Rick Santorum

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.”

How can a candidate without core principles win the GOP nomination?

While none of his rivals have landed a punch on the health care issue — though it seems like Rick Santorum is on the right path, it is certainly something that Mitt Romney will continue deal with during his campaign as he bobs and weaves from his own past statements; as the Wall Street Journal notes:

The exchange began when Rick Santorum scored Mr. Romney for lacking health-care “credibility,” since the 2006 Bay State reform “was the basis for ObamaCare.” If the first claim is for primary voters to decide, no one who knows anything about health policy on the left or right would deny the second: When Democrats wrote the Affordable Care Act in 2009 and 2010, they borrowed liberally from Mr. Romney’s model.

If the plans are not identical in every detail, they share major phenotypes: an individual mandate to buy health insurance or else pay a penalty; large transfer payments to subsidize the middle class; and much more government control over how insurance plans are structured, how medical services are delivered, and how both are priced.

“This is something that was crafted for Massachusetts,” Mr. Romney responded in Las Vegas, repeating his stock answer. “It would be wrong to adopt this as a nation.” The former Governor says Mr. Obama’s plan “must be repealed” and then states can experiment with their own health-care solutions.
[…]
But the larger and more important point is that Mr. Romney continues to defend his Massachusetts plan as a success for precisely the same reasons that President Obama says it should be imposed on all states. In reality, the Massachusetts plan is not a success and its problems are the best refutation of the duo’s arguments.

Rick Santorum needs to get over himself

In case you didn’t catch it, the folks at Saturday Night Live lampooned the candidates for the Republican presidential nomination over the weekend (not the first time they’ve done it). Hilarity ensued.

The skit was pokes fun at the seemingly endless stream of debates that the candidates have gone through over the last few months (there is another one tonight!), including the recent Bloomberg debate. In this faux debate, Republican candidates are seated based on their likelihood of winning the GOP nomination. Mitt Romney and Herman Cain are seated in the studio along with Rick Perry, who is cast off to the side. Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich are locked in a janitor’s closet. Ron Paul was left in the parking deck of the studio. And Rick Santorum was left at a gay bar in San Francisco.

Santorum, whose only real constituency in the race is social conservatives, was apparently not very happy with the sketch:

Although Santorum, played by Andy Samberg, had only a limited roll in the sketch, he was portrayed as upset and uncomfortable.

New Hampshire radio station WGIR asked Santorum on Sunday about the sketch — the former Pennsylvania senator said that while he hadn’t yet seen it, he had been “hammered” for his support of conservative principles.

“We’ve been hammered by the left for my standing up for the traditional family and I will continue to do so,” Santorum said. “The left, unfortunately, participates in bullying more than the right does. They say that they’re tolerant, and they’re anything but tolerant of people who disagree with them and support traditional values.”

I’ve got no sympathy for Santorum. He is obviously entitled to his beliefs and opinions. That’s not in dispute, and it’s absurd for Santorum to say otherwise. This isn’t bullying. It’s damn fine comedy.

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.

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.

No, the crowd didn’t “boo” a gay soldier

Among the things that stuck in people’s minds from Thursday’s debate were some boos tossed the way of a gay soldier serving in Iraq who asked if Republicans hoping to become president would reinstate the now defunct “don’t ask, don’t tell” (or DADT) policy. As you can imagine, these served as fodder in the liberal blogosphere as they sought to use it to their advantage.

This was an incredibly unforunately incident, but the crowd didn’t erupt into boos at this soldier, who has both bravely served his country and revealed his sexual orientation. Accounts from inside the auditorum indictate that it was maybe a few idiots that sounded louder than they would have due to the acoutics of the room, and they were hushed by others around them (although that is inaudible in the audio). Have a listen for yourself:

ICYMI: Fox News-Google Republican Debate

In case you mussed it, here is the video of last night’s Republican presidential debate hosted by Fox News/Google, which was probably the best I’ve watched thus far:

Here are a few quick observations. While I’m not his biggest fan, Mitt Romney did very well. Rick Perry was unprepared and bombed. Gary Johnson was able to introduce himself, had the line of the night, and is reaping the rewards this morning. Last night was, by far, Ron Paul’s best performance in a debate. Michele Bachmann doesn’t matter anymore. Newt Gingrich is still a master of rhetoric. Herman Cain is good at giving sound bytes, but soft on substance. Jon Huntsman was marginalized. Rick Santorum bombed a question on DADT from a gay soldier, but really took an unprepared Perry to task on immigration (and I say this as someone that favors increased immigration and despises both Santorum).

Perry’s lead holds steady, Bachmann drops to fifth

Public Policy Polling, the Democratic-leaning firm, has new numbers in the race for the Republican nomination for president. As you may have guessed, Rick Perry still has a solid lead over Mitt Romney, but there is bad news for Michele Bachmann:

  • Rick Perry: 31%
  • Mitt Romney: 18%
  • Ron Paul: 11%
  • Newt Gingrich: 10%
  • Michele Bachmann: 9%
  • Herman Cain: 8%
  • Jon Huntsman: 2%
  • Rick Santorum: 2%
  • Other/Not sure: 8%

Perry and Romney are actually down by 2 points from the last Public Policy Polling survey in the race of announced candidates (ie. excluding Sarah Palin and Paul Ryan). Paul is up 5 points. Bachmann dropped by 7 points and has been surpassed by Gingrich, who may do a decent job in debate; but his share of the vote to his name recognition is small.

If other polls show a similar fall for Bachmann, she’s going to have a hard time justifying her campaign’s existence; not that this would discourage her from continuing along. However, this is more evidence that her thunder as been stolen as other, more electable candidates have entered the race.

Separately, Public Policy Polling notes that Perry is up big in the states of North Carolina and West Virginia, both of which will hold their primary on May 8th.

North Carolina

 


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