Category Archives: Presidential campaign

Romney and Pawlenty Already Faltering?

Selzer & Company, a survey research firm headquartered in Iowa that routinely polls for the Des Moines Register newspaper, released some surprising results from their latest study (June 19-22; 400 likely Iowa Caucus participants). According to the data, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, upon whom many analysts and media outlets already bestow the “front-runner” tag, leads upstart Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN-6) by a razor-thin 23-22 percent count within this particular polling universe. Businessman Herman Cain placed third with 10 percent.

Perhaps the biggest surprise found in this study, however, is the poor showing from former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who captured just 6 percent of the respondents’ support despite his heavily targeting the state. Pawlenty was thought to be a top-tier candidate but so far has failed to excite the Republican voting base, including conservative donors and activists. Additionally, any regional bump he might get because he hails from a neighboring state (Iowans have proven to be regionally parochial in their past voting history) is apparently being snatched away by Bachmann, who is also from the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

This latest Iowa Caucus poll is again proving that the Republican presidential nomination contest is still a wide open political battle that will produce many surprises before a winner is ultimately crowned next August at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.
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Pennsylvania’s Q-Poll Reveals Pedestrian Obama Numbers

The new Quinnipiac University poll of the Pennsylvania electorate was just released and it shows President Obama with a discernible but not overwhelming lead over both former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) and favorite son ex-Sen. Rick Santorum (R) within the Keystone State. The survey was commissioned over the June 7-12 period of 1,277 registered Pennsylvania voters. All of the interviews were conducted via telephone, both land line and cell. The Republican primary questions were asked of 523 self-identified GOP voters.

Against Romney, President Obama scores a 47-40 percent advantage, reasonably good but not outstanding for a sitting president heading into re-election in a state he previously carried. In 2008, the president carried Pennsylvania with a 54-44 percent margin. This poll also shows the president dipping below majority support, which is never a good sign. The state’s former two-term senator, Mr. Santorum, fares slightly worse than Romney before his previous constituents. Obama would top the former Pennsylvania senator and congressman 49-38 percent. These types of numbers in his home state confirm that Santorum is not a top tier national candidate.

In the Republican primary, it is Romney with the lead over both the former senator and ex-vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin. Mr. Romney tallies 21 percent to Santorum’s 16 percent, and Palin’s 11 percent. Businessman Herman Cain is fourth with 8 percent, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX-14) next with 6 percent, and all other candidates have 5 percent or less.
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New Hampshire Debate: One More Enters

At the Republican presidential candidate debate last night in Manchester, N.H., Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN-6) made it known that she will become an official presidential candidate. Previously, she was only in the exploratory stage. She joins a field that now includes Massachusetts ex-Gov. Mitt Romney, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX-14), ex-Sen. Rick Santorum (PA), and businessman Herman Cain. Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson is also a candidate, but was not invited to participate in the New Hampshire debate sponsored by CNN and the Manchester Union Leader newspaper.

Notable about this particular debate, which broke no new campaign ground with the exception of the Bachmann announcement, was who didn’t attend. The biggest potential name still not yet in the race is, of course, former vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin. Also, don’t forget former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani who could become a factor later in the race. A new poll already places him second in New Hampshire, though about 30 points behind Romney. Texas Gov. Rick Perry is another potential late entrant who may have the ability to catch fire and vault into the top tier. And, former Obama Ambassador to China and Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman is also likely to become a candidate but chose not to participate in the New Hampshire debate.

All totaled, the entire field could soon expand to 12 if all of the aforementioned individuals actually become candidates. Though this national political race has been slow to begin, the action will soon become hot and heavy.
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Campaign Staff Deserts Gingrich En Masse

The wheels appear to be coming off of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign. After a series of post-announcement gaffes, the most serious of which appears to be attacking House Budget chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI-1) federal fiscal plan, more than 10 campaign consultants and staff members yesterday resigned from the Gingrich effort. The spokesman for the group indicated they were leaving because the departing staff members all saw a different strategic path to achieve victory than does the candidate.

