Field Notes: 2012 GOP Candidates
With 2 years before the fire starts burning, the GOP field is perpetually being coy about prospective runs for the Presidency. With Sarah Palin sending mixed signals and Mitt Romney playing a lower-end strategy, it’s all about posturing for the big run against Obama.
Sarah Palin: Palin has become the media headliner for the GOP in 2010. With the endorsement game locked down, her nod for candidates meant success in the GOP House races. Despite this, Palin does have her unfavorables. Looking at prospective polling, Palin will have to work on her favorability in states that are important for the GOP nomination but less important in the General Election.
UPSIDE: Big name, big race and only a Mama Bear can take hold of the country. With 2010 momentum on her side, Palin made a huge splash across the country. Even bigger is her new book tour which softens up Going Rogue as she does some pre-campaign campaigning. Palin’s new show Sarah Palin’s Alaska brings to light a 1970s reminiscence of Jimmy Carter’s Killer Rabbit Attack.
DOWNSIDE: Palin is still making blunders across the country like not taking up an interview with Katie Couric. Unlike the Presidnet’s avoidance of FOX News, Palin’s effort to avoid a major broadcast news network sends greater signals. Her blunder on the Bush Doctrine was huge in 2008, but an interview two years later could put it past her. In a newer headline maker, Palin slammed John F. Kennedy for running away from his Catholicism in a 1960 speech about a personal separation of church and state as President of the United States (a fear that plagued many Americans in 1960, and plagued voters in 2008 in regards to Mitt Romney).
HEADLINE: SarahPAC is facing serious scrutiny after one of its contributions to Joshua Livestro, Dutch Conservative journo, is raising eyebrows about Palin’s plans to run in 2012. The contributions center around Livestro’s advising on the European Debt Crisis. The Dutch journalist hid his work with Palin under a shell company in the US, begging the question: why hide? SarahPAC hasn’t answered calls regarding Livestro’s work as all eyes are on Palin’s Iowa book tour. More at Mother Jones
SOCIAL MEDIA COUNT: 309,513 Twitter Followers, 2,461,149 Fans on Facebook
Mitt Romney: As the mot presidential looking person in the GOP field, Mitt Romney has to bring a stellar effort between 2010 and 2012. While Palin may be the media darling (or punching bag) Mitt Romney had an electric reception at the Bakersfield Business Conference in October that outdid Sarah Palin. In his preptime, Mitt’s going to have to strategize on how to beat out Palin on issues and on personality (the latter may not be very difficult). He spent a lot of money getting his name out in the open in 2008 and now he should be able to capitalize on that.
UPSIDE: Romney could pick up numerous McCain delegates from the West (especially California, where the Tea Party is not as strong as other states) and moving in on the Northeast.
DOWNSIDE: Romney is going to have to answer to RomneyCare in many states he took in 2008 and in states he wants to win in 2012. Likewise, Romney will have to avoid or pivot from a potential gaffe on Mormonism in order to keep his message on the issues.
SOCIAL MEDIA COUNT: 21,088 Twitter Followers, 707, 716 Fans on Facebook
Mike Huckabee: The man who made headlines for grabbing Iowa in 2008 is still very much in the ring of three. His best goal is to get independents away from Mitt Romney, a feat not easily done. Huckabee’s appeal is to the vast conservative Tea Party base that is backing Sarah Palin. Mitt Romney is taking many a chunk of the Republican establishment and many independent voters. Mike Huckabee will need to cyphon off Tea Party and establishment voters (nearly the impossible) to come into a good second place.
UPSIDE: He has some name identification and has a base of supporters in the south and midwest.
DOWNSIDE: His name is Huckabee (It’s never gotten very far) and he’s got to pull of the impossible with voter types (uniting Tea Partiers and establishment Republicans) in order to be in the running for a nomination grab.
SOCIAL MEDIA COUNT: 107,920 Twitter Followers, 508, 566 Facebook Fans
POLLING: The most effective polling for pre-2012 voting comes from Quinnipac University. In it, voters give Romney the White House over Obama, but GOP voters will give Palin the nomination. Ridiculous? We thought so.
When placed head-to-head against Obama, Mitt Romney edged out the 44th President 45-44, Mike Huckabee would tie Obama and Palin would lose 40-48. The main maneuver giving Romney the win is independents, who haven’t had a favorability of Palin since 2008. Romney would take the independent swing of voters, the same voters who gave Republicans the House and a slim minority in the Senate.
Many news organizations using the polling data make the claim that Palin has a lock on the nomination. Not so. In the GOP sectioned polling, 19% of Republican respondents said that they would pick Sarah Palin in a 2012 Primary held today. However, Romney scored 18% and Huckabee 17%.
Naturally, all is not cut out for Sarah Palin’s Republican nomination victory. In fact, she should be very fearful of these numbers as Romney and Huckabee are defeating or holding the President (respectively) and she’s losing to the President by an 8-point margin.