With the Fox News/Washington Examiner debate about 24 hours away, and the critical Iowa Caucus just 5 days away, we thought it might be of interest to look at how the announced Republican candidates for the 2012 Presidential election are doing. We are not considering Texas Gov. Rick Perry, nor any of the minor candidates without national recognition in the ranking, though they will be discussed in the analysis.
As a total, based on polls from August 2nd – August 9th (from Public Policy Polling, Quinnipiac University Poll, Rasmussen Report) covering 7 States (IA, FL, MI, NV, PA, VA, VT), the race looks like this:
- Mitt Romney leads with 23.86% over 7 States
- Rep. Michelle Bachmann is in second with 15.14% over 7 States
- Surprisingly third is Undecided voters with 12.33% in 6 States
- Fourth goes to Rep. Ron Paul with 8.57% over 7 States
- Fifth is Rick Santorum with 7.5% but only 2 States
- Sixth in percentage but far more States than fifth place is Hermain Cain with 7.14% over 7 States
- Next is former Speaker Newt Gingrich at 6.14% over 7 States
- The choice of None of the Above comes in at 6% for 3 States
- Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty has 3.71% from 7 States
- Jon Huntsman trails the pack with 1.3% over 6 States
While we do not count this in our official breakdown we should add 2 key notable figures: Gov. Rick Perry who has 13.43% over 7 States, and former Gov. Sarah Palin with 10.3% over 3 States.
Thus almost anything is possible. Due to the large margin of undecided voters in the majority of States since August 2nd, we could see ANY candidate take the lead if they perform well in the next debate and in Iowa. Even a currently unknown minor candidate could enter the race with a strong position. But there are certain probabilities on the results.
We expect that after the FOX/Examiner debate and Iowa, Jon Huntsman will be out of the race. He has not been a factor, and barring a miraculous performance, we see his hopes of being President ending in 6 days.
We expect that Rick Santorum will continue after the debate and Iowa, possibly improving his exposure and influence on Republicans, but he is fighting an uphill battle. Most likely he will not be in the race after September. He has virtually no traction in the vital mid-west, which we do not see substantially improving.
Also we expect that Former Speaker Newt Gingrich is not a factor in the Republican race for nomination. His campaign has been plagued with defection of staff, poor funding, and negative media attention. It’s a combination that will not allow him to move forward in any reall importance. But we suspect that Gingrich will continue until Mid-October to November, when his funding will be gone, promoting issues that he feels strongly about.
Former Gov. Palin has been on the sidelines for far too long. At this point she is not factor in the race. Her entry at this point would likely split the votes from Rep. Ron Paul and Rep. Michelle Bachmann. That would hurt all 3 candidates and none would emerge with the lead.
Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty must make his stand in Iowa. Without a 3rd place finish, we cannot see him going beyond November, if that far. He has gained no traction among voters across the country. His image lacks energy and conviction compared to the other candidates, and he is too subdued to challenge Mitt Romeny effectively.
This leaves Romney, Bachmann, Perry, Paul and Cain. We are assuming that Gov. Perry steps into the race, as he has alluded to and all pundits expect. These are the real contenders for the Republican nomination in 2012.
We expect that as in years past, Rep. Ron Paul will not take the Republican ticket. He will maintain about a 10 – 12% core of Republicans, fluctuating at times based on the economy and the impact of the dbet and credit rating of the nation. But his major positions will remain a mostly fringe and too-far-outside-the-norm position for most Republicans. Add to this his lack of eloquence (as compared to President Obama) and the writing is on the wall. But he will be in the race until the end.
Herman Cain is also likely to not make the finish line. Though he is a motivating speaker, and an accomplished businessman, he continues to be plagued by gaffes that isolate voters. We will add that he is fighting the unmentioned yet real stigma of trying to be the next Black President. While there is no poll or official statement about it, the reality is that America remains a nation biased by race (though not nearly as badly as we have been in the past). This, plus the realization that President Obama was not what he presented himself as, weighs on Cain and his campaign. The racial aspect is surrmountable – but it requires Cain to move past his prior gaffes and allows no room for any others. It also does not take into account his health, which his cancer survival would surely bring up in a Presidential race.
We expect that he will finish the race for the 2012 nomination in 4th. A decent showing and leaving him the potential for a future run.
Thus there are only 3 real choices going forward at this time. Mitt Romney, Rep. Bachmann, and Gov. Perry – in that order. While the debate and Iowa may make a big difference for Rep. Bachmann and Romney, Gov. Perry will not announce himself as a candidate (based on the latest news) until those 2 are settled. Having not heard the positions and platform of Gov. Perry, we cannot evaluate his chances.
We will not try to predict more than we have at this point. Many things may change. As the poll indicate, there is a large and critical number of Republicans that either are unsure or disapprove of the candidates at this point. The candidate that can sway these voters can change everything. It may happen in the FOX News – Washington Examiner debate tomorrow at 9pm. It may occur in Iowa. Or it may take longer. But whnever these undecided votes commit, the real race and leaders will be revealed.