Start your engines: Will we have a better choice of drivers in 2012?Nicholas Kronos -- Monday, January 31, 2011 -- 05:44:24 PM
The 2012 presidential campaign--you know it's coming and starting already. Will anyone run we can actually be excited about?This thread is tagged:
(All users will see what tags exist for a thread. Please tag carefully!)
Romney is now up in Michigan and Arizona over Santorum.
These latest polls are after the debates and include Santorum's bad week prior to them. My guess was that his comments on birth control, the family, and religion would work against him, and it appears they are taking a toll on his support.
Yeah, I think for the second time Romney's been greatly helped by a debate performance. The first time was Florida. Now Arizona. I wish Santorum had come into the debate better prepared than he did.
i didn't watch the debates, but the clips of Santorum trying to defend his actions in the Senate and the Alren Specter endorsement was painful to watch.
i hope it continues.
I don't think so. Do you?
No, I don't. He's an evangelical Catholic (we see lots of them here in the South), and just like evangelical protestants, that scares off moderates, who are in either party and comprise many of the independents.
While this helps Santorum in the primaries, it is a significant problem for the general. Nor are his Washington ties helpful either.
Hard to say. I think they're much closer than they appear on paper. We can't discount the fact that if Santorum wins the nomination, he will have already proven to be a far more durable and attractive candidate than we initially gave him credit for.
Does Romney appeal more to moderates? Probably. But Santorum appeals more to the base and to white blue collar types, and Bush proved in 2004 that you can win a national election by having a solid and enthusiastic core rather than go to the middle. I also think that a MSM campaign against Santorum's social views will backfire if the price of gas stays high and the economy continues to suffer.
But it's close.
I think the key for victory for the GOP this autumn rests much more on the general context in which the election takes place, especially the economy, than it does on whether we pick Santorum or Romney or Mitch Daniels or Jeb Bush to be the nominee.
Scott Rasmussen says political junkies spend all their time talking about the relative strengths of the candidates and not enough time talking about the general context they run in, even though the latter is far more important. I completely agree.
Here's a short quiz demonstrating this point: ask yourself what was potentially the most important event of the week for helping the GOP win the election this fall.
1) Romney winning the debate?
2) Gingrich getting more money from his Las Vegas backer?
3) Santorum talking about contraceptives and religious freedom?
4) The price of gas going above $4 a gallon?
If your answer isn't number four, you don't get Rasmussen's point.
Just curious, I'm not following the candidates very closely as I concluded that Romney would win about a month ago and have been mostly ignoring the tactical updates since then. Does anyone more in tune with the news care to predict something other than a Romney win at this point?
Santorum's road will get a lot rougher if he fails to win MI; he needs to impress now to get $ to compete in Super Tuesday, so he's already sliding. Romney remains a weak nominee whose main strength is that he can afford to buy enough ads (and many extremely negative ads for a GOP primary race) to bury any primary opponent's messaging.
I bet I've watched this election as closely as anyone. Drudge was headlining the other day that this Arizona debate was the 20th of the campaign season. I've seen all but two of them. And I wouldn't wager serious money against Romney getting the nomination unless you gave me twenty to one.
But I was also the guy who thought John McCain couldn't come back and win the GOP nomination in 2008, so I can get these things really wrong.
There seems to be a growing desire on the part of many establishment Republicans to wrap up the primaries early so the party can immediately get behind a nominee and start taking on Obama.
What's the hurry? Is there any proof that finishing the primaries quickly and decisively gives a party an advantage in the general election?
If so, I don't see it. And I think I know the modern history of presidential elections as well as or better than most political junkies.
Put aside the obvious exceptions of incumbent presidents who are challenged in the primaries by determined and resilient political foes. I think most people would agree that Carter/Kennedy in 1980 and even Bush/Buchanan in 1992 are a strikingly different phenomena from what we see in this year's Republican primary. In those elections, sitting presidents were being challenged by a member of their party because their presidencies were widely perceived as failures. In this year's GOP primary, several candidates of more or less equal stature are vying for the opportunity to represent the party.
To simplify things, let's look at the other primaries in one of two ways. We'll classify them as "seriously contested" or "not seriously contested". Seriously contested means that the nominee was still in reasonable doubt just before Super Tuesday (or early March).
Thus, the 1976 GOP primary between Ford and Reagan would be seriously contested, but not the 1996 GOP primary between Bob Dole and Pat Buchanan/Steve Forbes. On the Democratic side, the 2008 contest between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama would be seriously contested, but not the 2000 primary between Al Gore and Bill Bradley.
On the Democratic side, there's definitely no correlation between finishing the primaries early and having success in the general election. The seriously contested primaries in 1972, 1984, and 1988 certainly gave no joy that November for Democrats. But they were more successful in 1976, 1992, and 2008, even though those primaries were also seriously contested.
In the two years Democrats lined up behind a nominee early (2000 and 2004), they lost both general elections by close margins.
Republicans tend to make up their minds more quickly than Democrats. They are less likely to tarry before lining up behind a nominee. Until this year, only one modern election was seriously contested, and that was the 1976 campaign between Ford and Reagan. Even so, Ford lost that year's general election by a very close margin, and was even leading Carter in some polls before his Poland gaffe in the second presidential debate. So it doesn't appear he was crippled by the long primary season.
The only other possible primary campaign which might be called extended would be the one in 2008, but even that contest was considered over by most serious observers when McCain won Florida's primary on January 29th.
All the other modern GOP primaries were over fairly quickly, with the eventual GOP nominee winning at least forty primaries and caucuses in 1980, 1988, 1996, and 2000. Republicans won three out of those four general elections, but one of the victories was skin-tight.
So I don't see it. Wrapping up the nomination early can mean you're a Bob Dole or John Kerry. Taking your time to wrap it up can mean you're a Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter. There doesn't seem to be any reason to believe that finishing the primaries early is helpful to a nominee's success in the general election. It appears to be nothing more than an urban legend of political elites who are fussed over some unimportant aspect of an election they perceive as too messy.
BTW, for these kinds of comparisons, I never consider Gerald Ford to be an incumbent since he was appointed, not elected, to the presidency.
The only thing I will say is that all the infighting tends to burn through a lot of money. And Obama has a reputation as a fund-raising superhuman. So perhaps part of the fear is that the Republican winner will be so poor that Obama will crush him.