Bronze-level article2012 U.S. Presidential Election

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Hail to the Chief?
Persons of interest
Obama is an out-of-touch elitist, Michelle Bachmann is crazy, and Mitt Romney is a robot from the future sent to kill us all.
—blog post on the 2012 Presidential candidates

the election has already ended. (refresh) This is our ongoing commentary on the issues and candidates in the 2012 U.S. Presidential Apocalypse Election.

Contents

Major issues

The economy

The years leading up to the 2012 election have been an absolute economic shitstorm. This can go one of two ways. If the economy regains some lasting strength, it will be a big boon for the incumbent, President Barack Obama. If it continues to falter, people will be looking to Republican challengers for "coherent" solutions.

The wars

People are so tired of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan they might not even care.

See also Libya.

God, guns, and gays

Social issues often become more important when the economy is healthy, and white Christians can go back to telling other people how to live.

Taxed enough already

The teabaggers may play a big role in the process of selecting the GOP candidate. It's too soon to tell yet, though they certainly had some impact on the 2010 midterm election primaries. If they want to become serious players they will eventually have to come up with a real platform and positive proposals, rather than just running on general dissatisfaction.

Health care

The major provisions of Obamacare will not come into effect until 2014. However, as people prepare to comply with the new law, if they like what they see, it might strengthen Obama's position. If not, again, eyes and ears will turn to Republicans for "ideas."

Citizens United - a wild card

This Supreme Court decision, which allows corporations (including non-profits and unions) to spend whatever they want on political advertising, may play an unpredictable role in both the primary season and the general election. As one example, Karl Rove's PAC, American Crossroads, has pledged to spend $240 million to defeat Obama - more than three times their 2008 expenditure.[1]

Democratic Party

BarackObamaportrait.jpg
Barack Obama
Age: 52, will be 51
44th President of the USA
Advantages: Sitting President; charismatic and eloquent; extremely strong fundraising; had an unparalleled field operation in 2008; voters' preferences for a divided government may turn in his favor with the Republican capture of the House in 2010; unlikely to face a viable challenge from within his own party; killed Osama Bin Laden; disappointed supporters may turn out for him anyway considering the nature of the Republican race. Even sizable numbers of Republicans prefer Obama to the alternatives [2] and the economy is improving. [3] [4]
Disadvantages: Obama's historically poor approval ratings returned once the bump that came from the killing of bin Laden subsided. While Obama's popularity increased around February 2012, public opinion is volatile, especially given the tentative nature of the economic recovery. [5] Obama has disappointed left-wing supporters by what they perceive as him abandoning them; he cannot rely again on his 2008 campaign tactics; he will be primarily judged on the state of what has, until recently, been a remarkably sluggish economy.

Other candidates

No notable Democrats came forth to challenge Obama for the nomination, although anti-abortionist Randall Terry, formerly active in the Constitution Party and who has also run for office as a Republican, stated his intentions to run against Obama in the Democratic primary.[6] However, the odds of him achieving anything are about the same as Fred Karger below.

A primary campaign against a sitting president would not have been unprecedented—Pat Buchanan ran against George H.W. Bush in 1992, mostly to force Bush to adopt more conservative positions, and Ted Kennedy mounted a serious challenge to Jimmy Carter in 1980. A successful challenge, however, would have been extremely unlikely; both of the aforementioned incumbents subsequently lost - and so did their parties. A more likely model might have been 1972, when Richard Nixon faced primary challenges from Pete McCloskey from his left opposing the Vietnam War, and John Ashbrook from his right in protest against Nixon adopting wage and price controls. Neither was a serious threat to Nixon but ran to make a point, and they did not affect Nixon's going on to win re-election by a wide margin in the general election. Ralph Nader and Cornell West made an effort to recruit primary challengers to Obama for this purpose, possibly six challengers who would each challenge him on a different issue,[7] but this effort came to nothing.

