Critical Thinking on 9-9-9 (And why it could become 8-8-8)

October 13, 2011 19 comments

Initially, I agreed with all of the conservative criticisms of 9-9-9 plan. Why? At the time, my only knowledge of 9-9-9 came from people who thought it was a bad idea. Then I read more articles by more conservatives and they all were saying the exact same thing. Just as the establishment elites joined hands in unison to declare other undeniable truths like “Sarah Palin is unelectable” so too are theynow joining to dismiss Herman Cain’s plan as “well-intentioned-but-bad.” In fact, what astonished me was how formulaic every column in opposition to 9-9-9 was, like a term paper passed along from one degenerate Harvard know-it-all to the next.

The column would go something like this.

1) Create catchy title like “Think Trice about 9-9-9”

2) Praise Herman Cain for thinking outside of the box.

3) Start by saying “first, what I like about the plan”, point-by-point. And all of these details no matter what column you read, will be exactly the same.

4) Note the horrible consequences of bringing on a new form of taxation in addition to a reconfigured income tax.

5) Publish column and have a beer

6) Lather, Rinse, Repeat by next commentator

So, after reading the same exact near-plagiarized column by 15 different people, I decided to go sit in my thinking chair and, well, think.

First, what I like about 9-9-9 (Hahahaha, get it?) Seriously, I like most of what everyone else says they also like about 9-9-9. It’s fair, transparent, opposes class warfare, and can do a lot to end cronyism. The 9% income tax portion dramatically reduces taxes for actual taxpayers. Figure that Social Security and Medicare taxes alone almost amount to that and you’ve almost wiped out the income tax portion altogether with 9-9-9.

On the corporate side I like that it eliminates loopholes so big government Obama-loving corporate bastards like GE might actually pay more in taxes than I did this year. Theoretically, it ends much of the cronyism problem apparent in the current Obama administration.

Finally, and this is where everyone flips out, is the final “9”: The implementation of a 9% sales tax. The problem, critics say, isn’t the 9% tax itself, but the fact that once liberals get in charge they will turn that into 45 billion %. Will they? First things first.

Personally, I prefer a National Sales Tax over a flat tax (or the current tax system) any day of the week (and the NST is the end-game plan with 9-9-9). And here are my main 2 reasons why:

1) Can cause massive individual debt reduction: Since you are not taxed on production, you have more money at the start of the day. You only get taxed when you spend. People who are desperately trying to get out of debt, a big issue in the times we are in, are hampered by over-burdensome income taxation. People would be much more able to quickly pay down their personal debts and begin to build wealth. So while they might not pay much into sales taxes, they will be financially more stable in years to come, which will lead to much more taxes paid (with economic activity) in the future. And fear not, there are plenty of wealthy people who will still by wealthy things, and plenty of irresponsible people who will still rack up their credit cards. So, the government will go on.

2) Broadens the taxpayer base and reduces out-of-pocket pay by Americans: A consumption tax picks up an astonishing number of new taxpayers. First you nail those who work under the table or those who are in the country illegally and off the books. Next, add in the tens of millions of foreign travelers who are used to paying 30% sales taxes in their own countries anyway, so what is 9% to them? In a country where so few pay into the income tax system, we now have a system that would capture those who avoid taxes by illegal means as well as money of foreign visitors. The tax burden is now shifted from a small number of people to a very large number of people, with hard-working Americans benefiting the most.

So, the kicker and the complaints: “9-9-9 WILL BECOME 25-25-25” or “WHAT HAPPENS WHEN LIBERALS AND BIG GOVERNMENT RINO’S GET IN CHARGE?” and “YOU CAN’T INTRODUCE ANOTHER FORM OF TAXATION FOR GOVERNMENT TO PLAY WITH, IDIOTS”

Valid arguments. In fact, I bought it at first. But here is why those arguments are bogus. First, we act like the government doesn’t have the authority to tax at will anyway. What, they can’t raise taxes now? Of course they can. You can raise taxes on people no matter what the tax code is. It’s just as dumb to say that we can’t have 9-9-9 because politicians can change it to 13-13-13 when we are sitting with a tax code that can also be changed, and just as easily. And NEWSFLASH: No matter what tax program you implement it can always be increased. So, by that thinking any tax plan that anyone introduces will have to be bad by those standards. Some say we should go to a flat tax? What, that can’t be increased? Some like the fairtax? That can be increased too. If you oppose a new taxing system based on the fact that the figures can change, don’t you realize that ANY tax program will have figures that can change?

Besides, I think 9-9-9 has a better chance of NOT changing than most other tax plans. I argue that 9-9-9 will stay close to 9-9-9, or even go lower! Why?