The key factor influencing the mass exit appears to be a lack of fundraising progress. Reports say that after Gingrich’s attack on the Ryan budget, fundraising became exceeding difficult for the presidential effort because the candidate cut the heart out of his political base. Additionally, Mr. Gingrich himself was apparently unwilling to participate in donor recruitment efforts to the degree that the staff wanted, hence the failure to meet campaign budgetary goals.

There were further rumors alluding to Gingrich not working particularly hard on this campaign. The departing staffers’ spokesman, news secretary Rick Tyler, said such conjecture was untrue but did confirm the former Speaker and his wife are embarking on a two-week Mediterranean cruise, the timing of which was criticized internally.

Two of those resigning, consultant David Carney and campaign manager Rob Johnson, came from Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s organization. With rumors and speculation mounting that Perry may soon enter the race, it is an obvious conclusion that at least these two will go back to anchor their former boss’ presidential effort. Some have further speculated that Perry’s budding effort precipitated the Gingrich staff departure, but this does not appear to be the case. Since the departing group is so large it is unreasonable to believe that all are bolting Gingrich to join Perry. Dissatisfaction with the progression of the campaign can be the only reason for such a mass exodus.

So what does this development mean for the ex-Speaker’s presidential bid? According to Mr. Gingrich, the campaign begins anew next week and he will continue to fight for the Republican nomination.

In many ways, Newt Gingrich is an unconventional candidate. Therefore, the things that would derail most political efforts will not necessarily extinguish the Gingrich campaign. Though money is necessary to run any political operation, and presidential campaigns both attract and spend the greatest amount of cash resources, a national candidate can often times go relatively far without huge financial assets. Gingrich, with his almost universal name ID, may be in that category. Attracting as much news coverage as he does, the former Speaker has the ability to communicate his message even if he doesn’t spend heavily on paid advertisements or direct mail programs.

A presidential campaign that puts little emphasis on resources can do reasonably well in small primary states like New Hampshire and South Carolina, but caucus states are in a different category, as are big primary states like California, Florida and Texas. Organizational efforts in caucus states like Iowa do require heavy staff coordination and expenditures to identify, convince, and turnout supporters who must attend actual meetings to cast their votes instead of simply marking a ballot. Though well-known candidates who de-emphasize fundraising and campaign mechanics attract a fair amount of attention, such a person rarely, if ever, wins the nomination or election.

In early polling, Mr. Gingrich has consistently polled at the bottom of the first tier of candidates. Without a professional campaign structure committed to campaign mechanics, however, it is likely he will drop into the second tier and out of serious contention for the nomination. The new Gingrich operation will certainly be a campaign of ideas, but not of implementation. The collapse of his organization means the overall race becomes an even more wide open contest.
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For further detailed insights, to sign up for my daily email updates, or to sign up to track specific issues or industries, please contact me at PRIsm@performanceandresults.com.

South Carolina’s DeMint Considers Presidential Run

South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint (R)

South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint confirms reports that he is now considering entering the GOP presidential contest. Previously, he said he would not become a candidate. Like former VP nominee Sarah Palin who is sending outward signs that she might jump into the fray and Texas Gov. Rick Perry also confirming new interest in a presidential campaign, DeMint sees opportunity for a newcomer who could carry the Southern states. The south is the heart of the Republican voter base. Since former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels have all said they won’t run for President, the south is left without an obvious candidate to support.

Sen. DeMint actually has two bases of support, both of which are formidable. As a Tea Party spokesman within the halls of Congress, the Palmetto State solon would command sizable backing from the grassroots within the Republican Party base, which is significant in primary elections. Secondly, his own state of South Carolina is one of the key early nomination battlegrounds, following the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. Since no non-incumbent Republican presidential candidate has ever carried both Iowa and New Hampshire, South Carolina plays a major role in defining the pre-Super Tuesday momentum. Though DeMint is likely to be a second-tier candidate if he enters the race, his inherent bases of support could generate more for him than originally meets the eye.
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For further detailed insights, to sign up for my daily email updates, or to sign up to track specific issues or industries, please contact me at PRIsm@performanceandresults.com.