Republican Party

Confirmed running

Candidates who have officially declared their candidacy or formed exploratory committees. As of late January 2012, only Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul are still running. [8] It is possible that no candidate will obtain the necessary level of pledged delegates to be outright voted the nominee at the 2012 Republican National Convention, which could lead to a brokered convention. In this circumstance, some hardline conservatives are hoping that a savior (Sarah Palin or Chris Christie) will show up and win over the unpledged delegates and candidates. However, since such a circumstance would alienate many GOP voters by making them feel disenfranchised, and because such saviors are not actually very good candidates either, the most likely scenario in a brokered convention is that Gingrich, Paul, and Santorum jockey with Romney to wring out some policy concessions in return for their support.

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Newt Gingrich
Age: 70
Former Speaker of the House and Congressman from Georgia
Advantages: He's always been more of an "ideas man" than a platitude shouter (which could actually work to his disadvantage). He has high name recognition, having been the architect of the 1994 Republican takeover of the House, and he can take some credit for the fiscal discipline and budget surpluses of the 1990s. He hasn't had to worry about fundraising thanks to friend Sheldon Adelson, who has written him two checks for $10 million when the money was required.

He had a surge in polls in November 2011,[9] but has since slipped to 3rd.[10]

Disadvantages: He has had high disapproval numbers and a fair bit of baggage from when he was Speaker, including some major issues with conservative Christians over his multiple divorces and the pretty nasty circumstances under which they happened. He has not held an elected office outside of Georgia's 6th Congressional District (though Speaker of the House is a very important office), and his greatest successes were more than a decade ago. Talk radio host Michael Savage offered Gingrich $1 million to drop out. His appeal to moderates has been pretty much spoiled, as he's been into the culture wars for decades and has appealed to the Tea Party on various issues. He's as gaffe-prone as Palin or Bachmann in his own way (orphanages![11]), and at one point almost his entire campaign staff has resigned en masse. There are almost no debates left, a venue that has almost single-handedly given Gingrich what support he managed to garner. And finally, a look at the remaining primaries reveals almost no way he could obtain the necessary delegates to win the nomination, even assuming another big swell of support.
Ron Paul, official 109th Congress photo.jpg
Ron Paul
Age: 78
Congressman from Texas' 14th District
Advantages: He has a very loyal base of support, particularly within the libertarian branch of the Tea Party. He's an anti-establishment candidate in an anti-establishment climate, who has remained relatively consistent in his political views (i.e. has not had the problem of criticizing Obama for doing things he praised Bush for doing, as he was critical of Bush all along). He came in a close second place in the Ames Iowa straw poll, finishing only 152 votes behind winner Michele Bachmann.
Disadvantages: His loyal followers tend to scare the crap out of people. He's still not as well known as certain other candidates, although this is much less the case than it was in 2008. The highest office he's attained is Congressman (the last President to emerge from the House was James Garfield in 1880), and he has accomplished little of note during his tenure. He is very old for a candidate - if elected, he would start his first term at roughly the same age Reagan, the oldest President, was when he completed his second. His libertarian stances are opposed by key components of the Republican Party - the pro-military wing opposes his foreign policy, the Christian Right is dead-set against his libertarian social views, and some of his more radical anti-regulatory stances would alienate some moderates if they became aware of them. His old newsletters published a number of... unfortunate articles under his watch, and he has a history of expressing sympathy for far-right fringe groups (the militia movement, neo-Confederates, et cetera). He is not going to win.
Mitt Romney by Gage Skidmore 4 (x).jpg
Mitt Romney
Age: 67, appears 40 thanks to hair dye.
Former governor of Massachusetts
Advantages: He can appeal to moderates and independents, and could potentially put Michigan and even Massachusetts, major states that the Republicans have not won in decades, into play. He has significant experience in both business and as Massachusetts governor. As the "runner-up" for the 2008 nomination, he is automatically considered a favorite, as the previous "runner-up" often is in Republican circles. He has consistently massive fundraising numbers on top of his personal fortune. With his lead in assigned delegates to the convention, staggering levels of advertising, and the upcoming primaries scheduled in states that tend to favor him, he remains the likely winner.
Disadvantages: He's too moderate for many Republicans, particularly in the current political climate. He has flip-flopped on several key conservative issues (notably abortion), and much like Huntsman, his Mormon faith may also hurt him with the Christian Right. His state health care plan for Massachusetts ("Romneycare") looks an awful lot like "Obamacare". He is derided by some as a man who "looks like the guy who laid you off" (and his company, Bain Capital, a typical corporate raider, actually did "downsize" many employees at its targets). Massachusetts was 47th in job creation during his time as Governor[12]. No one actually likes him, although his programmers have learned well how to simulate human emotion.
Rick Santorum official photo.jpg
Rick Santorum
Age: 55
Former Senator from Pennsylvania. [13]
Advantages: His home state has 20 electoral votes, and though it hasn't been won by a Republican since 1988 it is considered a swing state. He polled as high as #2 for a while.[14] He's staunchly conservative on social issues, which has made him a darling of Christian voters.
Disadvantages: His name recognition is for all the wrong reasons. He lost badly when he ran for a third term in the Senate in 2006. His anti-gay statements were fodder for the comedians and could hurt him among moderates and pro-gay rights voters. It might also be an issue that he is bugshit crazy.