1) It’s only popular to raise taxes on “the evil rich” and “private jetowners.” If you raise the 9% tax on income or sales, you RAISE IT ON EVERYONE. There is never the political will to raise taxes on the “poor” and “middle-class”. Hell, with 60 members in the Senate, control of the House, and Obama in the White House they still renewed the Bush era tax cuts when they could have done whatever they wanted. With 9-9-9 there is no separating out the rich, the middle class, and the poor. It’s a fair system. If you raise taxes on one person, you raise it on all. If you lower taxes for one person, you lower them for all. What politician would raise the taxes on everyone to 25% and live to see another victory?

2) People will see how much even 9% is and it will piss them off: The reason politicians can get away with their tax schemes now is because nobody knows what they get paid. When you ask someone what they make a week, they tell you what they make after taxes. But they don’t have a hands on dealing with their taxation. How pissed off would middle class Americans be if they had to write a check to the government for $450 every month? If anything, a national sales tax would make the appetite for lower taxes (and thus smaller government) grow because they personally would see the money coming out of their wallets and into the government coffers every time they made a purchase.

My point? If 9-9-9 were to be implemented (and we live in a society where I doubt we are bold enough to do such) you would have a system in place where candidates running for office would be fighting to make it 8-8-8 or 7-7-7, not 20-20-20. No politician would survive trying to raise taxes on those they want votes from. Today, it’s easy for politicians to pander to 95% of the population by threatening to raise taxes on just 5%. But when you have to raise taxes on all? Who would do that and who would win? If anything, it would strengthen the hand of conservatives who believe in lower taxation.

All I’m saying is: Sit in your thinking chairs and get back to me…

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Categories: General

Palin 47% Obama 47%: Turnaround & Why Marist Poll Is No Fluke

September 21, 2011 10 comments

So, there has been much debate about a recent Marist Poll that shows Sarah Palin within 5% of Barack Obama and whether or not this is a fluke. For one thing, the numbers are actually closer to 47% Palin, 47% Obama, a tie. The Marist poll actually oversamples Democrats compared to Republicans by 8 points, and oversamples both of them with Independents. In their released data, the sample was 39% I, 34% D, 26% R. (There has been a rise in Indy voters, but not to the tune of almost 40% of the population. Using historical trends, the anticipated 2012 Voter Turnout rate is 36% D, 36% R, 28% I. If your prefer the Rasmussen Partisan Preference it’s essentially a 3-way tie at 33.5% R, 33% D, and 33.5% I. In either scenario, you end up with a 47-47 tie.

The good news here for Palin again is that among the 6% Undecided, 67% are Independents, 20% are Republicans, and just 13% are Democrats. Undecideds usually tilt towards the challenger and in this case those undecideds are mostly Obama-Disapproving Independents followed by Republicans.

So, beyond reworking the numbers, how do we know that the poll is not a fluke? The easiest way to see it is not a fluke is because this surge only happened in Obama vs Palin, but not in Romney vs Obama. If it were merely growing discontent with Obama and a desire to elect a Republican, we would assume that all candidates would have surged equally or, at worst, half as much.

In reality, Palin’s 44% is 9-14 points higher than her previous efforts in any Marist poll taken this year, where her other numbers were 30% (twice), 34%, and 35%. Meanwhile, Obama was down 7 points against her, a bigger drop than against any other candidate. Compare this: Romney has seen virtually no movement. At 44% now, that is little different than his three previous numbers of 41%, 42%, and 45%. Whereas Obama had fallen 7 points against Palin, Obama has held firm at 46% in 4 straight polls against Romney. So why would the Obama-Romney match-up remain the same for 4 test cycles while Palin closes a 21-pont gap?

1) They Got Nothin: The e-mails were supposed to prove Palin was an alloof, stupid, petty, vindictive, beauty queen. Instead, after digging through thousands of e-mails, they were astonished to find that Palin was none-of-the-above and was actually, watch out, a good Governor! Ever since the e-mail fiasco, I have seen a complete 180 in how the media treats Sarah Palin. I think they wanted to believe everything they were saying about her was true, but it just didn’t turn out that way.

2) Failed Smear Campaigns: The “gotcha” books were so poorly received, useless, and petty that even the anti-Palin liberals liked Palin more after reading the books that were out to get her. Just wait until Levi’s book comes out.

3) Palin = Breath of Fresh Air compared to other candidates. The non-politician stands out in a crowd of wishy-washy establishment cronies.

4) Independents: Palin has always made a case for being an Independent. She fights the GOP establishment just as hard as she does Obama. This is paying off.

5) Leading the Debate: It sure does seem that everything comes back to Palin. She coins words and phrases that others grab and run with. She launches attacks on the President that become mainstream positions for the rest of the field.

