PPP Polling released one dozen polls this week, in which they asked GOP mid-term election voters, their preference in 2012 for the Presidential Nomination. They will release 6 more early next week. The results are varied and wide open to interpretation, spin and general political grandstanding, depending on which potential candidate you support. One result, which permeates through all the polls, is there appears to be no clear front-runner at the present time.
The current Republican field and the top ranks of most polls, are currently dominated by the “Big Four” - Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney, all of whom were showcased, in form or another, in the 2008 election. Currently a lot of the talk is centered on who is in or out. However, other voices are raising concern about how these potential candidates are all flawed and are failing to excite the base.
Now the Palin and Huckabee supporters, with their patented low threshold for criticism, will bristle and say they hold unwavering support for their respective and untainted choices. Those opposed, dismiss them as media stars, more likely interested in fattening their wallets than setting up shop at
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
The ever ardent Romney fans, will insist he’s the man to beat, citing a resume of reasons why, while cynical (and perhaps slightly envious) detractors insist he has no base and any support he has managed to muster is butter soft and spread precariously thin.
The opinion on Gingrich seems to be unanimous. Almost everyone believes he will not run and is viewed as merely a place holder until someone better comes along. (To date I have yet to see one pro-Gingrich 2012 post on ROS, Right Speak or any other blogsite. Who exactly is supporting this guy?) Still others contend this would be Gingrich’s last real chance, as age and an emerging new breed of Republicans would prohibit any thoughts beyond 2012.
So a large percentage of the GOP currently reside in the ranks of the undecided or are looking to support one of the candidates from the “Second Tier” – Governors Tim Pawlenty or Mitch Daniels; Senator John Thune or Representative Mike Pence. These reticent Republicans are not enthused with the top tier and are looking for someone to breakout from next level. While this has happened in the past, it is more likely to occur in the Democratic Party than in the GOP – at least before the rise of the Tea Party.
Looking at the “Breakout from the Back” scenario in today’s New York Times, political prognosticator Nate Silver offers some interesting insights, opinions and reflections, on the plausibility of this theory, under the current conditions. He thoughts are based on the having the field dominated by so many prominent top-contenders and the ability of a second stringer to lap them. Silver draws the situation Pawlenty, Daniels, Pence and Thune are in thusly;
“The analogy is to a baseball team that is 7 games out of first place at the All-Star break: how likely is this team to come back and win its division?
The answer depends to a great extent on how many other teams separate them from the first-place team. If they’re in second place in a two-team race, their odds really aren’t so bad: they just have to get hot, or the other team has to wilt down the stretch run, and they’ll have a pretty good chance.
But if they’re in, say, fifth place between a tightly-bunched group of front-runners (even if those front-runners are flawed in various ways), then making up a 7-game deficit is quite difficult.
There’s now almost no chance that they can win just by watching the first-place team fold: the second-, third- and fourth-place teams would all have to do so as well. Instead, they’ll have to get really hot — and even if they do, they’ll have to hope none of the four teams in front of them get as hot or hotter.
It’s an interesting take on the current state of play and something to keep in the back of one’s mind, when accessing the upcoming campaign. Many factors will go in shaping the 2012 race; there will gaffes and mistakes; scandals- real and manufactured; unforeseen events – both fortuitous and ill timed. Candidates will burn out, flop, peak to early, fade and rebound, until one will ultimately emerge victorious.