Minor candidates

The rest of the field; a bunch of long-shots who have officially declared their candidacies but lack both the resources and the media attention to be effective contenders.

Fred Karger by IowaPolitics.jpg
Fred Karger
Age: 64
Political consultant
Advantages: None.
Disadvantages: He's an openly gay Republican. Need we say more?
Andy Martin
Age: 69
Perennial candidate without public office[15]
Advantages: He may garner a few votes from the the birther crowd.
Disadvantages: Racism, belligerence, inexperience, questionable sanity, lack of coherent policies. Relatively obscure and largely ignored, despite regular media stunts. All in all, a nut.
Jimmy McMillan Blue 2 2011 Shankbone.jpg
Jimmy McMillan
Age: 67
perennial candidate from New York
Advantages: He's funny, he has an awesome beard, and he could appeal to urban moderates and liberals living in overpriced housing.
Disadvantages: He's a joke candidate (but didn't they say the same thing about Bush '43?) with only a single issue.
Roy Moore
Age: 67
Alabama judge best known for being dismissed when he wouldn't remove the Ten Commandments from his courthouse
Advantages: Might be popular with the extreme fringe of Dominionists.
Disadvantages: He was removed from his position on the Alabama supreme court, and he failed twice in getting his party's nomination for the governorship of his home state - someone who's too far right for Alabama Republicans probably won't be popular in the rest of the country.

Dropped out

These are ex-candidates.