Categories: General

Palin and Romney know the same thing: Few are paying attention + Perry Should Enjoy it Now

August 13, 2011 18 comments

Believe it or not, in their quests (or probable quest in Palin’s case) for the GOP nomination both Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney are working under the same premise: No one is paying attention right now. Sure, some people are paying attention. But  that “some” is probably you and me and maybe 5% of the rest of the voting population. Figure that between just 2-5 million people have watched any of the debates thus far. While Thursday night’s 5 million viewers was impressive for primary debate standards, it still represents less than 4% of the usual voter turnout. That means 96% of the 2012 voting public (among them at least 52 million McCain voters) on a Summer Thursday night, against little other programming, in the middle of a depression, during a media-hyped GOP race, with a chance to pick a candidate to throw out the Golfing Fundraiser-in-Chief, couldn’t even be bothered to tune in.

Palin knows this. And Romney knows this. And this explains each of their strategies.

For Palin, she expressly states there is no need to be in this early because, tada, most people are not paying attention. Sure, the media obsesses over “announcements” because it’s the media and they probably want as much advance notice as possible to find more junk to throw her way. Plus, they need stuff to talk about, and who better than Palin to help ratings for dying media types? And yes, her supporters can’t wait because they just want to know, but they also make up part of the well-informed 5% of the population. (Another 15% are probably decently informed and the other 80% are clueless). Hence, the 80-20 rule I discuss frequently.

While most normal candidates need to enter early to build name recognition, gather donors, and lock down big campaign strategists, Palin would obviously not run a campaign that is dependent on multiple high-paid strategists who are more interested in their next paycheck than being devoted to the candidate they are working for (see: Newt Gingrich). Palin’s campaign would be heavy on the grassroots, and she easily has the largest volunteer grassroots organization and a highly active base nationwide who are working on her behalf (and have been for sometime).

For Romney, he also knows that people are not paying attention. This is why he has chosen his battles carefully and has remained completely out of sight. Other than two debates, Romney has been impossible to find. But guess who remains at or near the top of every poll, just as he has for over a year? And no one can find him! Why, because if 96% of the population isn’t looking anyway, how would they know he is missing? Romney’s early announcement was made, not to start campaigning, but to start fundraising, gaining big donors, and locking down support from the GOP establishment. He knows that few voters are paying attention and has said as much. Why would he risk going to townhall after townhall at this stage, knowing there will be little upside but many the opportunity for blundering?

As for the rest of the candidates, you can see two things. First, that announcing (early, later, or in between) has done little for any of their campaigns in the long run. Cain announced early, but after an initial hit and rise in interest, Cain has dropped from the 10%-ish range to the 5%-and under group. Pawlenty, who followed the Media-approved early announcement strategy fell from a 7% average to a 2% average. Gingrich rocked the low-mid teens for a while, but now rocks 5% too, on a good polling day. Bachmann was once a 6-8% kinda gal, then popped into the midteens, and has returned to being a 6-8% kinda gal (7%, 7%, 8% in 3 recent major polls).You could lump in Trump and probably Perry (the new new flavor of the month) in this group as well. But just because all of my predictions on Bachmann, Huntsman, Cain, Gingrich, and Trump have come to fruition, it doesn’t mean I will be right about Perry (but I will be).

All of these candidates announced at different times. All of them had a short time frame when they were the “it” candidate. The Media Flavor of the Month. Right now, Perry is the flavor of the month. Why? Because 96% of the population is not paying attention. Everything they know comes from passing, a brief blip on the tv or radio, or by word of mouth. And these are the people who are polled, and this is why the race changes so dramatically so often, with so many new and frequent “frontrunners” challenging Romney.

As Palin has said, most people are not interested in the primary process right now, most people are worried about their families, their jobs, their kids, and what to make for dinner tonight. She is right. Being the most politically interested of my family and friends, I nevertheless have many friends and family who fall into the 96% group. These are people who know and follow politics to a degree, but are not uber-involved in the process and what is going on.I know this because I talk to people all the time, people ho are somewhat involved in politics, vote in every primary, and talk politics with me regularly. How many heard of “The Undefeated”? None. Why? Because knowing it existed would have required a deeper following of the primary process. I also know this because I am the one who gets the calls, texts, and emails… “what do you think about Perry” … “who is this Bachmann” … “I like this Cain guy, what do you think?” All of these messages come at the time the candidate is the “flavor of the month.” For the record, the only texts I get about Huntsman are: “who’se the squeeky voiced, uber-dork, and did he get lost on his way to file for the democrat primary.” I jest, I jest! It’s usually just, “Who’s the uber-dork?”

So, whats my point? My point is, it doesn’t matter when candidates announce. It seems that everyone is spacing out their announcement for maximum flavor-of-the-monthage. The media reports about them and why they are “it,” it filters out to the masses in bits and pieces, and then they get a bump in polls until the media moves on.  I’m quite certain the media could invent a candidate named “Joe barbery” and talk about him, without showing pictures, speeches, or saying where he is from, but by hyping him as “Romney’s new challenger” he could probably break double digits for a month or two. Making it stick is what counts. To date, only two candidates have done that. Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney are the only 2 candidates to have average above 10% in polling for every month over the last 12 months. Cain and Bachmann had a 2 month run of double-digits, while Trump hits double digits and started tanking fast before dropping out altogether.

