The 2012 Republican Primary Field: December, 2011
And then there were six.
Once a month, we give a rundown of the Republican field for the 2012 Presidential nomination. Since these get posted about mid-month, this will be the last rundown before the primary season begins in earnest. By the time I write next month’s “Stampeding Elephants”, as we’re wont to call it around here, we’ll have some actual voting data from the Iowa Caucuses (January 3) and the New Hampshire Primary (January 10).
Speaking of the Iowa Caucuses, the graph at right shows the standings of each candidate as of December 14.
We started this monthly recap in June with 11 candidates and potential candidates judged by Intrade investors to have better than a one percent chance of securing the Republican nomination. Nine candidates met the one-percent threshold in July and August. In September, the number of maybe-viable candidates dropped to six. October’s rundown had seven candidates at greater than one percent on Intrade. In November, there were still seven candidates, with Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich in the first and second positions, Texas Governor Rick Perry fading fast in third, and Representative Ron Paul (R-Lake Jackson, TX) and Jon Huntsman tied for fourth. Herman Cain was still in the race last month, but dropping fast in sixth place, and Representative Michele Bachmann (R-Stillwater, MN) in seventh.
This month, Cain is gone, Perry is still dropping, and Paul has had a bit of a mini-surge.
Today, there are still seven candidates, but Perry and Cain have faded as the “Not Romney” candidates. The “Not Romney” this month is Gingrich.
I’ve listed the potential Republican candidates below, in order of their Intrade percentages, from highest to lowest. In each case, the polling numbers are given in parentheses after the candidate’s name, rounded to the nearest whole number, followed by the change from last month:
RCP = the most recent available Real Clear Politics aggregated polling data.
In = Intrade December 14.
I compiled rank-order listings from the six monthly surveys I’ve done, including this one. If you prefer to plot the fortunes of your favorite candidate in graphical form, the graph at left from the Iowa Electronic Markets (IEM) gives you an idea of how the futures markets have changed in the last month (the graph shown here covers about four months, starting August 30). Romney continues a long, slow downward trend. The biggest change was that IEM split off the Gingrich contract on November 18, after the Republican Rest of Field (ROF) including Gingrich started to spike (red peak). That dropped ROF to third place. Gingrich has gained some ground since his “IPO”.
|Paul||9||10||7||7||6||4 (tie)||4 (tie)||3|
|Huntsman||4||3||4||4||3||4 (tie)||4 (tie)||4|
As a point of reference: this week in December, 2008, Rudy Giuliani (24%) and Mike Huckabee (20%) were virtually tied in the polls. Romney was in third, and McCain was a distant fourth with about half of Giuliani’s polling numbers.
1. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (RCP 23% +1; In 48% –23)
Romney continued his slump through December. Nothing really bad happened to him; the voters just can’t seem to warm to the man. He continues to spawn a steady stream of NotRomneys who challenge him. This month’s NotRomney, same as last month’s, is…
2. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (RCP 34% +16; In 30% +16)
Gingrich has generated a lot of buzz, as is evident from discussions on this blog. What happened to cause him to spike around November 27? I don’t know; it could have been one of the seemingly endless string of Republican debates, or perhaps the Republican Tee-Ball contest on Fox News. It’s all mind-numbingly similar. Maybe Logarchism readers can explain the late November Gingrich Spring.
3. Representative Ron Paul (R-Lake Jackson, TX) (RCP 10% +3; In 8% +5)
He’s got his adherents, all right, and he might take Iowa, which would give him unprecedented buzz. He still can’t crack 10 percent in real-world polling, and his Intrade numbers seem to reflect that. A Paul Iowa win would certainly make the race more interesting. He’s on a steady upslope on his Intrade percentages, which is reflected in the graph at right.
4. Former Utah Governor, former Obama Administration Ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman (RCP 3% +2; In 5% +2)
In my opinion, the only Huntsman path to the nomination is through a hung convention. Nate Silver at the New York Times sees other ways, but I’m not sure I can agree with his analysis. Apparently Intrade investors see things as I do, because he didn’t get a significant spike from the favorable Nate writeup, as most candidates do. (The upward bumps in the graph at left both predate Nate’s article.)
5. Representative Michele Bachmann (R-Stillwater, MN) (RCP 7% +3; In 2% +1)
In cheesy horror movies, there is the guy in the hockey mask that no one can seem to kill and yet no one takes seriously. In Republican politics, there’s Michele Bachmann.
6. Texas Governor Rick Perry (RCP 7% –3; In 3% –1)
Perry’s the only big loser this month, and he didn’t have that much left to lose. I’d predict his “three things” moment will take its place in the political video vault next to the Dean Scream. He’s the guy the hockey mask dude kills in the first reel.
- Forget Gingrich’s Numbers? (andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com)
- Poll Shows Romney with Sizeable Lead Among Republicans (usnews.com)
- CBS News Poll: Cain Now On Top in Three Way Race Between Romney and Gingrich (themoderatevoice.com)
- Romney returns to Iowa next week (politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com)
- Gingrich Shines, While Romney Plays It Safe On Foreign Policy (businessinsider.com)