Michele Bachmann by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Michele Bachmann
Age: 58
Congresswoman from Minnesota
Advantages: She's a Tea Party darling and semi-official leader of the respective faction within the Republican caucus, and is comparatively well-known for a House Rep. Since Palin isn't running, she could galvanize teabaggers and social conservatives. She had strong fundraising in her 2010 reelection campaign. She has performed far beyond expectations in debates so far, and won the Ames Iowa straw poll.[16] She suspended her campaign on January 4th 2011 after a "dismal" showing in the Iowa caucus.[17]
Disadvantages: She's distinctly crazy even by Republican standards. She's gaffe-prone and has a history of spectacularly ignorant and inflammatory statements, and has no establishment support (as evidenced in her failed bid for a House leadership position). She would struggle in a field crowded with right-wingers and religious conservatives. She has never successfully sponsored any legislation, despite three terms in the House. Conventional wisdom holds that Reps have a much harder road to nomination compared to Governors or Senators, given that nobody has gone directly from the House to the White House in over 130 years.
Ambassador Jon Huntsman.jpg
Jon Huntsman
Age: 54
Former Ambassador to China and Governor of Utah[18][19]
Advantages: He has good foreign policy experience - in addition to being the former ambassador to China, he was also ambassador to Singapore under Bush Senior. He's moderate on social issues - he took progressive stances on climate change, gay rights and immigration during his time as governor, which could attract a lot of independents. The media loves him.
Disadvantages: This election is not being decided on foreign policy. His social liberalism and his being appointed to a senior ambassadorial role by Obama will undoubtedly hurt his standing with the Tea Party, while his connections with China may put off a few crazies. Being the son of a billionaire doesn't exactly scream "man of the people". Being a Mormon will hurt him among conservative Christian voters.
Herman Cain at Hannity - Boortz event-1b.jpg
Herman Cain
Age: 68
Radio talk-show host, former restaurant CEO.
Advantages: Got an early start by being the first person to form an exploratory comittee.[20] He is black, which makes it easier to deflect accusations that the Tea Party is racist.[21] He has a great deal of arguably successful business experience, a distinct plus to an electorate concerned with the economy above all. He's had a recent surge in polls and name recognition, and may be an alternative to the moderate Romney. Dropped out Dec. 3rd 2011. [22]
Disadvantages: Every other thing about him. He's never held public office, he has little name recognition, he writes columns for WorldNetDaily, and wants to base his presidency on Chile 30 years ago.[23] His "9-9-9" tax plan has not survived serious scrutiny, as even conservative economists recognize that it would be a massive tax hike for the poor and middle class, massive tax cut for the rich and corporations, and would be impossible to get through Congress in any case. Plus, he makes Anthony Weiner look like an expert at handling sex scandals.
Thaddeus McCotter by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Thaddeus McCotter
Age: 48
Republican representing Michigan's 11th House District
Advantages: Uuummm... well, he beats Karger in the "unknowns" category by not being gay, which is important for Republicans. Other than that...
Disadvantages: Admit it. You hadn't even heard of him till you read this page. He really was running for President, though.[24]
Tim Pawlenty.jpg
Tim Pawlenty
Age: 53
39th Governor of Minnesota
Advantages: He has executive experience and moderate stances. He appeals to fiscal conservatives due to his unallotments (this strange word = "wrecking") of the Minnesota state budget, could deliver Minnesota's 10 electoral votes to the Republicans - a state they have not won since 1972. He was on the shortlist for VP in 2008, giving him some credibility. He is a most dedicated campaigner, having started working on his candidacy months before other possibilities.
Disadvantages: Not too well known nationally, and is perceived widely as "boring." He has alienated conservatives by supporting clean energy. He performed badly in the Ames Iowa straw poll, finishing in a distant third place.
Rick Perry photo portrait, August 28, 2004.jpg
Rick Perry[25]
Age: 64
47th Governor of Texas
Advantages: He has executive experience as a long-serving governor in the state of Texas, which is great fundraising territory for Republicans. Under his leadership, Texas has performed very strongly and avoided many of the worst aspects of the Great Recession, with excellent job growth driven by a strong influx of new residents and a paucity of regulation.[26] As a Texan and a staunch social conservative, he can connect with both the Southern and Western electorates - Perry is very much "one of us" for a majority of the country.
Disadvantages: He has made some seemingly pro-secession statements which are likely to hurt him outside of Texas and parts of the South. As an inarticulate and highly gaffe-prone Texas governor, he reminds people of still-unpopular former President George W. Bush, while nonetheless being reviled by former members of the Bush administration like Karl Rove. He's jumped on the third rail of politics with both feet, performing very poorly in debates and calling Social Security a Ponzi scheme which should be eliminated, which will not play well with the critical demographic of older voters. And those jobs he created? Many of them are close to minimum wage.
BuddyRoemerJune2008.jpg
Charles "Buddy" Roemer
Age: 70
Former governor of Louisiana, bank CEO
Advantages: Upheld Roe v. Wade while governor, despite his friends' and allies' opposition. Normally this would be an ideological disadvantage, but it can also be seen as a sign of independence and could make him appeal to moderates. He was one of the first to declare his candidacy[27], and he has already selected his running mate, former Democrat/Independent Senator Joe Lieberman.[28]
Disadvantages: His support for abortion rights and legal gambling will alienate social conservatives. While governor, his proposals were usually rejected, and he only lasted one term. He hasn't held office since 1992, and he has a serious lack of name recognition. He was elected as a Democrat and switched parties mid-term. Dropped out to seek American's elect/Reform party ticket.[29]

Looked like they were going to, but declined

The candidates below were at one point considered possible nominees, but decided not to run in the first place. [30][31][32][33][34]