Perry has got a little over a month on his belt in the double digits, but I know very few people who know anything about him other than “he’s from Texas and Texas leads the nation in economic growth.” That’s about all anyone knows about Rick Perry that I have spoken too. But hey, the media keeps talking about him, so there must be something there! And they keep talking about how conservative he is, only he is more of a Bush-conservative. Which is to say he is somewhere between the conservatism of Bush 41’s “no new taxes” and Bush 43’s big government spending binge, and illegal-immigration-loving ridiculousness. The biggest problem with the “flavor-of-the-month” candidates is that people choose the flavor of the month, and just assume they are everything they want them to be. But then Cain comes out and is incapable of answering any questions requiring much knowledge, even though we know he is a “problem-solver.” And Bachmann come off as a little bit of crazy and self-obsessed with over-exaggeration tendencies, and her husband has that weirdish-wimp vibe. Then it turns out Trump is a socialized-healthcare, left-wing supporting, pro-abortion, global warming lunatic.

It’s possible Perry “surges” this week in polls since he is announcing, and might even start overtaking Romney. Welcome to the club. But can you stay there? With Palin lurking in the background, I’d say good luck, and you have a lot of hype and expectations to maintain. What happens when the media decides they don’t like you anymore? The candidate that the media builds, is also the candidate the media destroys. This week they talk about how conservative you are and how much the conservative base will love you. Next week, they “discover” your a big ole RINO, alert the same people they got to like you, and let the fireworks start. But hey, enjoy it while it lasts.

 

Categories: General

Polling Palin: An Unknown Known (Updated)

July 29, 2011 14 comments

Until the field settles, (Palin, Perry, Giuliani, Christie) presumably by the end of the month, we wanted to go back to some of our previous pieces that many new readers may have missed. With 20 candidates polled, and with many not running, running, maybe running, the polls are pretty much meaningless at this stage. Needless to say, at this point we think everything that could be said has been until a few more candidates declare, or do not declare. The post below was the first to introduce Sarah Pain as “an unknown known” in analysis to dismiss the “Palin can’t win” mantra. Over the past 6 months, I think much of this has become true.

(Originally posted Feb 8, 2011, updated July 29, 2011) – The most difficult polls to read into this early are those associated with Sarah Palin. While supporters will claim bias in polls, non-supporters will be overly-excited about the supposed dislike of Sarah Palin.

The key thing to remember about polling is information changes minds quickly. In reality, of all potential candidates for 2012, Palin has the greatest opportunity to greatly improve her standings, especially given that expectations for her have been set so low by the media, by leftists, and by establishment Republican types.

Sarah Palin is what I like to call “An Unknown Known.” While everyone knows who she is, opinions of her are mostly derived from media accounts of her, rather than by her own actions and words. If you poll 1,000 people about Sarah Palin, you have a built in percentage who follow her closely and like her, you have a percentage who may or may not follow her closely and loathe her, and then you have the 80/20 rule, where the vast majority of people polled will be those who pay attention to politics 2 weeks a year and all other information comes from soundbites and brief media reports, not by a regular interest in politics (non political junkies).

The 80/20 rule: Most people polled about politics are not politically active or interested. When their information is derived from the media and soundbites, their opinion is skewed by the media. Most media reports about Palin reflect a common theme that she is “divisive” and “controversial” and “fringe” and “unelectable.” Therefore, the end result is that is what people know about Sarah Palin, and it negatively effects polling outcomes. This is not to say that the polls are inaccurate when they show Palin with low favor-ability and election poll numbers. Indeed, they are accurate because it takes a snapshot of the public’s perception at that time (even if that perception is crafted by the media). But that is what creates the opening for people to change their minds about her later.

While I will discuss polling data on Sarah Palin on this site, it should be noted that she will likely have the biggest upside in long-term polling data, should she run for President in 2012. Where she currently sits poll-wise should be considered the bottom. People who like her or support her now (with all the negative media reports out there) are unlikely to be deterred. The question is, how moved people are when (and if) they see Palin run and actually see her.

Data Points:

Post 2008 Convention Speech: After Sarah Palin gave her VP acceptance speech, a time when she would be seen by the greatest number of people at the same time, her favorables were quite impressive. Unfiltered, she came off as competent, a great speaker, and confident. Polling reflected this.

Palin Poll Numbers Post 2008 Convention Speech:

Newsweek: +30 (58-28) Favorable following her convention speech.

