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).

Iowa Elec­tron­ics Mar­ket pre­dicted place­ment of Iowa Repub­li­can Cau­cus can­di­dates. From top to bot­tom, first three places are: Ron Paul, gold; Newt Gin­grich, pur­ple; Mitt Rom­ney, teal.

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.

As with past months, I gath­ered Real Clear Pol­i­tics aggre­gated poll aver­ages and Decem­ber 14 Intrade prob­a­bil­i­ties for each can­di­date, rounded to the near­est whole number.

Iowa Elec­tronic Mar­kets clos­ing prices for Repub­li­can Pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates. Num­bers cor­re­spond to per­cent­age chance of secur­ing nom­i­na­tion. From top to bot­tom: teal, Rom­ney; pur­ple, Gin­grich (split from ROF on Nov 18); red, Rest of Field; gold, Paul; gray, Perry; light blue, Bachmann.

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”.

Can­di­date May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Rom­ney 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 1
Gin­grich 8 9 none none 8 4 (tie) 2 2
Paul 9 10 7 7 6 4 (tie) 4 (tie) 3
Hunts­man 4 3 4 4 3 4 (tie) 4 (tie) 4
Bach­mann 7 5  3 5 5 7 7 5
Perry none 4 2 1 2 2 3 6

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)

Intrade price for Mitt Rom­ney, Nov 15 to Dec 14.

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.