As we approach the South Carolina Primary, one thing has become painfully clear: Mitt Romney is running away with this nomination. Even if he somehow loses South Carolina, it appears he has Florida in the bag, and his debate answer on Monday about Social Security should have closed that door. With this reality upon us, I feel it appropriate to analyze who and what happened to get to this point.
Quick Take: She changed the way people look at white dresses forever.
Post-Mortem: I’ve stated before that Bachmann held a purpose in Congress, that purpose was to call out big spending. Granted, she has not been known for putting bills through that actually make a difference. More to the point, she was consistently getting airtime pointing out needless spending. Her campaign had this consistent message and was especially focused on Obamacare. It was a series of over dramatized answers and a Gardasil gaffe that ultimately sunk her campaign. The combination simply did not appear presidential.
Quick Take: Huh, turns out leading with “legalize pot” in the GOP doesn’t work after all.
Post-Mortem: A candidate that I have felt brought the most common sense approach to the issues facing the nation along with a record as Governor of New Mexico that proves his commitment to his stances. Shortly before the Iowa primary, Johnson went LP, a better fit for him in my opinion.
Ultimately, his delivery was ineffective in convincing the GOP base that his ideas were the direction the GOP needed to go. His ideas are already supported within the Libertarian Party which should allow him to concentrate more on the issues and less with convincing social conservatives that liberty is essential.
Tonight is a big night for Mitt Romney; and even if he “wins” New Hampshire, he may very well “lose.” There is little doubt that he is coming off a victory by winning in Iowa, though by a very small margin, even though he didn’t spend a lot of money. He lost the state four years ago, despite spending millions.
As you can guess, Romney has an advantage in the Granite State since he served for four years as Governor of neighboring Massachusetts. Needless to say, he is expected to perform well there. However, Romney has a threshold he needs to cross, even though he’ll win, for it not to be considered a disappointment.
Polls have showed that Romney has fallen off some in recent days. Last week, for example, Suffolk University’s daily tracking poll showed Romney hitting 44%. But by the weekend, he’d dripped to 33%. Though he maintains a double-digit lead over his closest rivals in the state, Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman. Today’s Suffolk poll shows Romney at 37%.
Romney needs to receive 40% or more of the vote in order him to walk away from New Hampshire with confidence. If he falls below that mark, expect to hear his rivals and conservative talking about how his nomination isn’t inevitably. And they’re right to a certain extent, this election cycle has taught us that nothing is a certainty.
Also, Huntsman’s future in the race may be determined this evening. If he finishes third or furthers down, he may well exit by the morning. A second place finish would likely keep him in the race until at least Florida.
Shortly before 3am, the Iowa Republican Party declared that Mitt Romney had won the Iowa caucus over Rick Santorum, who appeared out of nowhere to be a serious player, by just eight votes (both had 25% of the vote) in what is the closest race ever in the state. Ron Paul, who was among the frontrunners going into Tuesday, finished in 3rd with 21%.
Here are the full results (numbers are rounded up via CNN):
- Mitt Romney: 25%
- Rick Santorum: 25%
- Ron Paul: 21%
- Newt Gingrich: 13%
- Rick Perry: 10%
- Michele Bachmann: 5%
- Jon Huntsman: 1%
The next week is going to be really interesting. Gingrich seems to be ready to go scorched earth on Romney, which may have long-term implications. Rick Perry stopped short of dropping out last night, but said that he would be heading back to Texas today to determine his next step. Read between the lines here, because Perry is supposed to be in South Carolina today. Surprisingly, Bachmann gave no sign that she is dropping out, but the indication is that she will drop today after cancelling a trip to South Carolina. She’ll hold a press conference in Iowa in about an hour.
We’ll have more on all of this and its implications.
We’re almost there, folks. Tomorrow, Iowans will head to the various caucus locations to cast there ballots for the Republican nomination for president. Who is the favorite right now? It’s hard to say, because three candidates are in a dogfight for the top.
On New Year’s Eve, the Des Moines Register released their final poll for the caucus showing Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, and Rick Santorum rounding out the top, in that order:
- Mitt Romney: 24% (+8)
- Ron Paul: 22% (+4)
- Rick Santorum: 15% (+9)
- Newt Gingrich: 12% (-13)
- Rick Perry: 11% (+5)
- Michele Bachmann: 7% (-1)
- Jon Huntsman: 2% (—)
While the poll shows Romney and Paul in a virtual tie for the top, here is the kicker; Santorum took 21% in that final two days of the poll, which is leading many pundits to say that he is the likely favorite heading into tomorrow.
Public Policy Polling also released their final poll for the caucus. They too show Santorum surging, though still in third. There is bad news, despite leading in the poll, for Paul:
- Ron Paul: 20% (-4)
- Mitt Romney: 19% (-1)
- Rick Santorum: 18% (+8)
- Newt Gingrich: 14% (+1)
- Rick Perry: 10% (—)
- Michele Bachmann: 8% (-3)
- Jon Huntsman: 4% (—)
We’ll go over more in these polls in our rankings.
