Thursday, June 9, 2011

Is Mr. Romney in a better position than Mr. Huckabee was a few months back?

In part because we do not know who is running and we do not know exactly what is going on at the congressional level or even at the state level in many cases, it is difficult to pin point exactly where the political landscape stands with regards to the whole Primary process. However, as inaccurate as certain polls may be, we do have a variety of polls (with different results and different sets of candidates) that give us clues as to where the race stands. As of right now, some elements in the Romney camp claim that not only is Mr. Romney the frontrunner, he is so far ahead that he cannot be stopped. On the other extreme, some argue that he is not the front runner at all. I for one state that as of this moment, he is the definite front runner, but at the same time, I would not say he is a strong front runner per se.
Again, many Romneyite as well as some Palinites and other would disagree, but I for one would argue that prior to his announcement to not seek thenomination, I argue that Mr. Mr. Huckabee was the front-runner at the time he withdrew. Many can point to a variety of polls where Mr. Huckabee was either not winning in terms of national per cent or at if he was ahead, it certainly was within the margin of error. However, I argue that if we look at the current delegate rules, (and yes not only are these rule subject to be tweaked, I realize that not all states will vote on the same day) Mr. Huckabee certain would win the delegate race because of his strength in the South and in rural areas.
By last Christmas, to one degree or another both Mr. Romney and Mrs. Palin slipped enough in popularity to give Mr. Huckabee a lead in a hypothetical delegate race. He probably could have got 800 delegates by February. Meanwhile, Mr. Romney would probably be just over 500 delegates with Mrs. Palin a little under. Eventually Mr. Trump entered the race, Mrs. Palin dipped further and Mr. Romney, Dr. Paul and Mr. Gingrich stayed level for a while. Even with Mr. Trump in the race, Mr. Huckabee would have likely received 600 delegates on the day before he left the race. By default, Mr. Romney went from about 500 to over 600 delegates overnight. Mr. Trump then left the race and Mrs. Palin did not get her fair share of Huckabeeites and Trumpians and despite Mrs. Bachmann and Mr. Pawlenty starting to gain a bit of traction, Mr. Romney then jumped to well over 700 delegates.
Mr. Daniels left the race, but because Mr. Cain then caught on like wild fire, and Mr. Guiliani and Mr. Christie made a bit of noise, Mr. Romney dropped back to about 650 delegates. Since then, Mrs. Palin went back on to the upswing, Mr. Gingrich went on the downswing, Mr. Cain has stabilized, Mr. Christie has been making less noise poll wise and the two folk from Minnesota continue to advance forward on balance a little bit.
While, Mr. Romney may have cross the 20% mark in terms of national popular vote (such was probably not achieved by Mr. Huckabee.) Mrs. Palin is probably at least in the mid-teens now in term of national popular vote. So although she may not be far behind, Mr. Romney’s popular vote lead over Mrs. Palin (the current next closest rival) is at least beyond the margin of error according to most polls. So while Mr. Huckabee could probably claim a popular vote lead over his rival(s,) it would be difficult to argue that it was beyond the margin of error. Geography is not the only reason that Mr. Romney is not running away while the delegate count yet. In many states, not all, there could easily be 7 or 8 candidates who would probably cross the 5% line (which would entitle them to at least one delegate.) This does not include the additional 3 delegates per CD they’d get in certain cases. This is a double edge sword. One the one hand, a crowded field (the vacuum left by Mr. Huckabee, Mr. Trump and others) leaves Mr. Romney with about only one fifth or so of all the voters. Not very impressive in deed, but most front-runner need to crack the 30% mark at some point even in a somewhat crowed field. On the other hand, he only has at best one person literally breathing down his neck; where as Mr. Huckabee had two or three serious rivals at one point who were not far behind in popularity.
To be sure, the dust will continue to settle, we will have a better and better idea of who is running and the Undecideds (or former Huckabeeites, and Trumpians among other) will eventually find a new home. So no doubt, Mr. Romney will inch forward at the same time, a non Romneyite candidate (be it Mrs. Palin or somebody else) will also inch forward. The Romneyites can simply argue that among other things, the race is all, but over because Mr. Romney is leading in all the early states. Yes, as of this moment, he appears to have some kind of lead in all the early states. However, as sure as we do not have a national primary day, history has shown us that it is possible for things to change from June of the year prior to a Presidential race until the caucuses and primary voting begins. The cookie will crumble further and it is still unclear who gets the various crumbs in the end. If a candidate can win all early states by a significant margin, the race is over, but if a candidate cannot beat expectations and win a significant amount of both delegates and popular vote, the process could become somewhat exciting shall we say.
In short, I actually agree believe that on balance Mr. Romney is in a better situation now than Mr. Huckabee was. At the same time it is not all cut and dry and it is more complex than many might think.


