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.
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.
We have yet another new poll out of Iowa today showing that the Rick Santorum surge is for real; at least right now. The poll, released by NBC, echoes others polls released this week by CNN and Rasmussen that show Santorum moving into third place overall. However, the NBC poll also shows Gingrich dropping to fifth.
- Mitt Romney: 23%
- Ron Paul: 21%
- Rick Santorum: 15%
- Rick Perry: 14%
- Newt Gingrich: 13%
- Michele Bachmann: 6%
Gingrich’s drop was aided by a substantial number of attack ads being run against by by super PACs and other campaigns. Perry has also seen a window of opportunity in recent days and attacking Santorum’s abysmal fiscal record, including his use of earmarks. Santorum’s defense is terrible.
The strangest development out of the state today is that Ron Paul will take this weekend off from the campaign trail to spend with his wife. With the caucus just a few days away, many observers are questioning the wisdom of such a move when public appearances to rally supporters are important. With that said, Paul does have a dedicated base of supporters that will no doubt continue working hard, but it helps to have the candidate there actively campaigning.
One of the most frequent, and perhaps best, arguments for Mitt Romney winning the Republican nomination is that he the most electable candidate. Of course, that relative given that the voters in a general election haven’t been exposed to his flaws the way Republicans have in what is his second bid for the nomination.
With that said, most polls do show Romney doing the best against President Barack Obama, including this most recent survey from Rasmussen, a polling firm that tends to favor Republicans:
- Obama: 39%
- Romney: 45%
Rasmussen has conducted recent surveys testing the strength of some of the candidates in the GOP field against Obama, and none of them poll quite as well. Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum trail by 10 points. Rick Perry trails by 12 and Michele Bachmann by 13. Trailing by 8 points, Ron Paul has the smallest margin with Obama among the rest of the field.
Interestingly, Romney does better in a head-to-head matchup with Obama than the “generic Republican.” In past polls, the so-called “generic Republican” often did better against Obama than the actual candidates in the field.
While I’m not much of a fan of Romney and would probably vote third party if he were the nominee, many friends and colleagues ask me which of the candidates can beat Obama. At this point, here’s your answer.
With less than a week to go before the Iowa caucus, the latest polls out of the Hawkeye State from CNN and Public Policy Polling show Ron Paul and Mitt Romney fighting for the top and Newt Gingrich falling.
The more shocking of the two polls is from CNN, who hasn’t conducted a survey in Iowa since earlier this month. As you can see below, both Paul and Romney have added modest support since the last poll (in parentesis to the side) while Gingrich has fallen substantially. But the wrinkle in that Santorum’s support has jumped by double-digits (remember what I wrote about him on Monday…don’t underestimate him).
- Mitt Romney: 25% (+5)
- Ron Paul: 22% (+5)
- Rick Santorum: 16% (+11)
- Newt Gingrich: 14% (-19)
- Rick Perry: 11% (+2)
- Michele Bachmann: 9% (+2)
- Jon Huntsman: 1% (—)
- None/No opinion: 2%
Public Policy Polling (PPP) also released polling on Tuesday, which I somehow overlooked, showing Paul still on top with Romney trailing him. PPP’s last poll from Iowa came out just before Christmas. You can also see that the uptick in Santorum’s support isn’t present as it is in the CNN poll.
Earlier this month it seemed as though Newt Gingrich was rolling. Herman Cain’s exit forced conservative voters to look for yet another “anti-Romney,” which led them to settle on Gingrich. There were three things that could hurt Gingrich’s campaign moving keeping them momentum; 1) his past record and statements 2) his arrogance and 3) lack of campaign organization.
The first two have certainly played part, though his record has been a more glaring problem than his arrogance as campaigns have pounded his relentlessly for backing big government. But the lack of campaign organization is just embarassing. Just last week, Gingrich was booted from the ballot in Virginia because he failed to turn in the proper amount of signatures (Rick Perry also failed to meet the requirements):
The Republican Party of Virginia announced early Saturday that Gingrich and Perry failed to submit 10,000 signatures of registered voters required to get their names on the ballot for the March 6 primary.
“After verification, RPV has determined that Newt Gingrich did not submit required 10k signatures and has not qualified for the VA primary,” the party announced on Twitter.
The rejection is a significant setback for the Gingrich campaign since he is leading the polls in Virginia among likely Republican voters and is seen as a strong contender for the nomination.
Perry’s campaign told state election officials it had submitted 11,911 signatures, and Gingrich’s campaign said it submitted 11,050 signatures. State party officials spent Friday night validating the signatures.
Just an interesting side note as this whole newsletter thing heats up (and, as I’ve already stated, Ron Paul needs to ditch Lew Rockwell and come totally clean), a new CNN/ORC poll shows that among the Republican candidates, Ron Paul has the highest amount of support from nonwhites (in a match-up against Barack Obama.) The report is here [PDF], but let me just extract the most interesting data for you:
As you can see, none of them is even close to Barack Obama in this demographic category, none. I’m also not sure what to make of it, to be honest. It is, however, an interesting datapoint to take note of during this exceptionally crazy nomination battle.
We have another poll coming out of Iowa. This one comes from Rasmussen Reports, a GOP-leaning firm. If you’re a Ron Paul or Newt Gingrich supporter, then you’re not going to like the results.
While the previous three polls out of the state — from Iowa State University, Public Policy Polling, and Insider Advantage — showed Paul with a anywhere from a 3-6 point lead, Rasmussen shows Romney building on his lead from the survey they conducted last week.
- Mitt Romney: 25% (+2)
- Ron Paul: 20% (+2)
- Newt Gingrich: 17% (-3)
- Rick Perry: 10% (—)
- Rick Santorum: 10% (+4)
- Michele Bachmann: 6% (-3)
- Jon Huntsman: 4% (-1)
- Other/Not sure: 9%
That’s not to say I don’t believe Rasmussen, but it looks like most are conceeding that Paul will win the Iowa caucus; though his chances for winning the nomination are still very low. The problem for Romney is that a Paul win in Iowa could have influence on the New Hampshire primary, where he needs to do will in order to not worry about South Carolina.
And let’s keep in mind that Iowa is a caucus state, which is different from a traditional primary. Campaign organization is key here, and we know that Romney is investing a lot of resources there — but he isn’t giving up on it either. Gingrich, from what I’ve heard, is struggling to build a solid team. And we shouldn’t underestimate Santorum, though we all want to. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him finish ahead of Gingrich.
As we approach the Iowa caucus, we’re seeing several new polls released that show Newt Gingrich’s lead over Mitt Romney has completely evaporated. Take the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll showing both at 30%, with Ron Paul following well behind them in third:
- Mitt Romney: 30%
- Newt Gingrich: 30%
- Ron Paul: 15%
- Rick Perry: 7%
- Michele Bachmann: 7%
- Rick Santorum: 3%
- Jon Huntsman: 3%
- None/No opinion: 5%
The Hill has some important takeaways from the poll, including that 36% of Republican voters could still change their minds before they cast their ballot:
The poll shows Romney might still be winning the electability argument, as 38 percent believed that of all the candidates, Romney “has the best chance to defeat Barack Obama in the general election,” compared to Gingrich’s 28 percent. However, Gingrich wins 43 percent compared to Romney’s 23 percent when voters were asked who “has the best experience to be president.”
Healthcare — and likely his support of the individual mandate in Massachusetts — still seems to be the major obstacle for Romney to overcome with voters, as 36 percent named it a “major reason to oppose” him as the nominee.