We’re just a week away from the first votes being cast in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Now that Christmas is behind us, look for news out of the Hawkeye State to be non-stop over the next week. We’ll be posting whatever polls come out and we’ll do one final Power Ranking on Monday.
You can see the latest polling out of Iowa here.
Ron Paul: Depending on the polls, Ron Paul is either in first by himself or his is in a statistical tie. His campaign has the best organization, but the recent coverage of the 20 year-old newsletters could threaten his momentum. It’s too early to say he’ll win, but if his campaign can stay on message, Paul could shock the establishment, which will be fun to watch.
Mitt Romney: Recent polls show Romney gaining some ground in Iowa, and he is seeking to capitalize on it by going on a three-day bus tour of the state in advance of the January 3rd caucus. If he wins the caucus and then wins New Hampshire with a decent enough margin, Romney may very well see a boost in other early and put talk of a long, drawn-out primary to bed.
Newt Gingrich: While he managed to benefit in the polls with Herman Cain’s exit from the race, Gingrich hasn’t pieced together a strong team in Iowa. This matter since a well organized ground game is important in getting people to locations to cast their vote. It would be unwise to say Gingrich “won’t win,” but it certainly seems unlikely.
Guess what? The race for the Republican nomination has been shaken up again. Many of us saw Herman Cain’s downfall coming, it was only a matter of time. But still the fact that he lasted this far into the race is concerning given his lack of experience and complete lack of knowledge on some of the most basic issues, including foreign policy.
It looks as though Newt Gingrich has been able to capitalize on Cain’s misfortune and, as noted earlier, seems like to receive an endorsement. Gingrich leads in six of the last nine national polls, hold a single-digit lead in Iowa, and double-digit leads in Florida and South Carolina. Mitt Romney still leads in New Hampshire, but Gingrich and Ron Paul are gaining steam.
This primary has been crazy. There is a significant portion of the Republican electorate that is determined to make sure that Mitt Romney doesn’t win the party’s nomination. It’s hard to blame them given his frequent position changes and refusal to back away from RomneyCare, which — as I so frequently note — was the basis for ObamaCare.
In the last two weeks, we’ve seen Herman Cain’s campaign implode due to the handling of the past accusations sexual harassment and another series of embarrassing gaffes. As expected, the next candidate in line for conservatives — who have gone through Cain, then Bachmann, then Perry, and then Cain again — is Newt Gingrich, whose campaign was all but dead in the water a few months ago.
Rick Perry, looking to get back on top of the GOP primary, has unveiled a new reform plan that will “uproot, tear down and rebuild Washington, D.C. and our federal institutions,” as he puts it:
Blasting the congressional “creatures of Washington” for being overpaid and detached from the struggles of the people outside the Beltway, Texas Gov. and GOP presidential hopeful Rick Perry vowed Tuesday to eliminate federal agencies, set term limits for federal judges and push for a part-time Congress where both members’ pay and office budgets are sliced in half.
The three-term governor, speaking on a campaign swing in Bettendorf, Iowa, said he would lead by example by cutting his salary as president until the federal budget is balanced, and said that lawmakers who use information to profit from stock trades should go to jail — in what appeared to be a clear reference to recent news reports alleging insider trading involving House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
“I do not believe Washington needs a new coat of paint, it needs a complete overhaul,” Mr. Perry said, according to prepared remarks. “We need to uproot, tear down and rebuild Washington, D.C. and our federal institutions.”
I’m reading his actual plan right here, and I have to say, there are some good ideas here, and one very bad one.
It’s been awhile since we’ve posted the GOP Presidential Power Rankings. Honestly, I needed a break from the race. But with the first votes being cast on January 3rd in Iowa, we need to crank it up again.
- We are now less than a year away from the 2012 Presidential Election; 364 days to be exact (November 6, 2012).
- The latest numbers from Gallup show Obama and Romney tied. However, he leads Perry and Cain both nationally and in “swing states.”
- A generic Republican beats Obama on key issues in swing states.
- Jim Pethokoukis notes a recent election forcast model showing that the odds of Obama being re-elected are declining.
- Whoever wins the GOP primary will, along with Obama, face a skeptical electorate.
- Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) will not endorse in the GOP primary.
One suspects that the above title might be the new slogan for the Republican Party, with the joint being the Internal Revenue Service’s buildings. Why? Because now Gov. Perry has unveiled a flat tax plan:
The code that Perry is proposing would feature a 20% personal income and corporate tax, the elimination of Social Security and capital gains taxes, and the preservation of popular deductions for mortgage interest and charitable giving. Under the “cut, balance, and grow” plan, tax loopholes for corporations would be phased out while the standard exemption for those earning $500,000 or less would be increased to $12,500.
His economic team believes that those changes, combined with deep spending cuts and entitlement reforms including a gradual increase in the retirement age, will encourage so much growth and save families and corporations so much in compliance costs that the budget could be balanced by 2020.
One thing I am glad Perry’s team admits is that the tax, by itself, will not fix our problems. They say “combined with deep spending cuts and entitlement reforms”. That is what we need to fix our problems; however, if we need to have a discussion about tax policy first to get there, then so be it.