NBC News: +20 (47-27)

CNN/Opinion RSR: +30 (57-27)

USA Today/Gallup: +25 (53-28)

This was after Palin had been around for several weeks, and after she gave a “controversial” speech knocking Obama’s columns, but before the media unleashed on her. All of the polls bumped upwards from the weeks prior.

An interesting comparison is to then-nominee Obama. A week after his 2008 convention speech, his favorables were as follows:

Newsweek +20 (57-37)

NBC News/WSJ +21 (53-32)

CNN/Opinion Research +26 (60-34)

USA Today/Gallup +27 (62-35)

Obama Post Convention Speech Favorables +23.5%

Palin Post Convention Speech Favorables: +26.25%

After each respective speech, both Palin and Obama shared very high positives, and Palin was actually seen even more favorably than Obama.

Needless to say, it’s amazing to see what a friendly press can do for you and what a hostile press can do to destroy you, as each candidate was the recipient of one or the other (I’ll let you guess which way that went).

In the few weeks between the conventions and the VP Debate between Palin and Joe Biden, Sarah Palin was heavily attacked by the media, and was constantly being questioned about her qualifications. Thus, when the debate actually happened, people were surprised she wasn’t an idiot. A CNN Poll after the VP Debate found that 84% of people thought Sarah Palin did better than they expected. (And who were expectations set by?)

Palin’s big advantage is that campaigns are when people start paying attention. Palin’s favorables did not begin to drop drastically until after she was out of the public eye and the media targeted went after her. The Question is, and what we will be looking for, is how much of a bounce she gets when she begins running TV ads (test ads from her PAC were received positively) and is seen unfiltered through Primary debates. My money is that you will definitely see a big bounce and will close in on Obama greatly.

Takeaway: Polling is most accurate when the subject/person has had major, unfiltered visibility by the public. While Sarah Palin has been everywhere over the past two years, and in just about every major story, her persona has been defined by the media. Polling will remain volatile until Sarah Palin begins her expected run for the White House. At which point, her poll numbers will likely rise as the 70% of the population (non-political independents, non-political junkies, and “moderates”) see her in a more favorable light and she is able to present herself to a broader audience.

Categories: General

Polls, Cash, and Momentum: Voters Waiting on Palin and Perry?

July 14, 2011 1 comment

Almost all of the fundraising numbers have now been made public. And one thing is clear: Coupled with polling data, Republican voters are not happy with the current field. While Mitt Romney is widely considered the frontrunner, his numbers are weak overall. In fact, Romney is only the frontrunner due to the current presence of a weak field. Earlier this year Romney has trailed the likes of Mike Huckabee, Donald Trump, and Sarah Palin multiple times – two candidates who are not running and one who probably will, but has not announced. In most polls that feature only announced candidates, Romney has solid double digit leads over closest competitor Michele Bachmann. Only when there are multiple unannounced candidates polled in the mix (Palin, Perry, Giuliani) is Romney’s numbers dropped low enough to be only single digits ahead of the competition.

So, what does it all mean for the candidates?

Romney: 2Q Money Raised $18.25 Million – Poll trend: Upwards

Not a lot of money for the “front-runner.” But he is definitely not a frontrunner in the sense that George W. Bush was in 1999, especially given the lack of current competition. How the field is set now, Romney should have raised much more money. He is also in the fortunate position of being viewed as “most electable” and polished and the unfortunate position of being fairly disliked by the conservative Republican base who fear a Bush 1/Dole/McCain repeat. On the Polling front, Romney has improved mostly due to an unformed and weak field. In Quarter 1 (Jan, Feb, Mar) Romney polled in the 14-21% range. At that time Huckabee and Palin were considered his main challengers. Now, Romney ranks in the mid-teens with a large field of yet-to-be announced candidates in the mix (Palin, Perry, Giuliani, etc) up to the low 30s when only announced candidates are polled. Obviously this shows Romney’s weakness as a frontrunner as his support is cut between 25-50% when other candidates are possible to enter the fold.

Bachmann: 2Q Money Raised $2 Million President/$4 Million w/Congressional Acount, Poll trend: Upwards

Horrible fundraising numbers for Bachmann. Many had anticipated she would land in the $8-10 million range to show she is a real challenge to Romney. But she raised just $2 million in the end of June (with another $2 million transferred from Congressional account) reportedly. This puts her well behind lackluster candidates like Tim Pawlenty and even the late-announcing, Rino-Rific, and perpetual 1%er Jon Huntsman. In polling, Bachmann hung around 5% during the 1st Quarter. This has improved to the low teens with an enhanced field up to the upper-teens in a field of only announced candidates. While she has polled well in Iowa with a depressed field, she has yet to break 20% in a nationwide poll, a feat managed by Trump, Huckabee, and Palin to this point as direct challengers to Romney. Most of Bachmann’s support has come from the absence of a heavyweight Tea Party candidate in the field and the declines of Gingrich and Cain. Like Romney, her numbers fluctuate greatly depending on who is polled and who is not. Her fundraising suggests that conservatives are not yet settled that she is the best candidate to take on Romney.

