As mentioned in today’s GOP Presidential Power Rankings, Mitt Romney now leads in South Carolina, an important early primary state, and Newt Gingrich has fallen to third thanks to a surging Rick Santorum.
Here are the results of the new Rasmussen poll:
- Mitt Romney: 27%
- Rick Santorum: 24%
- Newt Gingrich: 18%
- Ron Paul: 11%
- Rick Perry: 5%
- Jon Huntsman: 2%
Romney’s lead has also been confirmed by surveys conducted by Public Polling Polling and CNN/Time, and he’s outside of the margin of error in those polls. This is obviously good news for Romney, who may wind up with a clean sweep of the four January primaries. The bad news for Romney is that Gingrich still has time to impact the race in the two weeks between the New Hampshire and South Carolina primary.
Speaking of Santorum; yes, he has managed to receive a bump in the polls, but his numbers are really limited to social conservatives. Fiscal conservatives are rightfully skeptical of him and are largely staying with other candidates. That gives you the feeling that Santorum has reached ceiling.
Over the last few weeks, Rick Santorum has made it increasingly clear that he is not a libertarian. We already knew this. Last summer, Santorum expressed concern about libertarian influence inside the Republican Party, not just in terms of our views on social issues, but he seems to have rejected economic views in the Tea Party movement:
Without question, Santorum’s record is one of supporting big government. As noted last week, he likes to knock others on entitlements, but never seems to own up to his own support for expanding them. Others in the conservative movement are noting Santorum’s backing for increased government power in the economy.
Over the last year, the National Labor Relations Board has rightly riled Republicans and business owners alike due to its suit against Boeing. The suit, which sought to prevent the airline manufacturer from opening a new plant in South Carolina, had support from union thugs bosses and Democrats — including ex-Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but was recently dropped after an agreement was reached; however, the precedent was set.
The damage continued last month as the NLRB forced through new rules that would, as Labor Union Report explains, “[strip] of due process from the minority of employers who challenge the validity of a union’s petitioned-for voting unit.”
Given these controverisal moves, you’d think President Barack Obama would tread carefully in an election year. But in an unprecendented move yesterday, he appointed three new members to the NRLB, bypassing the Senate confirmation process:
Now that Rick Santorum has managed to get some attention after a good showing in Iowa, more information is coming out about his big government past. I touched on this earlier this week, noting that Santorum backed expanding entitlements and bloated budgets. But more pundits are starting to pay attention to his record.
Writing at the National Review, Michael Tanner explains that Santorum is pretty much in line with the “compassionate conservativism” offered by George W. Bush:
When Hillary Clinton was justly excoriated by conservatives for her book It Takes A Village, which advocated greater government involvement in our lives, Rick Santorum countered with his book, It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good, which advocated greater government involvement in our lives. Among the many government programs he supported: national service, publicly financed trust funds for children, community-investment incentives, and economic-literacy programs in “every school in America” (italics in original).
Santorum’s voting record shows that he embraced George Bush–style “big-government conservatism.” For example, he supported the Medicare prescription-drug benefit and No Child Left Behind.
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.
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.
After months of harassment, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has dropped the complaint against Boeing after the aircraft manufacturer reached a deal with the its labor union to raise wages:
The National Labor Relations Board announced on Friday that it was dropping its politically charged case against Boeing, in which it had accused the company of violating federal labor law by opening a new aircraft production plant in South Carolina instead of Washington State.
The labor board’s acting general counsel, Lafe Solomon, said he had decided to end the case after the union that represents 31,000 Boeing workers in Washington urged the board to withdraw it. That union, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, had originally asked the board to file the case, but changed its mind after striking a deal with Boeing last week to raise wages and expand jet production in Washington.
After months of sharp rhetoric, Boeing and the machinists announced a surprise agreement on a new contract last week. Last week, Local 751 of the machinists’ union announced that 74 percent of its Boeing workers in Washington State had voted to ratify a four-year contract extension that included substantial raises, unusual job security provisions and Boeing’s commitment to expand aircraft production in the Puget Sound area.
The union then asked the labor board to withdraw the case.
Mr. Solomon said he was delighted that Boeing and the union had settled their dispute. “The case was always about the loss of future jobs in the Seattle area,” he said. “This agreement has resolved that issue. There is job security in the Washington area.”
With less than a month to go until the Iowa caucus, a new poll from ABC News and the Washington Post shows him opening his lead on Mitt Romney and Ron Paul among likely caucus-goers:
Gingrich, according to the survey, has advantages that extend well beyond the horse race that put him in an enviable position in the final weeks before the state’s Jan. 3 caucuses, which serve as the formal start of the long nominating season. On electability, empathy and handling the economy, he does as well as or better than former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who has long been described as the nominal front-runner for the nomination, or Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.).
With 33 percent support among likely caucus-goers in the new poll, Gingrich runs well ahead of his two main rivals, Romney and Paul, a libertarian whose passionate following and anti-government rhetoric have made him a durable force in the race. Both are at 18 percent.
But Iowa Republicans are far from decided. More than six in 10 potential caucus-goers say they could change their minds, and even among the likeliest attendees, fewer than half say they have definitely chosen a candidate.
Of the top three, Paul’s supporters are the most solid, followed by Gingrich’s and Romney’s.
Here are the full results of the poll:
During a recent interview with CNBC, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) should shut down the new Boeing plant in South Carolina:
This is a pretty big deal. One reason is because workers in South Carolina have decertified their union, a point noted recently by the Heritage Foundation, so this is a non-issue that Democrats and Big Labor are trying desperately to drum up:
Pelosi may or may not know that workers at the South Carolina plant in question voted resoundingly (199-68) to decertify their union two years ago. Government policies that would close the plant for being a non-union shop would simply be punishing those workers for exercising their right to determine union representation for themselves.
“The Administration is trying to foist unions on workers, whether they want them or not, whether union representation would help them or not,” Heritage’s James Sherk noted in response to Pelosi’s statement. As for the more general issue of Boeing’s suit, Sherk called it “a good way of discouraging businesses from building new factories or plants.”
It’s been a couple of weeks since our last round of the GOP Presidential Power Rankings. Rick Perry has dropped off dramatically, though his fundraising is very solid, and Herman Cain has risen substantiall in the polls. Mitt Romney’s support has remained steady, but that’s not exactly a promising sign. But we’ll get to that in a minute…