May 21, 2007

Mitt's Move

This far out from the primaries, most polling has little significance. It takes a national temperature for a process that plays out very carefully through selected states, and at a time when most people still have yet to see the candidates speak directly to them. However, the Des Moines Register knows how to poll Iowa caucus voters, and so far, Mitt's the man:

Mitt Romney has sprinted ahead of presidential competitors John McCain and Rudy Giuliani in a new Iowa Poll of likely Republican caucus participants.

The Des Moines Register poll shows Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, is the top choice of 30 percent of those who say they definitely or probably will attend the leadoff Iowa caucuses in January.

McCain, a U.S. senator from Arizona, nips former New York Mayor Giuliani for second place — 18 percent to 17 percent.

This should get more serious analysis. Mitt has hardly budged from his entry number in January, having hovered around 8% despite organizing far more effectively than his competition. This kind of response in Iowa could foretell a breakout summer for the former Massachussetts governor.

This poll excluded Fred Thompson and Newt Gingrich, though, and when the Register included them, it left the three frontrunners in a dead heat. That indicates an eventul run by either or both could seriously dent Romney's momentum. Assuming both run, it means a wide-open caucus for the Republicans, and perhaps a preview of a bruising primary run that might require a convention fight to settle.

The Democrats have another conundrum. John Edwards and his populist stands have resonated with Iowans, and have put him in the lead among likely caucus voters. Hillary comes in third, a very poor showing for a presumptive frontrunner (as with Rudy Giuliani for the GOP). Barack Obama barely edges her out for second place, again likely because of Obama's populist rhetoric. Unlike the GOP, though, the top three have no real competition, eating up over 70% of caucus voters between them.

Both national committees may be feeling a little nervous about the dynamics so far. It looks like the first wide-open presidential race since 1928 might turn into a real nailbiter all the way.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Comments (7)

Posted by Gull | May 21, 2007 11:35 AM

... and the season for 3rd party candidates hasn't even opened yet.

Or has it?

Posted by Carol Herman | May 21, 2007 11:42 AM

Still, there's a difference between "favorite sons" and the numbers you need to win the national election.

While what I think just happened? McCain can save his money, now, and stay home.

So, in the aggregate; you'll probably still see a "bunch" while one or two or three people take off.

Guiliani is still a condendah. Ditto, Mitt. And, even more so, if he can keep pulling magic out of the Internet bag, Fred Thompson.

And, much better than polls! Is to watch the immigration deal EXPLODE. True. It's a different explosion o the left, than the right. (So, Drudge has up a headline that there probably won't be a meeting between the dissidents to "scuttle the bill.")

But what has happened? Thanks to Bush, nobody is gonna be leaving "on vacation" by the end of the week, happy. The word from many (32) GOP senators is that they haven't even seen the bill. They've only heard about it.

So, you can add, that they're also hearing from constituents. And, boo's and hiss's aren't exactly the sounds politicians crave. As a matter of fact, like cockroaches, they'll flee from the spotlight on this one.

While you've also been exposed to the super-duper thinking behind the mask that convinced you there were "a thousand points of lights." That you could actually read lips. And, compassionate conservatism was a cause worth bying into.

Nope. That lottery ticket loses.

And, yes, the race to replace Dubya is still on.

While we get a bit more than 600 days, watching him implode. While he keeps hoping Israel starts a war in gazoo; so he can send in Condi. And, take the heat off.

Olmert's still seated, by the way.

So a lot of polls; especially those that try to create all sorts of new realities, are just hog wash. Don't spend any money, yet.

Heck, back in 2004. When Joe Trippi found a way to raise $40 million from poor people. In variations of $20's to $100 bills, the promise, then? Dean was gonna "kill Bush."

Well, we could learn from that, that the donks blew it.

And, with 8 candidates, all strapped up in straight jackets, mimicking George Allen's inability to cut loose; it's just a matter of time, before we see who is the real Houdini. And, whose just programmed.

It may take more than a sound byte to win this competition, ya know? But it seems fun to follow just the same.

Posted by Casey Tompkins | May 21, 2007 12:22 PM

Two things to consider: first, many states are pushing their primary dates up to February next year; California comes to mind. If multiple primaries occur within a reasonably short span of time, and produce a variety of "winners," then the traditional influence of Iowa may become diluted.

Second, this is yet another data point on the graph which demonstrates that both Iowa and New Hampshire have an incredibly unhealthy influence on our electoral process. No one has ever explained (aside from "tradition") just why a fraction of a percent of this country's voters should in effect determine the front-runners. The common wisdom (partially reflected in Cap's comments) is that an Iowa/NH winner is nearly unstoppable.