Palin: 1st half Pac Money: $1.6 Million, Poll trend: Neutral

The top unannounced candidate brought in $1.6 Million through her PAC. Personally I had no clue what her PAC would bring in. I assumed more, but I also know of many, many Palin supporters who said they will not donate until she announces she runs for President, and will then donate to that account. Either way, not sure that this total is either a major plus or negative either way, but it certainly won’t blow anyone away. In polling, Palin was in the mid to upper teens in the 1st Quarter, and remained there throughout the second quarter. Of course there are so many variables that go into this, including a Public Policy Polling poll that showed barely 25% of Republicans thought Palin was running compared to over 50% who thought she was not running. This can obviously effect poll numbers. Overall, she has indicated that if she announces, it will likely be within the next 2-6 weeks and that will greatly effect both Poll numbers and fundraising.

Cain: 2Q Money Raised: $2.5 Million, Poll Trend: Up and Down

Cain raised little money despite being one of the first candidates to officially announce and a quick stint as the “it” candidate. Prior to the Bachmann “surge” Cain was the candidate polling in the low double digits. But he has faded quickly following the second debate and being surpassed by Bachmann as the new “it” candidate. Since then he has fallen to the 5-6% range in polls, or about half what he was doing earlier in the 2nd Quarter. Weak fundraising and falling polls may mean that the Cain ship has sailed and there may not be much he can do to regain the momentum he had. Cain, Bachmann, and Trump show the fickleness and emotionalism of many Tea Party voters who have jumped from one candidate to the next.

Pawlenty: 2Q Money Raised: $4.2 Million, Poll Trend: Neutral

Pawlenty came in a near tie with Ron Paul in fundraising for 2nd place to Romney. While I’ve never personally seen him as a frontrunner or a threat, many in the media continued to constantly position him as a main rival to Romney. This fundraising total shows he is neither. In polling, the news gets worse for him. He isn’t faring well in either Iowa or New Hampshire and in national polls he is little changed from the 1st Quarter. Then, he regularly scored in just the 3-6% range. The latest polls from Rasmussen, Fox, McClatchy, CNN, Reuters, NBC, ABC, and Quinnipiac had Pawlenty at 5% or less in every poll but one. His one high point? 6%. Not good for a guy who has been running for 7 months AND billed as Romney’s big challenge.

Paul/Santorum/Huntsman/Gingrich: Analysis: These four aren’t going anywhere. Paul has been running since 1988 and barely finished second in primaries to McCain in 2008 when only he and McCain remained. Santorum will be the first to drop out. I keep being told that Huntaosman is great, a real challenge to Romney, and a big threat but even after the establishment push of this Charlie Crist cartoon, he is still lucky to break the 1% mark in polls and a recent PPP poll showed he wasn’t even competitive in his home state.

Perry: I don’t think Perry is running, but everyone keeps telling me he definitely is. I think he would run if Palin doesn’t run (and that he could beat Romney) but also knows that he and Palin would be competing for the same voters and won’t run if she does. I do think he is playing in the sandbox in order to raise his profile, either for a future run or a V.P. slot with… Palin?

In many polls, “unsure/none of the above” is actually the frontrunner. Overall, i think voters are waiting (with their votes and their money) to see who how the rest of the field shapes up. Clearly, Tea party voters and conservatives are not yet willing to back a candidate, especially when two big names are waiting on the sideline. If Palin and/or Perry decide to run, I think they will have the best ability to fundraise and compete against Romney. But until then…..

 

Categories: General

Conservative’s Will Not “Split the Vote” and Hand Nomination to Romney; And Other Qs

July 13, 2011 25 comments

Sorry for the lack of updates recently. I have been preparing a move that will enable me to call Marco Rubio my United States Senator. Plus, there actually hasn’t been much exciting to report poll-wise that hasn’t already been discussed here at length. This morning I do have a number of questions to answer from my mailbox. So, let’s have at it!

 

Q: Do you think a big field that included Palin, Bachmann, Perry, Paul, Cain would split the conservative vote and hand the nomination to Romney?

A: This is probably the biggest misconception out their today, that their are too many anti-establishment candidates up against Romney and that they will “spli the vote” and hand Romney the nomination. This would certainly be the case if ALL of the more conservative/Tea Party candidate types stayed in and battled for every primary the entire campaign. But let’s be honest, most of the candidates will drop out before a majority of the voting takes place, and many probably after Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. In 2008, by Super Tuesday (when few votes had been cast) previous frontrunners Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson were already out of the race, among a handful of other 2nd rate candidates. On the Democratic side in 2008 Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, and Bill Richardson all left immediately following Iowa or New Hampshire. John Edwards was out before Super Tuesday, and only Clinton and Obama remained when 90% of the votes hate yet to be determined, and both battled until the end.

