Mitt Romney

Tax Hike Mike leads in early Iowa poll

Despite some strong signs of support in New Hampshire and holding a slight lead among Republicans nationally, Mitt Romney is trailing Tax Hike Mike Huckabee in an early poll of likely participants in the Iowa caucuses, according to a survey released yesterday by Strategic National.

Here are the results:

  • Mike Huckabee: 27.56%
  • Mitt Romney: 18.54%
  • Sarah Palin: 12.44%
  • Newt Gingrich: 12.20%
  • Tim Pawlenty: 4.39%
  • Michele Bachmann: 3.66%
  • John Thune: 1.95%
  • Rick Santorum: 0.98%
  • Haley Barbour: 0.24%
  • Other/Undecided: 18.05%

It looks like Rep. Michele Bachmann’s visit to Iowa has gotten her some attention, but it’s unlikely to get any real traction for a serious presidential bid. And though he did poorly in this poll, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour is making plans to visit South Carolina Republicans to discuss a presidential bid.

Rasmussen: Romney holds small lead among possible 2012 candidates

On the heels of the first straw poll for 2012, Rasmussen is out with new polling in the 2012 Republican primary for president that shows Mitt Romney will a small lead over Sarah Palin and Tax Hike Mike Huckabee in a limited field of seven possible candidates.

  • Mitt Romney: 24%
  • Sarah Palin: 19%
  • Mike Huckabee: 17%
  • Newt Gingrich: 11%
  • Tim Pawlenty: 6%
  • Ron Paul: 4%
  • Mitch Daniels: 3%
  • Other: 6%
  • Not sure: 10%

None of this means anything right now. We’re going to spend the next several months going over the faults of each candidates, why they can win or why they can’t. But Rasmussen, with it’s Republican-leaning bent, gives us a good idea of what GOP voters are thinking right now.

Romney wins New Hampshire straw poll

Over the weekend in New Hampshire, the state’s Republican Party along with WMUR and ABC News conducted a presidential straw poll a year in advance of the primary; with Mitt Romney winning big:

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won the first presidential straw poll of the 2012 cycle, kicking off New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary election race.

Romney won with 35 percent, beating second-place finisher Ron Paul by 24 points in the WMUR-ABC News straw poll of members of the state Republican Party. In third place was former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who won 8 percent—just one point ahead of Sarah Palin, who drew 7 percent.

Because Romney has such high name recognition here and has a home in Wolfeboro, N.H., he was widely expected to win—and observers here were far more interested in who would come in second and third.

Only three candidates—Romney, Pawlenty and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum—have spent significant amounts of time on the ground in the state over the past few months. At today’s convention, Pawlenty staffed a table to promote his new book while Santorum consultant and longtime New Hampshire operative Mike Biundo had a table and worked the crowd.

Romney, who is adding staff in preparation for his bid, has the money to build an influential campaign in the state. He is also focusing more on economic issues, which is a smart move in New Hampshire. For a social conservative like Santorum, who has spent a lot of time in the state, or Huckabee, New Hampshire represents a significant challenge; where as Iowa may be more welcoming.

Here are the full results of the straw poll:

Conservatives push Mike Pence to run for president

While most observers believe that Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) will run for Governor of his home state in 2012, some conservatives are forming a group to encourage him to run for president:

A group of conservatives on Monday urged Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana to run for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, setting up an independent committee aimed at marshaling money and support on his behalf.

If it’s successful at pushing Pence into the race — he says he’ll decide by the end of January — the group hopes that it can help offset the financial advantage that better-known rivals enjoy, such as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney or former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Pence, 51, isn’t widely known and would have a small fund-raising base in Indiana. A former radio talk-show host who says he was first inspired by Rush Limbaugh, Pence has been elected to the House of Representatives five times from an Indiana district where the largest city is Muncie.

In the House he led a conservative charge against President George W. Bush’s move to expand Medicare to cover prescription drugs, complained about rising budget deficits under Republican rule and unsuccessfully challenged John Boehner of Ohio for leadership of House Republicans after the party lost control of the chamber in 2006.

He won the chairmanship of the House Republican Conference two years later, the third spot in the party’s leadership, but he stepped down at the start of this Congress as he wrestled over whether to run for president or governor of Indiana.

CNN, Fox News plan GOP presidential primary debates

With the first party presidential debate of the 2012 cycle already announced, two more GOP presidential debates are in the works to be broadcast on two cable news networks, according to Media Bistro.

Fox News and the South Carolina Republican Party are planning a debate in Greenville on May 5, 2011 (and another in 2012):

FOX News and the South Carolina Republican Party have jointly announced that they will present two presidential debates, which are expected to attract the top 2012 Republican contenders for President of the United States. The debates are currently scheduled to be presented live and exclusively on FOX News Channel (FNC), FOX News Radio, FOX News Mobile and

The initial debate will take place on May 5, 2011 at the Peace Center in Greenville, South Carolina. The second debate will be held in 2012 prior to the South Carolina primary at a location to be determined.

