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Friday, August 26, 2011

Obama Vs. 2012 Tea Party Selected GOP Candidate: Obama Wins!

Obama in Close Race Against Romney, Perry, Bachmann, Paul

President Barack Obama is closely matched against each of four possible Republican opponents when registered voters are asked whom they would support if the 2012 presidential election were held today. Mitt Romney leads Obama by two percentage points, 48% to 46%, Rick Perry and Obama are tied at 47%, and Obama edges out Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann by two and four points, respectively.

These prospective election ballots -- measured Aug. 17-18, well over a year before the Nov. 6, 2012, election -- indicate that the race for president at this point is generally competitive, with voters fairly evenly divided in their preference for giving Obama a second term or electing a Republican candidate. Even though the four Republican candidates tested have varying degrees of name recognition, they all fare roughly the same.

Gallup's generic presidential ballot -- measured six times this year -- shows a close race between Obama and a generic "Republican presidential candidate," although there have been survey-to-survey variations on this measure, with the Republican candidate leading in June and July.

President Obama's job approval rating is hovering around the 40% mark. This is below the rating that any of the six incumbent presidents re-elected since Eisenhower has had at the time of the presidential election.

However, in August of the year before they were re-elected, Ronald Reagan (43%) and Bill Clinton (46%) were both below 50%. Obama's position of rough parity against leading GOP candidates shows that more Americans at the moment say they would vote for Obama than approve of the job he is doing -- perhaps a reflection of the continuing lack of a strong front-runner on the Republican side.

With the first official votes for the Republican nomination more than five months away, and with the very real possibility that GOP candidates such as Sarah Palin, Rudy Giuliani, and George Pataki may jump into the race, much could still change as the election process unfolds. A look at presidential election trial heats conducted in the late summer of the year before previous elections reveals that such change is quite common:

In August 1999, Texas Gov. George W. Bush led Vice President Al Gore by 55% to 41% in a Gallup trial heat poll. That race ended up in a virtual dead heat, with Gore ultimately winning slightly more of the national popular vote than Bush.

In August 1995, Kansas Sen. Bob Dole was slightly ahead of President Bill Clinton in a Gallup poll, 48% to 46%. On Election Day 1996, Clinton beat Dole by eight points.
In August 1983, President Ronald Reagan was ahead of Democrat Walter Mondale by only one point, 44% to 43%. Reagan went on to beat Mondale in a 59% to 41% landslide in the November 1984 election.

In August 1979, incumbent President Jimmy Carter was tied with former California Gov. Reagan -- each getting 45% of the vote. Reagan ultimately defeated Carter by 10 points.

Voters Favor Their Party, but Republicans Lend Less Support to Bachmann, Paul

Democratic and Republican registered voters display strong allegiance for their party's candidate across these election match-ups. Democrats are the most consistent, voting for Obama to about the same degree regardless of who the GOP candidate is.

Republicans exhibit a little more variation, giving their strongest support to Perry (92% would vote for him) and Romney (91%), weaker support to Bachmann (86%), and the weakest support to Paul (82%). Independents tilt at least slightly toward voting for Romney, Perry, and Paul against Obama, while tilting slightly toward Obama when he is pitted against Bachmannn.

Bottom Line

President Obama is at the moment in a rough parity position when registered voters are asked whether they would vote for him in election matchups against four potential Republican candidates. Romney fares slightly better than the other GOP candidates, and Bachmann slightly worse, but these are not large differences. Gallup research shows that these types of election measures at this stage in the campaign are not highly stable, and one can expect changes in the relative positioning of Obama and various GOP candidates in the months ahead.

The Tea Party Will Select the GOP's 2012 Nominee

The tea party movement is the driving force in American politics.

In every aspect of our politics — both in campaigns, in state Houses and up on Capitol Hill — the tea party movement is reshaping the debate on debt and the role and scope of government.

This grass-roots, bottom-up movement completely dominated the 2010 GOP senatorial, congressional, and gubernatorial primaries — and won almost every contested GOP race. Even long-time conservative senators were defeated in GOP conventions and primaries because, in the eyes of the tea party, they were “too liberal” on fiscal issues.

But not every tea party GOP nominee won their general election races. The two most notable losers of races that a better GOP candidate would probably have won were Delaware (Christine O’Donnell) and Nevada (Sharron Angle).

With the power of the tea party movement in mind, the best way to analyze the 2012 GOP presidential field is through a tea party prism. No candidate is going to be the 2012 GOP nominee unless the tea party embraces him or her.

Thus, we can begin to eliminate candidates who are unacceptable to the tea party movement:
Mitt Romney has gone out of his way to distance himself from tea partyers; his Romneycare health bill dooms him.

Haley Barbour was a two-decade long inside-the-Beltway lobbyist; the tea party abhors lobbyists, insiders, and those who have lived off the political system.
Jon Huntsman — who, you ask? — can forget it. Known in Utah as a “liberal” Republican who then served as Obama’s ambassador to China cannot win the support of the tea party.

Newt Gingrich? Too self-promoting, too many marriages, too mouthy, and he has no credibility.

Donald Trump? While many agree with his China rhetoric, he is un-electable. He cannot survive serious scrutiny. But, before that happens, he does excite tea partyers with his “outsider” image — it is indeed just an image. Trump has played footsie with long-time Democrat incumbents and funded their campaigns. The tea party doesn’t know that yet, but they will. And they will not embrace him.

Forget the other also-rans, too, like Rick Santorum and Rudy Giuliani. No one digs them at all. They are yesterday’s news.

OK, so who can be the darling of the tea party movement, but not necessarily someone who can win the general election?

Today, they are focusing on Michelle Bachmann, who senses that there is no one else right now who excites the tea party. They have loved Sarah Palin — and still might if she runs. But her recent absence from the scene has opened up the way for others. Bachmann is just Palin 2.0.

Tim Pawlenty is trying to be all things to all people. He’s trying to have one foot in the GOP establishment camp and the other foot in the tea party camp. The problem is that when you try to be all things to all people, you often end up being nothing to anybody. Pawlenty is also boring, which is a fatal problem in the era of TV in politics.

Gov. Mitch Daniels is dithering about running. He has a tea party-friendly economic story to tell, but he appears to lack the fire in the belly for this 2012 race.
Huckabee is still very much alive as a candidate — although rumors abound that he is not going to run because he’s making a ton of dough on TV — and he appeals to Evangelicals and to some tea partyers, but not all. He is the front-runner right now, but a weak one.

Ron Paul is more of a libertarian than a tea partyer, but he does have strong, devoted supporters. He is a good man, but he will not be the GOP nominee or the tea party candidate.

Conclusion: the tea party will select the 2012 GOP nominee. That is not to say that candidate will win the White House. For example, Michele Bachmann could be the Christine O’Donnell/Sharron Angle of the 2012 GOP presidential race: she might win the support of the tea party movement, but she is un-electable in the general election because independent voters will not vote for her.

We on the right have a big problem: we have no one running (yet) who can win both the support of the tea party and can then win over the crucial independent voters in the fall of 2012.

Obama can be beaten, but only if the exact right kind of candidate runs against him.

So we have to keep looking for just such a candidate.

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Sources:, MSNBC, NewsMax, Youtube, Google Maps

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