The first 4 states to go in 2012 (Iowa, NH, South Carolina, Nevada) account for less than 160 of the total 2,400+ delegates that will be selected, and none fall in the top 15 states in delegate count. Florida, the 5th state to go, is good for 99 delegates, but even with all pre-Super Tuesday states added up this is still barely 10% of total delegates awarded. The nominating process is all about momentum, and that is essentially what the first handful of states offer.

By Super Tuesday, there will likely be two candidates with momentum.  One will probably be Mitt Romney who looks good to win New Hampshire and Nevada. The winner of the Iowa caucuses will have the momentum for the South Carolina win. (However, it is possible that Romney wins Iowa due to the split votes of conservatives). If Romney wins Iowa, the second place finisher will have the momentum, and it will probably come down to South Carolina to determine the conservative alternative. Going into Florida, there will be two candidates with momentum from the previous states, and they will look to finish 1-2 in the state. The rest of the candidates will be pinning their hopes on a Florida victory to stay alive, but people who do not win something in the first 4 states usually do not win Florida.

So, by February 1st, you will probably have two candidates remaining, Mitt Romney and the Tea Party conservative alternative, and 90% of the delegates left to be decided. Let’s say Sarah Palin or Rick Perry (or whoever) wins Iowa and North Carolina and Romney wins New Hampshire, Nevada, and Florida. Bachmann, Cain, Pawlenty, Huntsman, etc would likely all be gone by Super Tuesday, and there is now effectively a 2 man race (and Ron Paul, who will never drop out, ever) left to battle over the next 2000+ delegates, with a scant couple hundred delegates decided to this point.

Many conservative activists and analysts get uptight that there are so many conservatives polling in the teens right now, but it is important to remember that since there isn’t a single voting day (which could split the vote and hand the nomination to a moderate) most of the candidates will not participate in a majority of the primaries or caucuses. This will come down to a two-person race, we just don’t know who the two-people are yet.

Q: Why is Palin waiting so long to announce? Is it due to the statute of limitations of frivolous lawsuits expiring soon? Do you think she will even run for President?

A: There is no doubt in my mind that Palin is running for President, as I have stated from day one here. I don’t think that Palin has waited an extraordinary amount of time. In 1999, Bush didn’t officially announce he was running until mid-June of that year and McCain didn’t announce until September! Sure, both had formed “exploratory committees” but Palin has essentially done that in her own way. Even this year, Jon Huntsman and Michele Bachmann just formally announced within the past few weeks and nobody is getting uptight over Rick Perry’s declaration (or not) of candidacy. As far as debates go, know when the first time George W. Bush entered a debate in 1999? Try December. Look, there is still nearly 6 months to go until the Iowa caucuses. That is a millennium in the age of 24/hour news and politics.

As for her announcement, is she waiting for the statute of limitations to expire? I’d guess not. If there were anything more they could have thrown at her in that capacity, they would have. My guess is she will have momentum starting this weekend with the release of The Undefeated (and the establishment will say she is sucking oxygen again). She will also be releasing her SarahPac fundraising numbers within the next week or two. My guess is they are strong since they will likely be released during her documentary release. Otherwise, they would have slipped the numbers out among all the other candidates disappointing fundraising hauls. (I also think Bachmann is holding back her figures hoping she raises more than SarahPac.) If Palin somehow hit around the $10 Million mark, that would be huge and big news, especially for a non-candidate. So, my guess is you will see a trifecta of the movie premier, followed the next week by a strong fundraising release, followed by an announcement of candidacy by the end of the month. But then, we are talking about Sarah Palin here.

Q: Do you think The Undefeated will help Palin’s presidential prospects?

A: I’ve noticed a big change in the way that the media has been covering Sarah Palin recently, most notably after the release of her e-mails from time as Governor. I think deep down, the media really believed what they were saying about Palin was true. They wanted to believe that Palin was mean, vindictive, controlling, aloof, stupid, unqualified… unpresidential. But I think as the ripped through her e-mails they noticed that they had spent all of this time destroying a good woman. They disagreed with her, sure, but nothing they said about her, implied about her, or simply wanted to be true was true. Couple this with The Undefeated. And here are the journalists, once again, learning stuff about Palin that they never knew to have existed. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the media will be voting for Palin en masse anytime soon, but for the first time they treat her as a serious person. Or at least as serious as they treat any other Republican. I think that there will be less snark in the future regarding Palin and more fact-based reporting (similar to the surprisingly fair Newsweek piece), and that will only help. Plus, I think the media has realized that Palin is not who they thought she was, but another female candidate actually fits the mold that was presented as Palin.

