The next candidate under the microscope is Jon Huntsman, who formally announced his campaign on Tuesday.

Jon Huntsman is being pegged as 2012’s John McCain, a moderate-ish Republican that has crossover appeal. But he does have some conservative credentials, such as a generally solid record on taxes. The Club notes that Huntsman cut over $400 million in taxes from 2005 to 2007, though he did raise fees and proposed a cigarette taxes hike during his time as governor.

While the Club makes note of his “B” on fiscal policy Cato Institute in 2006 (a grade that is largely due to his record on taxes), they also point out that Huntsman received an “F” on spending in the same report:

Where Huntsman fails utterly is on spending. He has proposed an annual average
hike in spending of close to 6 percent in real per capita terms, which substantially outstrips personal income growth in Utah, and makes him one of the biggest spending governors in the nation.

Which Republican has the best jobs record?

The economy and jobs are going to be a big part of the Republican presidential campaigns this summer and into next year. All of the candidates are beating up on President Barack Obama and the, frankly, paltry job numbers we’ve seen during this wreckovery. But which governor in the Republican field can boast the best-job numbers? The National Review says Gary Johnson:

According to a National Review Online analysis of seasonally adjusted employment data (looking at the total number of those employed) from the Bureau of Labor website, Gary Johnson has the best record of the official candidates, with a job-growth rate of 11.6 percent during his tenure.

But Johnson, who governed from 1995 to 2003, doesn’t overlap much with the other governors — Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, and Jon Huntsman — who are running. Among the crowd who governed primarily during the 2000s, Huntsman has the best record. During his 2005 to 2009 tenure as governor of Utah, the number of jobs grew by 5.9 percent.

Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty have much weaker records. Romney, who governed Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007, had an overall job-growth rate of 1.6 percent. During Pawlenty’s time as governor of Minnesota (2003 to 2011), the number of jobs grew by an anemic 0.5 percent.

Of course, some of these comparisons are apples to oranges; Pawlenty, Huntsman, and Perry, for instance, all were governors during the recession, while Romney and Johnson were not. State population changes could also play a role in determining whether a state’s employment numbers surge or decline.

Romney holds lead among Republican primary voters in California

While California’s presidential primary isn’t until Super Tuesday (February 7, 2012), new survey conducted by Field Poll shed some light where Republicans voters in the Golden State are going at this early point in the game (full results are available here):

  • Mitt Romney: 25%
  • Rudy Giuliani: 17%
  • Sarah Palin: 10%
  • Ron Paul: 7%
  • Newt Gingrich: 6%
  • Herman Cain: 6%
  • Rick Perry: 5%
  • Michele Bachmann: 4%
  • Tim Pawlenty: 3%
  • Rick Santorum: 2%
  • Jon Huntsman: 1%
  • Gary Johnson: <0.5%
  • Other/Undecided: 14%

Field Poll also ran the numbers under the scenario that Giuliani sits the race out. It’s worth noting that Romney receives a slight boost, as does Palin (who hasn’t decided on a bid for the GOP nomination).

  • Mitt Romney: 30%
  • Sarah Palin: 12%
  • Ron Paul: 8%
  • Newt Gingrich: 8%
  • Herman Cain: 7%
  • Rick Perry: 6%
  • Michele Bachmann: 5%
  • Tim Pawlenty: 3%
  • Rick Santorum: 2%
  • Jon Huntsman: 1%
  • Gary Johnson: <0.5%
  • Other/Undecided: 14%

Among the contenders, Giuliani and Romney are the only candidates viewed favorably by GOP voters, 46/37 and 38/34, respectively. The poll also shows that whoever wins the nomination will have a long road to haul to picking up the state’s 55 electoral votes as 49% support President Barack Obama’s re-election bid, while 40% do not.

DeMint lays out endorsement pledge

Even though the race for the GOP presidential nomination is underway (though the field may not be entirely set), there hasn’t been many endorsements from members of Congress or high-profile Republicans. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), who often represents the tea party in Washington, is wants candidates to sign before he’ll endorse:

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) threatened to withhold his support for Republican presidential candidates unless they sign a pledge requiring fiscal reforms in exchange for raising the debt limit.
The pledge, crafted by several conservative groups, would have signatories vow to oppose raising the debt limit unless three conditions are met: 1. Substantial cuts in spending (Cut), 2. Enforceable spending caps (Cap), and 3. Congressional passage of a balanced budget amendment (Balance).

“I’m telling every presidential candidate, if your name isn’t on this list, don’t come see me,” DeMint said.

Support from the South Carolina senator will be especially coveted by White House contenders, both for the boost in a key primary state and because of his status as a conservative icon within the GOP. DeMint challenged House and Senate candidates to sign the pledge, too.

DeMint backed Romney four years ago, but he has since said that he won’t do so again unless the former Massachusetts Governor repudiates RomneyCare; which isn’t likely to happen.

There will be a few candidates willing to sign DeMint’s pledge, perhaps Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain or Ron Paul, but none of them stand much of a chance to win the nomination.