Haley Barbour cropped.jpg
Haley Barbour
Age: 66
63rd Governor of Mississippi
Advantages: Probably the most well-connected and powerful Republican as former head of the RNC[35] and current head of the RGA.[36].
Disadvantages: Not well known outside his home state of Mississippi, which is a safe Republican state already. And Mississippi is dead last in everything for a reason. His actual accomplishments and intentions to run were published in a fake news magazine, whilst being real, and no one noticed. Has a creepy William Shatner-ish look about him (maybe it's just the picture we chose to use).
Bushjeb17042007.jpg
Jeb Bush
Age: 61
Former 43rd Governor of Florida
Advantages: He's the smarter of the Bush brothers (though that may be damning with faint praise). He's well known, and has executive experience as the former Governor of Florida, which is a key state for both parties.
Disadvantages: The Bush name is not as popular a brand as it used to be.
ChrisChristie2.jpg
Chris Christie
Age:51
Governor of New Jersey
Advantages: He's a popular governor of a large, liberal state who can appeal to moderates. He's charismatic and a great communicator, and has been intensively courted by big donors and establishment politicians, indicating solid elite support. New Jersey's electoral votes would be a boon for Republicans.
Disadvantages: Would get in very late. Like Romney, he has frequently taken moderate positions in the past. His billing the state for personal expenditures (such as taking the official helicopter to his son's pee-wee sports game) could hurt him among fiscal conservatives, and his appointment of a Muslim as a superior court justice could turn off the Islamophobic wing. Additionally, as the elections for the GOP nominee have progressed and he has been courted for endorsements, his viewpoints on social issues (such as abortion) have become significantly less liberal.
Colbert portrait.jpg
Stephen Colbert
Age: 49
Comedian
Advantages: He's got name recognition and political experience. He found a cool slogan, "A Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow".
Disadvantages: Suspected Democratic Deep cover liberal.
Mitch Daniels at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, April 16, 2006.jpg
Mitch Daniels
Age: 65
Governor of Indiana
Advantages: He has extensive executive experience, and is successful and popular in his home state. He's a rare Republican moderate who could lay an unopposed claim to that faction, assuming it still exists.
Disadvantages: He's not too well known, and his moderation on social issues hasn't endeared him with conservatives. He might face another contender from the same state (Mike Pence).
Rudy.jpg
Rudy Giuliani
Age: 69
Former queen mayor of New York
Advantages: He has strong fundraising and name recognition, a healthy media presence, and extensive experience running a Presidential campaign (though the results of his first attempt were hardly encouraging).
Disadvantages: He's too liberal for many Republicans on social issues, and has a lot of messy marital baggage. He floundered in his last presidential campaign, and his narrow emphasis on 9/11 and the War on Terror won't help him in an election being decided on economic issues.
Mike Huckabee speaking at HealthierUS Summit.jpg
Mike Huckabee
Age: 58
Former governor of Arkansas
Advantages: He's charismatic - his fundamentalism is masked by his demeanor, making him less Falwell-like than his positions would suggest. He has executive experience and strong appeal to the religious right, and he cooks a mean deep-fried squirrel. He won RationalWiki's ironic endorsement for the Republican nomination in 2008.
Disadvantages: His appeal to moderates and independents is uncertain. As governor of Arkansas, he freed a convict who later killed four policemen in Washington state[37], which could hurt him with "law and order" Republicans, and would pretty much guarantee Washington state remaining Democrat. His economic populism doesn't make him popular with big donors.
Bobby Jindal, official 109th Congressional photo.jpg
Bobby Jindal
Age: 42
55th Governor of Louisiana
Advantages: He currently has high approval ratings as governor of Louisiana. As an Indian-American, he can help the Republicans escape the image as being the party of rich white guys and ex-Dixiecrat nostalgics, potentially appealing to ethnic minorities.