CNN is planning a debate for June 7, 2011 in Manchester, New Hampshire:

The New Hampshire Union Leader, WMUR-TV, and CNN are once again teaming up to present a Republican Presidential primary debate in America’s first primary state. The debate is scheduled for Tuesday, June 7, 2011 in Manchester, which will make it the first debate in the “First in the Nation” primary state of New Hampshire.

Information on the location and exact time of the New Hampshire debate will be forthcoming. The three news organizations have a long history of working together to host presidential debates in the state, most recently in 2007.

More Republicans express concern over tax deal

As action nears in the House on the tax compromise between President Barack Obama and Republicans, another Republican is expressing dissatifaction with the arrangement:

Count a future GOP committee chair as one of those icy on President Barack Obama’s tax compromise with Republicans.

California Rep. Darrell Issa, the future chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, said the tax bill that passed a key procedural hurdle Monday is “an incomplete effort that fails to create a permanent tax structure giving businesses the kind of long-term predictability needed to support investment, economic growth and job creation.”

Issa isn’t yet saying he’ll vote against it and even concedes that it avoids “massive and immediate tax increases that would harm our economy and kill more jobs.”

“While my vote will ultimately depend on the final bill brought to the floor of the House, the flawed last minute consideration of this proposal underscores the need for Congress to act decisively in the new year to support job creation, curb government spending and enact permanent tax reform,” Issa said in a statement to POLITICO.

Elder Bush endorses Romney

While Tax Hike Mike Huckabee matches the brand of intrusive, big spending and big government “compassionate” conservatism that he and his son pushed while in office, George H.W. Bush has named Mitt Romney as his favorite for 2012:

Asked by King who his personal favorite in 2012 is, Bush said, “Well, I mentioned [my son] Jeb, but he’s not going to try. So, I don’t. I don’t really. If you asked me, who will the nominee be, I couldn’t tell you. We like Mitt Romney. We know him well and like him very much.”

The informal endorsement comes three weeks after the midterm elections in which Republicans, partly on the backs of conservative Tea Party activists, took back control of the House and picked up six Senate seats and seven governorships. Their wins sparked talk that the party stands a good chance of defeating President Obama in 2012.
King asked Bush if Romney is “keeping with the Bush political stance,” as in being “middle of the road.”

“Don’t want to kill him off,” Bush replied before calling him a “reasonable guy” and a “conservative fellow.”

Of course, Barbara Bush’s humorous comment about Sarah Palin are what everyone has taken from this interview with Larry King.

GOP primary for president an open field

According to a Gallup survey, the Republican nomination for president in 2012 is basically open, with four potential candidates (Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Tax Hike Mike and Newt Gingrich) essentially tied for the lead.

Out of the “second-tier” names below, Tim Pawlenty and Haley Barbour have a good shot at making a run at the nomination.

Personally, I’m going with Gary Johnson for now.

First GOP presidential debate announced for Spring 2011

Even though we just wrapped up the mid-term election (though a handful of races are yet to be decided), the presidential election is just around the corner. This was something I noted last week on my personal blog. In case you don’t remember, the first debate for the Republican nomination for president for the 2008 cycle took place on May 3, 2007 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Semi Valley, California.

Yesterday, Politico and NBC announced the first debate for the 2012 cycle will take place “during the spring of 2011” at the same location, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. You can read the press release below.

We’ve compiled a list of potential candidates. We expect more names to be floated out there over the next several months, so we’ll be adding to it. But the obvious names are that you’re going to here are Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.

Ron Paul leads Barack Obama among independent voters

A new survey on prospective match-ups against Barack Obama in 2012 by Public Policy Polling shows that Ron Paul could be competitive (emphasis mine):

Polling close to Obama are Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney. The President leads Huckabee 46-44 and Romney 45-42. They both do a good job of consolidating the GOP vote and holding a solid advantage with independents.

Doing less well are Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, and Ron Paul. Obama has a 47-39 advantage over Gingrich, a 50-41 against Palin, and 46-36 edge matched against Paul.

One thing that’s very interesting about these numbers is that Ron Paul is the most popular out of the whole group with independents. They see him favorably by a 35/25 margin. The only other White House hopeful on positive ground with them is Romney at a +2 spread and they’re very negative on the rest: -5 for Huckabee, -16 for Gingrich and Palin, and -17 for Obama. All five of the possible GOP contenders lead Obama with independents, but Paul does so by the widest margin at 46-28.

That is encouraging. It means that independents are becoming more familiar with what Ron Paul has been saying over the last several years. Unfortunately, the GOP presidential primaries will come down between Tax Hike Mike, Multiple Choice Mitt and a couple others, maybe Tim Pawlenty and Mitch Daniels.

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