Poll: Romney leads big in New Hampshire

A new poll out of New Hampshire from Magellan Strategies and the NH Journal shows Mitt Romney way out in front with no one even close to him, despite the presence of Rudy Giuliani and Ron Paul in the state:

  • Mitt Romney: 42%
  • Ron Paul: 10%
  • Michele Bachmann: 10%
  • Sarah Palin: 7%
  • Rudy Giuliani: 6%
  • Tim Pawlenty: 5%
  • Herman Cain: 4%
  • Newt Gingrich: 3%
  • Jon Huntsman: 3%
  • Rick Santorum: 2%
  • Undecided: 8%

The poll also shows that Granite State Republicans that watched the debate last week believe that Romney (39%) and Bachmann (28%) had the strongest performance. Only 14% are not satisfied with the field of candidates. However, 48% say they are “somewhat statisfied.”

You can see the full results below:


Gallup: Obama trails “Generic Republican”

While it’s a meaningless poll, the latest numbers from Gallup show that President Barack Obama would lose to a “Generic Republican.” Independents, which went for Obama in 2008, are drifting away; with 42% of them supporting the “Generic Republican” over 32% for the president.

Like I said, this poll means nothing. Obama is still in good position to win re-election. Why? Because there is nothing “generic” about the Republican field. Mitt Romney, the frontrunner for the GOP nomination, is going to be viewed skeptically because he’ll have no moral ground to stand on when he criticizes ObamaCare and his frequent changes on positions will be pointed out to no end. Other candidates that have a chance of winning the Republican nomination are either disliked by voters or don’t have the name recognition.

Ron Paul wins the Republican Leadership Conference straw poll

The Republican Leadership Conference was interesting by all accounts as many Republican presidential hopefuls, including some that haven’t announced, made addressed attendees. From what I read, Texas Gov. Rick Perry was well-accepted. Here were the themes from his speech:

“This administration in Washington that’s in power now clearly believes that government is not only the answer to every need, but it’s the most qualified to make the most central decisions for every American in every area,” Perry said. He called Obama’s approach to the economy “an affront to every freedom-loving American and a threat to every private sector job in this country.”

“I stand before you today as a disciplined, conservative Texan, a committed Republican and a proud American, united with you in the desire to restore our nation and revive the American dream,” he said.
“Our goal is to displace the entrenched powers in Washington, restore the rightful balance between the state and federal government,” Perry said.

Perry has used his party’s control of Texas’s legislature to advance a stridently conservative agenda he can use on the campaign trail. This year alone, Perry’s 11th in the governor’s mansion, he signed legislation to require plaintiffs who lose lawsuits against corporations to pay additional legal costs and a measure that requires voters to show identification when they show up at the ballot box — a proposal that earned him a standing ovation. The 2010 midterm elections, he said, were evidence that the GOP has a mandate for such aggressive legislation.

“We’ve got the wind at our back right now. Americans are waking up to the realities of their previous choices,” he said. “We must keep America moving back to preeminence because our values and conservative ideas are the world’s greatest hope.”

Neocons are defending illegal Libya intervention

With some Republicans seeking the party’s presidential nomination expressing caution on international affairs, warmongers are beginning to speak out; including Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who derided “isolationism” in the GOP field in an appearance on This Week:

I was more concerned about what the candidates in New Hampshire the other night said. This is isolationism. There’s always been an … isolation strain on the Republican Party — that Pat Buchanan wing of our party. But now it seems to have moved more center stage, so to speak. … If we had not intervened, Gadhafi was at the gates of Benghazi. He said he was going to go house to house to kill everybody. That’s a city of 700,000 people. What would be saying now if we had allowed for that to happen?”

McCain is, of course, playing the part of demagogue. Not one candidate in the GOP field is pushing for isolationism; even Ron Paul. Isolationism means completely cutting yourself off from the international community, including trade or enacting protectionist measures. No one wants to do that. Merely expressing skepticism in going to war is simply not “isolationism.” But sadly, McCain is not alone. Separately, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) also recently slammed Mitt Romney for expressing the view that it is time to withdraw from Afghanistan.

At the Washington Post, George Will criticized intervention in Libya and hits back at politicians like McCain:

Romney the favorite among Pennsylvania Republicans

Quinnipiac released a poll yesterday from the Keystone State showing that former Sen. Rick Santorum doesn’t have homefield advantage against Mitt Romney:

[T]he Quinnipiac University survey of Keystone state voters released Wednesday also indicates that President Barack Obama’s re-election numbers are on the rise in the crucial battleground state. According to the poll, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney leads the Republican field at 21 percent, followed by Santorum at 16 percent and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin at 11 percent. No one else was in double digits and 17 percent are undecided.

Even though Pennsylvania voters are split down the middle on whether the approve of President Barack Obama’s job performance, he still leads Mitt Romney in a head-to-head matchup in the state:

  • Obama: 47%
  • Romney: 40%
  • Other: 3%
  • Wouldn’t vote: 4%
  • Undecided: 6%

Santorum, who has no shot of winning the Republican nomination anyway, trails Obama by a wider margin, 49% to 38%. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), who easily defeated Santorum in 2006, seems to be a safe bet for re-election at this point; though we still have a long way to go until the 2012 election. And Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), a conservative that was elected last year, has an approval rating at 45%; only 28% disapprove.

Here are the results of the poll among Pennsylvania Republicans:

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