Disadvantages: He's not presidential in demeanor - his response to Obama's address to Congress in 2009 reminded everybody of Mr. Rogers (may have been his very early "Dean Scream"). He could be seen as too young (he would narrowly be the youngest person ever to hold the office). He appears to be destroying his state's economy, to the point where even fiscal conservatives are starting to call him on his massive budget cuts.
SarahPalinElon.jpg
Sarah Palin
Age: 50
Former Governor of Alaska
Advantages: She's well-known, and a great fundraiser with lots of media attention. She's viewed as a strong social conservative, giving her a very loyal following among the Christian Right and a branch of the Tea Party. She winks at you - yes, you! She is winking at you.
Disadvantages: She's an extremely divisive figure who is not viewed favorably among the general electorate. She's viewed as not very bright (to be generous), and has very poor showings when she goes off-script. She has little experience, having quit her job as governor halfway through one term. Her family life has become something of a soap opera. Her early supporters are now migrating to Perry and Bachmann, and she has definitely decided not to run [38].
George Pataki[39]
Age: 68
Former three term governor of New York
Advantages: He has plenty of executive experience, and could deliver New York's 31 electoral votes to the Republicans for the first time since Reagan.
Disadvantages: He's boring as hell and too liberal for most Republicans.
Mike Pence, official portrait, 111th Congress.jpg
Mike Pence
Age: 54
Representative from Indiana
Advantages: He won the 2010 Value Voters straw poll, indicating strong social conservative support.
Disadvantages: Mike who? Never heard of him... (but who'd heard of Bill Clinton two years before he was elected?[40]) The House of Representatives is rarely a direct path to the White House (see Ron Paul and Michelle Bachmann above).
General David Petraeus.jpg
David Petraeus
Age: 61
US Army General
Advantages: He's got the best national security credentials on the face of the planet - he's widely credited with winning the Iraq War, and he literally wrote the book on counterinsurgency strategies, giving him bipartisan respect. War heroes have often done well (Washington, Jackson, Grant, Eisenhower).
Disadvantages: He has asserted that he has no political ambitions. In April 2011, he was nominated by President Obama as CIA Director.
Marco Rubio.jpg
Marco Rubio
Age: 42
Senator from Florida
Advantages: He's seen as a young, up-and-coming conservative - a sort of Republicans' answer to Barack Obama. As a Latino, he could potentially bring over members of a key demographic that the Republicans are having a very hard time trying to win over.
Disadvantages: He's inexperienced -- he did not become a senator until January 2011, and he would have to start campaigning less than half a year into his first term (Obama, who many criticized for inexperience, had two years more in the Senate than Rubio will). His parents were born outside the U.S., making him ineligible by birther standards.
Paul Ryan, official portrait, 112th Congress.jpg
Paul Ryan
Age: 44
Congressman from Wisconsin
Advantages: He has risen to national prominence and become a media darling because of his focus on debt issues and his plan to eliminate the deficit. He is steeped in policy questions
Disadvantages: His deficit reduction plan is an exercise in radicalism that is bound to alienate the elderly and middle-class voters. He's a prominent member of a very unpopular Republican House leadership. Campaigns based on issues instead of ideology rarely resonate with primary voters.
John Thune official photo.jpg
John Thune
Age: 53, will be 52
Senator from South Dakota
Advantages: He's reportedly charismatic, adheres for the most part to the Republican Party policy line, and has decent connections with the establishment (having been seriously considered as John McCain's Vice-Presidential pick).
Disadvantages: He voted for TARP, he's unknown to the broader public, and he's relatively inexperienced as a junior senator.
Donald-trump.jpg
Donald Trump
Age: 67
CEO, Reality show host.
Advantages: He's got name recognition and business experience, and polls well among Republicans[41]. He's the only candidate so far to embrace birtherism, meaning that he can get out the wingnut crowd. he can use tag line "Obama, You're Fired".
Disadvantages: He has no political experience. His personality on his reality show could be a turn-off. He's currently trying to appeal to the right wing of the party, but used to be socially liberal and his sexual history makes Bill Clinton look like St. Thérèse. Birtherism would be problematic in the general election.