Q: Do you think Romney would choose Bachmann for VP if he were to win the nomination? 

A: No way in one billion trillion years would Romney pick Bachmann as his running-mate. Nobody will.Bachmann would be a major liability to Romney and she would attract more negative attention than anything. Recent stories about her clinic, her businesses and government subsidies, her total lack of experience other than voting in a way 200 other congressmen have voted, etc would haunt her for a year. Trust me, they would never let up on Bachmann. Field Day.

Romney is about as vanilla as they come. He has shown absolutely no interest in the Tea Party vote or conservatives in general. The VP slot is relatively meaningless. After all, Obama won with Joe Biden, Clinton with Gore, Bush with Quayle, and Bush 2 with a guy the media declared was Darth Vader. Romney would never pick someone who would upstage him. My guess is he would choose someone safe and harmless like Tim Pawlenty. Romney is about discipline and control, and Bachmann is too controversial of a pick.

 

 

Categories: General

Ranking the Field: GOP Primary Edition

Polling has been a little slow, uneventful, and predictable lately, thus the slower posting rates here at Poll Insider. Plus, there are so many variables/candidates/possible candidates right now that it’s easier to give a general rundown of where I see the candidates (and potential ones) at this stage. I expect the field to be fully settled within the next 3-4 weeks. I don’t see that many candidates would want to sit out a majority of the 3rd Quarter fundraising term, nor do I believe many could afford to do so. I have a Q&A post coming up, so if you have any burning questions/bold predictions you want, ask me at pollinsider (@) gmail.com

Top Tier Candidates (One of these three will probably be the next GOP Nominee)

#1 MITT ROMNEY: It doesn’t really matter where you look, Romney sits atop just about every poll and primary poll that is released. He topped the fundraising charts, but it was an incredibly lackluster total for the frontrunner and the guy most “experts” believe will win the GOP nomination.

#2 SARAH PALIN: Palin remains the top challenger on the list for this very reason: She is polling very well despite Republicans, by a 2-1 margin, not thinking she is even running. Over 50% of Republicans do not think she will run, and barely 1/4 think she will. So, to poll where she does is quite the feat as most voters have probably “moved on” to the next candidate on the list, but would probably gravitate back to her if/when she enters.She also remains the most popular Republican in most polls.

#3 RICK PERRY: I’m less convinced that Perry is running, and more convinced that he is simply letting his name get out their for either a potential run or a VP slot. But what do I know, because all the experts say he is definitely running and Palin is not. I think it’s the other way around, but that’s just me. However, if Perry does get in, he has an incredible built in base and appeal Something about Texas Governors, right?

Second Tier Candidates

#4 MICHELE BACHMANN: What to make of Michele Bachmann? Bachmann right now is the beneficiary of “being there” and being the loudest anti-Romney voice at this current stage. I hesitate to move her into the top tier because she does not have a sustained polling trend. Right now I think she is still the “it” candidate of the moment, just as Trump was and Cain was for a short while. Most of her current support levels seem to be coming from a huge drop in support of Gingrich and drops in support from Cain as well. Additionally, with the current media mantra being that Palin isn’t running, so go vote for Bachmann, that has probably pushed her up a little as well. But I do not see the ground support or built in base that either a Romney, Palin, or Perry has. Also, I’m not convinced that even Bachmann supporters think she can take out Romney. I think Bachmann is destined to be runner up IF no one else enters the fold.

The Wannabe Candidate

Jon Huntsman – The no Labels, Charlie Crist-ish dweeb has the Bill Clinton stamp of approval. Needless to say, I don’t think the GOP establishment, RINO-Establishment, and media- lovefest has done much to help his credibility among GOP primary voters. He’s had perhaps the biggest introduction and push, but has yet to do much with it despite all of the free help. to me he comes off as arrogant and elitist and self-absorbed. It doesn’t help that he has the facial mannerisms of Al Gore (and the same climate policy!).

The Rest

Ron Paul – Has made little traction since he first starting running for President, oh, say, two decades ago. Sure he hangs around 10%, but that’s pretty much where he maxes out. He barely finished second in state-match-ups to mcCain in 2008, and that was when he was the only other candidate.

Herman Cain – Also seems to have tapped out his support. Has mixed reviews from Republicans. Appears to be losing momentum, not gaining it.

Newt Gingrich – Completely unpopular. Has tanked in the polls. Everyone has abandoned him. Why is he even wasting his time?

Rick Santorum – Looks depressed at every event and incapable of smiling. Talks to fast. No momentum and no money.

Tim Pawlenty – Still touted as Romney’s main rival for some reason. Must be the constant 4% in the polls he bangs up. Like I said, there is little room for a less eloquent, less attractive, poorly funded, noodle-spined version of Mitt Romney, and that is what Pawlenty is.

Categories: General