Wednesday, October 26, 2011
GOP Race Is Still Anybody's To Win
A new New York Times/CBS News Poll shows just how unsettled the race still is. The poll was conducted between October 19th and 24th of 455 Republican primary voters, and once again no candidate was able to get more than 25% voter support. Here is how the poll showed the candidates standing right now:
Note that only 74% of the Republican voters picked one of the eight candidates in the race. Another 23% said they wanted someone else or were undecided. Then the poll asked the 74% who had picked a candidate:
IS YOUR MIND MADE UP OR IS IT TOO EARLY TO SAY FOR SURE?
My mind is made up...............19%
Too early to say for sure...............80%
That's incredible. Doing a little math, we find that only about 14% of the total Republican voters in this poll have definitely made up their minds about who they will vote for. That means about 86% of the Republicans responding to the poll have NOT yet made up their mind to vote for a definite candidate.That's an incredible amount of fluidity in the race, considering that the first delegates will be chosen in about 9 weeks.
I think Mitt Romney's 21% is probably the most stable support of any of the candidates. That's because his support comes from the GOP establishment, and they are scared to death of all of the other candidates (feeling they are too far to the right-wing fringe to carry a national general election). But the GOP establishment is not going to choose the Republican candidate this year -- the teabagger base of the party will determine who the candidate will be.
Can Romney win over enough of the teabagger base to take the nomination? It's possible, but so far he hasn't shown any ability to do so. They simply don't trust him due to his moderate past positions, close ties to Wall Street, and mormon religious ties. Mitt's tried for months to convince them he's now a right-winger, but they just aren't buying it (at least not yet).
Right now, I think there are three candidates who have no chance of getting the nomination. Jon Huntsman never had a chance this year. He's just too moderate (and mormon) for the teabaggers. I think he's just trying to position himself for 2016, in the hope that the party will be ready to moderate its views a little by then. Rick Santorum's candidacy hasn't shown any signs of life since he declared himself a candidate, and he doesn't have the money to fix that. And then there's Michele Bachmann. She's not only broke, but her campaign is falling apart (her entire New Hampshire staff just quit). Her campaign is not just disorganized, it's pathetic.
That leaves four candidates (assuming Romney can't win over the teabaggers). They are Cain, Paul, Gingrich, and Perry. Herman Cain has the lead right now, but I still have a hard time thinking he can actually win the nomination. The Republicans have already tried having one token African-American (Michael Steele) and that didn't work out too well. I doubt they'll go that route again, especially considering that he has zero support in the African-American community.
Ron Paul has his libertarian base of support that are very loyal to him, but he has yet to show he can build on that base -- and his supporters only make up about 8-10% of the Republican voters. He has the money to stay in the race for a while, but needs to show he can add some teabaggers to his libertarians if he is to be taken as a real possibility.
I had believed the candidacy of Newt Gingrich was dead, but his campaign has shown some faint signs of life lately -- getting him back up to 9-10% in the polls. Could he be the flavor of the month in November (Like Perry was in September and Cain in October)? Maybe, but only if he can convince the evangelicals that his marriage problems are in the past and he is truly "born again".
But I wouldn't count Rick Perry out yet. I know he's fallen like a rock in the polls, but he still has around $17 million to spend and he's always been willing to sling as much mud as is necessary to win. I wouldn't bet against a Perry comeback in the next few weeks.
In 2008, the Democratic race went very late into the primary season before it was finally decided. I believe that will happen with the Republicans this year -- and may even go all the way to a teabagger-dominated convention. Very interesting.