GOP primary polls

Polling averages

Moving polling averages to October 2011      Romney      Perry      Bachmann      Ron Paul
Intrade odds      Romney      Perry      Bachmann      Ron Paul


Shown at the right is a moving average of recent primary polls, obtained from RCP's polling database.[42] For several reasons, these numbers should be taken with a huge grain of salt:

  • The field of candidates is still not settled, and different polls have often offered the respondents a different choice of candidates. For example, Mike Huckabee and Mitch Daniels were generally considered to be likely contenders and polled quite well until they declared not to seek the nomination after all. Sometimes, pollsters will retroactively process their data and assign respondents' votes for candidates who are no longer running to their second preferences, but sometimes such a choice was never offered and these responses are simply thrown out or just not shown anymore.
  • This early in the cycle, only very few eligible voters have seriously spent time thinking about their upcoming choices, let alone made their mind up. Some candidates are still unknown to many voters, while others will gain a boost simply by virtue of greater prominence. This allows for massive fluctuations in the run-up to the primaries.
  • There are only a handful of firms already in the field with regular polls, and the sample can't be held constant across the different intervals. So far, only Gallup, CNN and PPP are consistently represented, while others are included based on availability.
  • It's still a long time until the primaries, and there's a lot that can happen. At most, these numbers can provide information about how the field developed, but their predictive ability is extremely limited.

Alternative indicators

An alternative measure for predicting the candidates' chances of winning the nomination is having a look at the odds they're given at betting markets. Intrade allows bettors to take out long and short positions on contracts that trade between zero and 100 points, with each contract assigned to an event that can happen or not - in this case, a given candidate becoming the Republican nominee. As soon as the outcome is clear, contracts expire at either maximum or minimum value. In the meantime, they can be freely traded, and the current point value can be read as the market's overall consensus about a candidate's chances expressed in percentage points.

States won thus far

Below are the winners of the states which have held primaries or caucuses so far:

  • Romney:[43]
    • Alaska
    • Arizona
    • Florida
    • Hawaii
    • Idaho
    • Illinois
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • Michigan
    • Nevada
    • New Hampshire
    • Ohio
    • Vermont
    • Virginia
    • Washington
    • Wyoming
  • Santorum:
    • Alabama
    • Colorado
    • Iowa
    • Kansas
    • Louisiana
    • Minnesota
    • Mississippi
    • Missouri( with no delegates at stake)
    • North Dakota
    • Oklahoma
    • Tennessee
  • Gingrich:
    • Georgia
    • South Carolina

Other parties and independents

Libertarian Party

  • Wayne Allyn Root
  • R. Lee Wrights
  • Gary Johnson

Green Party

  • Stewart Alexander, 2008 VP nominee and 2012 presidential nominee for the Socialist Party.
  • Kent Mesplay, Air quality inspector
  • Jello Blafra, a musician and activist from California

Constitution Party

  • Virgil Goode, former house member from Virginia, who was in congress as a Democrat, an independent, and lastly a Republican. What's yet another party switch to him?

Americans Elect

  • Buddy Roemer, former Democrat/Republican governor of Louisiana. The Reform Party is trying to woo him too. See the note above about Virgil Goode.

Prohibition Party

  • Jack Fellure is their official nominee. Topping the list of reasons why you should vote for Jack Fellure is "My Presidential Campaign Platform is the Authorized 1611 King James Bible. God Almighty wrote that Book as the supreme constitution and absolute authority..." and you know you don't want to read any more.

Assorted oddities

  • Rocky Anderson, former mayor of Salt Lake City, running on his own Justice Party ticket. Why didn't he instead run a primary challenge against Obama or seek the Green Party nomination? Who knows?
  • Tiffany Briscoe, nominee of the Boston Tea Party. Again, what's the point? The Boston Tea Party was started as a protest against the Libertarian Party's trimming most of its platform in 2006 and was supposed to stand for zero compromise. Briscoe's platform includes school vouchers, a 20% flat income tax, and the unification of the NSA and CIA under the Pentagon.
  • Will Ralph Nader run again? The anticipation abounds. Damn you, Nader!
  • Donald Trump has been making noises of late of running as an independent.

Jesus Christ

Buddy christ.jpg
Jesus

Age 2015
Prophet

Advantages: Name recognition, perennial write-in candidate, worldwide fundraising juggernaut, sweet beard.
Disadvantages: Likely to run into trouble with "birthers;" speeches advocating tolerance, admonishments of the rich to give away their wealth, condemnation of ostentatious public displays of prayer unlikely to garner much support from the conservative Christian base. Middle Eastern ethnicity will prompt questions of patriotism and suggestions of Muslim affiliation.