GetReal said...

Good work OJ. I can't find anything you said here that I don't agree with.

marK said...

Yes, excellent analysis. This is the OJ we all know and love.

By the way, any Romneyite who is claiming the race all but over is a fool. Mitt had the race sewn up November 2007 as I recall. They were talking a clean sweep of the primaries and caucuses.

It turned out a bit different if you will remember. :-)

Anonymous said...

Fair and balanced, OJ, thanks.

I did want to bring up another factor than delegates in early states that is a glaring difference between Romney and Huckabee. The ability to raise MONEY. While money is certainly not the only factor in a campaign, it is foolish to deny that it is a significant one. Mitt Romney is really capable at raising money; Huckabee, not so much.

Huckabee was able to do what he did in Iowa in 2008 on a shoestring budget, but 2012 would almost surely have been a different type of campaign for him. Money would have been much more important this time around.

Sarah Palin can raise money, which is something that will play out if she enters the race. Other candidates raise money in varying degrees, although Mitt certainly can raise money.

Just wanted to point this out.


Ohio JOE said...

Yes, that is a fair point AZ, I did not touch on money per se. Trationally, one could choose winner by money alone, but that is not always the case. Otherwise, Mr. Santorum would still be a Senator among other things. But yes, factors like money cannot be totally ignored. I admit that Mr. Romney also has other factors is his favor as well as disfavor, it will be interesting to find out.

Anonymous said...

Great job OJ.

I hadn't heard anyone claim it's all wrapped up for Romney, though. I tend to think he still has a long road ahead.


GetReal said...

Some people do claim that, Martha - although I think its mostly fakes.

Ian said...


This was a very good article and I can see many of your points. Very fair and balances analisis. As a Romneyite I do hope that people will be able to see that he is what we need right now. I also believe that at this moment in time Romney is the frontrunner, but in no way do I believe that he is running away with it. He is climbing steadily but I would have to agree with you on this point OJ.

Revolution 2012 said...

Well done OJ!

There is a long way to go in this race. At least until the Florida Primary.

BOSMAN said...

GREAT Article OJ!

I especially liked the few tines you mentioned in your piece that Romney was the front runner.

I hope it didn't cause you any discomfort?

Ohio JOE said...

"I hope it didn't cause you any discomfort?" We, it would be even greater discomfort to have to suggest that Mr.Gingrich was the front runner. But I we do not have to fear that guy.

corep said...

OJ, nice work. I think that Huckabee leaving puts Romney in the drivers seat, much as if Romney had left Huckabee would be in the drivers seat.

Two additional things going in Romneys favor right now are polling v obama and the economy. I cant remember a time when an incumbent polled behind a potential candidate this far out from an election. If it proves a trend and others stay well back of Obama then that could create a positive momentum for Romney that will be difficult to ignore. The second point of the economy is causing the first to happen.

Romney is viewed as solid on the economy, who amongst teh declared field or the potential field can emerge as a challenger on that issue?

Ohio JOE said...

"I cant remember a time when an incumbent polled behind a potential candidate this far out from an election." Actually, Mr. Dole was ahead of Mr. Clinton. And what happened there?