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Sent: Tuesday, December 20, 2011 10:50 PM
Subject: THE POLITICS GUY NEWSLETTER DECEMBER 2011
THE POLITICS GUY NEWSLETTER
EARLY PRIMARIES AND CAUCUSES AREN’T SIGNIFICANT
Media hype would make one think that the early Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary are going to determine the GOP presidential nominee.
Don’t bet on it.
The earliest a clear nominee will emerge might be April and, if no candidate runs consistently ahead of the pack, the June 5 California primary could be the clincher.
Adding to the uncertainty this year is a Republican National Committee credentials report which says it won’t seat winner-take-all delegations at the GOP National Convention in Tampa when it convenes Aug. 27. It calls for states to apportion their delegations in the same percentage as candidates finished in the state primary or caucus. In order for a winner-takes-all delegation to be seated, according to the RNC directive, the state must hold its primary or caucus after April 1.
A candidate would need 1,145 delegates to win the nomination (there will be a total 2,288 at Tampa.)
So, the media will make a big deal out of the Iowa caucus on Jan. 3. But how many delegates at stake? Only 28. And if they’re apportioned, suppose the two leading candidates come out with (hypothetically) 27% and 25% of the caucus vote. What did they gain? Only 8 delegates and 7 delegates, respectively.
Does that create an avalanche to the nomination? No.
Okay, how about a week later when New Hampshire stages its first-in-the-nation primary? For all of the media and money pumped into the Granite State, only 12 delegates are really involved. Again, using the hypothetical 27% and 25% frontrunners, the leading candidates walk away with 4 and 3 delegates respectively.
Get the idea? It’s a long way to the needed 1,145 needed for the nomination, even if the delegations went winner-takes-all.
By Feb. 28, only 302 delegates will have been decided.
The biggest bloc of delegates is up for grabs on Super Tuesday, March 6, when a total of 484 are at stake combined in Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia. The major prize is the Texas 155-member delegation but it would take an amazing effort to walk away with all of them because The Lone Star State proportions delegates and does not give all 155 to the winner.
By the end of March, only 1,093 of the 2,288 delegates will have been chosen. Even with winner-take-all, the nomination will still be up for grabs.
Several smaller delegations will be chosen at primaries and caucuses in April and May, but the big prize doesn’t come until June 5 when the 512 California delegates are decided at primary. And because the Golden State didn’t defy RNC and move its primary up early, it can have a winner-takes-all delegation.
It has been 48 years since the California primary was the decision-maker. In 1964, Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater and New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller were neck-and-neck at the end of May and it was his victory in the June California primary which made Goldwater the GOP nominee.
POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE IMPACT ON GOP?
Steffan Schmidt of the Des Moines Register thinks the scenario could actually help defeat Obama:
“Theoretically we could see Perry, Paul, Romney, and Gingrich in a ‘rope-a-dope’ slugging it out as they drag from one primary to the next all across this great country. Would that hurt the GOP in its effort to defeat Obama in November?
“Not at all!
“I think it would have the same effect as the 2008 Obama/Clinton slugfest and keep politics alive for a longer period and involve people in parts of the country who are normally left out because the nomination has been clinched early on. That’s good to get the base excited.”
With the RNC proportional delegation rule, it is conceivable that no candidate will arrive in Tampa with the nomination locked-up.
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this might lead up to is a brokered convention, something America hasn’t seen since 1960, when no Democrat had secured the nomination by the time the party convened in Los Angeles. It took 48 hours of deals and negotiations for John Kennedy to emerge as the presidential candidate.
With the way nobody has been able to pull away from the pack, Republicans might have a brokered convention in August.
This might produce a dark horse candidate who wasn’t even in the race during primary and caucus season.
Might Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Michigan Rep. Justin Amash or South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley feel a draft?
“NONE OF THE ABOVE” GAINS STRENGTH
Just before Christmas, Sarah Palin told Fox News that she didn’t have anything negative to say about the GOP field but not one of them “emotionally give me feeling in my gut that I want to endorse.”
Apparently, the majority of registered Republicans approached New Year’s Day 2012 with the same feeling.
Real Clear Politics wrote in mid-December, “Republicans are growing significantly less satisfied with the field of candidates to challenge President Barack Obama next year….”
And a CBS News poll released Dec. 20 found 29% of registered Republicans responding “None of the Above” when given a list of seven announced GOP presidential candidates.
END OF THE YEAR POLLING
As candidates will be vetted state-by-state, the major polls can be deceptive because they survey nationally and do not reflect the delegate selection process. But, for the record, here are the national samples of Republicans taken Dec. 8-18.
CNN/Opinion Research: Gingrich 28%, Romney 28%, Paul 14%, Bachman 8%, Perry 7%, Santorum 4%, Huntsman 2%
Gallup: Gingrich 25%, Romney 23%, Paul 12%, Perry 8%, Bachman 7%, Santorum 4%, Huntsman 2%
ABC/Washington Post: Gingrich 30%, Romney 30%, Paul 15%, Bachman 7%, Santorum 4%, Huntsman 2%
IOWA CAUCUS DONNYBROOK
Rasmussen polling of likely Iowa caucus voters through Dec. 17 has Romney 23%, Gingrich 20%, Paul 18%, Perry 10%, Bachman 9%, Santorum 6%, Huntsman 5%, 2% scattered among other candidates and 8% undecided.
Iowa voters can change their minds quickly. In November, Gingrich led Romney there 32% to 19%. And in October, Herman Cain led the poll.
© 2011 The Politics Guy