Cthulhu

Cthulhu2012.jpg
Cthulhu

"Why vote for the lesser of the evils?"
Age: several eons
caretaker of the Old Ones and future ruler of Earth

Advantages: lots of experience; charismatic though physically repugnant; has very dedicated followers; master manipulator; strong religious credentials
Disadvantages: ongoing controversy over his citizenship; might be a little too evil even for those who put up with President Nixon and Dick Cheney; his supporters are even crazier than Palin's, which might hamper organization; somewhat poor interpersonal skills; concerns about more long-term hidden agenda; "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" may not work well as a campaign slogan, especially with anti-foreign sentiment; accused of being a Muslim well, OK, not yet, but he will be; people go insane at the sight of him, causing staff retention problems; status as a deity could conceivably alienate religious voters; may messily devour supporters before they can cast ballots; body odor.


See also

External Links

BallotPedia Lists every issue and candidate for all national and state Elections. Provides links to any article or editorial on a topic, links to polls, links to official sites, etc.

Footnotes

  1. http://www.iwatchnews.org/2011/09/08/6226/karl-roves-crossroads-has-more-doubled-its-earlier-fundraising-goal-120-million
  2. The Right Freaks Out As GOP Poll Finds 20% Of Republicans May Vote For Obama
  3. Double Dose of Good Timing Aiding Obama’s Re-Election Chances
  4. Obama’s Re-Election Chances Rise With Signs Economy Improving
  5. The Right Freaks Out As GOP Poll Finds 20% Of Republicans May Vote For Obama
  6. CNN - "Anti-abortion activist announces run against Obama" January 20, 2011. Retrieved May 15, 2011.
  7. http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/ralph-nader-cornel-west-lead-effort-to-mount-primary-against-obama/2011/09/17/gIQAB2LaaK_story.html
  8. Republican candidates on the issues
  9. http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2011/11/11/Polls-Newt-Gingrich-in-GOP-top-three/UPI-42131321040399/ Upi.]
  10. 2012 Republican Presidential Nomination
  11. http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/The-312/November-2011/Newt-Gingrichs-Child-Labor-Philosophy-Orphan-Trains-and-Japanese-School-Cleaning/!
  12. http://mediamatters.org/research/201106050009
  13. [Santorum in first debate, which was only for declared candidates.
  14. 2012 Republican Presidential Nomination
  15. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2013798523_birther30.html
  16. CNN: Bachmann wins Iowa straw poll, narrowly besting Ron Paul
  17. CBS:Michele Bachmann to end presidential campaign
  18. [1]
  19. http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/15/huntsman-says-hes-quitting-g-o-p-race/
  20. http://www.hermancain.com/
  21. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZDkacOveF0
  22. CBS news: Herman Cain drops White House bid
  23. http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=251933
  24. McCotter's official campaign site.
  25. http://blogs.abcnews.com/thenote/2011/08/texas-gov-rick-perry-jumps-in-presidential-race.html
  26. http://www.politicalmathblog.com/?p=1590
  27. CBS: Louisiana long shot seeks 2012 presidential nod
  28. Time Magazine:PRESS RELEASE: Roemer Announces Senator Lieberman as “First Choice” for VP Running Mate
  29. Buddy goes Independent
  30. CNN: They say they're not running in 2012
  31. TPM: Mike Pence Not Running For President
  32. LA Times: Sen. John Thune says he will not run for president in 2012
  33. Huckabee won't run.
  34. [2]
  35. The Republican National Committee, a powerful body that establishes the Republican platform, coordinates fund-raising and funds allocation, and plans the Republican National Convention.
  36. Republican Governor's Association
  37. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Governorship_of_Mike_Huckabee#Wayne_DuMond_case
  38. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-15193726
  39. http://blogs.abcnews.com/thenote/2011/08/george-pataki-passes-on-2012-presidential-race.html
  40. Note that Clinton was one of many second-stringers willing to run against GHWB when he had 90% approval ratings due to his little war in Iraq. The subsequent collapse of the economy changed everything, as money always does.
  41. CNN: CNN Poll: Trump tied for first in GOP horserace.
  42. RealClearPolitics: 2012 Republican Presidential Nomination Polls
  43. In addition, Romney has won in American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Puerto Rico.
  44. Though he did win the U.S. Virgin Islands
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