Posted by Caustic Conservative | May 21, 2007 1:08 PM

As an Iowan, I know why Romney has moved ahead. He is throwing money--gobs of it--into direct marketing for his campaign.

Nearly every registered Republican in the state got a DVD outlining his story and his positions on the issues (complete with family photo ops and lots of flags) and he followed it up with a glossy flier that included a pseudo endorsement from the American Spectator (I think that's who it was--I can't remember.) TV ads have been airing here for over a month. It's a new way of campaigning for the caucus here, that's for sure.

In order to win a caucus a candidate has to demonstrate that he has broad and deep support. Ask Howard Dean. He was supposedly the hot ticket for Dems in '04 until he flickered out in February. Dems were all slapping him on the back telling him they were right with him, but nobody turned out on caucus night. He was officially toast.

The weak field of GOP candidates has allowed Romney to leap ahead just by giving GOP regulars SOMETHING to hang their hat on. It's still early, sort of, but his efforts could really pay off if he routs at the straw poll in Ames this August. That's where Bush first began putting real distance between himself and an otherwise undistinguishable field in '00. The same thing can happen here.

Giuliani is dropping like a stone. He has some of the top in-state activists working for his campaign here, but the underlings are doing a poor job of earning their keep. Rudy was tops in this poll by 6 or 8 points, I think, last go around. Now he's in third. McCain has been steady as she goes, but I think would fade fast for obvious reasons if Thompson (the electable one) decided to jump in the race. If he does, I think THompson and ROmney will be the only viables left by the end of the summer, with McCain hanging by a thread.

Posted by Casey Tompkins | May 22, 2007 2:00 AM

CC, I think you're missing the point. Nothing against Iowa, but you have (what?) twelve voters up there!?

Romney focuses on Iowa, does some good marketing, and is suddenly the anointed one?

Rudy may be "dropping like a stone." In Iowa. In the rest of the civilized world he still holds a respectable lead as a front-runner, not to mention polling better than any other announced GOP candidate against the declared Democrats.

I think CC again underlines my main point: it is an absurd waste of time for the other 99% of the country to take their lead from the winner of the Iowa caucus.

There are in fact less than three million people in the entire state of Iowa! We have cities bigger than that.

Let's everyone move up their primaries to the same day as Iowa. If they decide to be buttheads about it, then we'll all move our primary dates to January 1.

If you don't like that, talk the the self-important dinks in Iowa and New Hampshire who just have to be first.

Sorry if that sounds harsh, but I'm more than a little irritated by the short-sighted selfishness I've seen in many quarters of this country.

Posted by Caustic Conservative | May 22, 2007 7:58 AM

Don't get all uppity now, city boy!

There are real benefits to fleshing out candidates over a long period of time over a broad segment of states . Candidates have to prove themselves in order to win support, and then sustain it under the watchful eye of the party faithful. I cannot imagine anything worse than these Super Tuesday type of front loaded primaries where everything is decided before anyone knows what happened.

You've never been to a caucus, that is obvious. The logistics don't work well in states with large populations, so I will give you a pass. But they are VERY useful in determining not only how broad the support is for a candidate, but just how deep it is as well. You actually have to get up in front of your neighbors and make your case for your candidate, and rebut others arguments for theirs.

Because Iowa is a smaller state, there are fewer media access points and candidates are able to reach a greater percentage of the voting populace for less money, and it's an inviting place for small meet-and-greet hand shakers with candidates. A good second tier candidate can get a boost here that he deserves. In larger states, the only real effective means is TV advertising, because nothing else reaches enough people. And what do you learn about a guy from a TV ad? And the only thing that buys lots of TV is lots of money--most candidates wouldn't even bother, unless they had a bunch of money already. Talk about short-sightedness.

In the end, I supppose, it boils down to whether or not you trust Iowan's role in the process, or whether you look at us as hayseed rubes. We do take this stuff seriously out here. There's an old joke where one Iowan asks another who he's going to vote for and he responds that he didn't know because he hadn't met them all yet. There's a little truth to that here, and it's a good thing.

Posted by Caustic Conservative | May 22, 2007 8:11 AM


Don't get me wrong, but you seem to believe that the best qualification for who should be elected is based off a poll done two years before an election as to who does best against a particular Democrat. If that is your criteria for choosing a candidate, let me say I'm glad your state is not one of particular importance in the presidential selection process.

There needs to be something more behind the numbers, or the candidate will wash out well before the first week of November. Iowa is one place you can find that out.

Come visit sometime!