(Red Right Returning, a nautical mnemonic for the side of the buoy or marker on which to pilot a ship in order to stay in the channel, is a look back at the activity of the past week of the Republican candidates in the 2012 primary. Feel free to voice your opinions on the candidates in the comment section.)
The Huntsman Surge?
Let’s make the picks for the New Hampshire Primary. I blew the Iowa picks but I wasn’t alone. And like Iowa, I’m going to buck convention again.
After watching both debates, reading the available polling, and from what I know about New Hampshire voters (who also frequently buck convention), here are my top three.
First place goes to Mitt Romney. The polling gap is just too formidable and as Nate points out it would take an upset of historic proportions to keep him from winning New Hampshire.
Second place; and here’s where I’m going to part with conventional wisdom, goes to Jon Huntsman. Like Santorum’s gambit with Iowa evangelical voters who were predisposed to like him, Huntsman spent a the bulk of his campaign resources on an all-in New Hampshire strategy. That will probably reap unforeseen benefits. He has seen a bump in polling that puts him in third place so this could be his turn to surge. His debate performances were solid while the other candidates looked petty (at least Rick Perry finally remembered the three departments he would cut from government). I think Huntsman is going to pilfer some of Romney’s lead as well as pick up enough support from the rest of the candidates to edge out Ron Paul for second. The wild card is Gingrich who actually performed well in the debates.
Which leaves third place for Ron Paul. Like Romney, Paul is cursed with a finite percentage of voters. If Romney is the perennial 25% man, Paul is the perennial 21% man. He has his devotees and that’s it. The thing I can’t discern is just how many people in New Hampshire are Paul fans who live there versus Paul fans who don’t and can’t vote. The Ron Paul flash mob tends to give false impressions as they follow him around the country.
And the rest: Rick Perry obviously last (heck, Buddy Roemer is beating Perry in the latest PPP Poll). Newt is probably fourth and Santorum fifth.
What does this mean for the rest of the primary? It probably means that it goes all the way to June (where Utah could actually get to vote for Huntsman provided he can get some donors to give his campaign a cash infusion).
It’s difficult to understand why Huntsman is lagging behind. He has the least baggage, the most impressive credentials, and would probably give President Obama a good run for the executive office. The conservative right is so completely blinded by bloodlust that it can’t seem to behave rationally.
In other news, Mike Huckabee declares Rick Perry’s campaign over saying that ‘claiming you’re going to reassess your options is tantamount to an admission of defeat’. Huckabee says that’s why he did so well in 2008; he never gave up.
Finally, my Oregon Ducks won the Rose Bowl. Now my home team; the Crimson Tide plays today against LSU (again). I expect them to become the BCS champions. That’s less of a prediction than it is a prayer. ROLL TIDE!
- Alan Schroeder: New Hampshire Double-header: A Tale of Two Debates (huffingtonpost.com)
- Confident Romney Concerned With Voter Turnout, Not Rivals (huffingtonpost.com)
- Romney Battles New Hampshire Expectations as Foes Vie for Second (businessweek.com)
- Romney Holds Steady in New Hampshire (politicalwire.com)
It doesn’t matter what Huntsman does in NH. He’s dead in the water. He can’t even aspire to be the next “NOT MITT” … because he IS Mitt. He just doesn’t flip-flop as much.
It is hard to see who can beat Romney at this point. He is not well liked in the South, but all but Texas, NC, AR and KY are proportional (prior to March 24) Since he will probably continue to get ~25%, he’ll come up with about 25% of the delegates.
After March 24, most of the primaries are winner take all. Further more, the bulk of those are NE, Mid-Atlantic, and West Coast, where Mitt would be assumed to be somewhat favored against a Xtian Right candidate.
Things can always change, and lord knows Carl Paladino types abounding make for not good scenarios for Mitt. Still …