To the Convention

February 13, 2012
This election cycle has been unpredictable, marked with ups-and-downs for all Republican candidates looking for a chance to challenge President Obama in November. Over the summer and up to mid-December, Senator Santorum was polling around 1.5-2% on average in national nomination polls. Now, he is considered by many to be a front-runner. Governor Perry of Texas came in with momentum and high ratings in the polls. After one caucus and a primary, he dropped out. It has been difficult to predict the outcomes so far, but at this point one can have a solid understanding as to who can make it to the convention this summer.

Representative Paul of Texas is running for president for a third time. As he puts it, his hope is that, “third time’s a charm.” In contrast to the other candidates and the Republican voting bloc, he is an isolationist in terms of foreign policy, which hurts him with the conservative base. Talking about Iran he says, “The greatest danger is overreacting…That’s how we got into that useless war with Iraq.” Young voters in their late teens and twenties tend to favor Paul’s, get-government-out-of-the-way views. Unfortunately, this voting bloc is not enough according to a RealClearPolitics average of national polls, Paul is at about 12% putting him in last. However, there is a question as to whether or not Paul’s goal is to win now, or just put his views in the party platform at the convention. If the latter is the case, he may stay in no matter what.

Speaker Gingrich is the ideas candidate. Unfortunately his major flaw is his tendency to come off as aloof when speaking. This creates a disconnect between him and potential voters. He is the definition of an up-and-down candidate as at the beginning he was towards the top of the nomination polls, then fell into obscurity and many thought he would drop out. Then, he rose up again, but now is back down comparatively. Currently, he polls an average of 18% according to RealClearPolitics. The general consensus for about a week following his lone South Carolina victory, was that he could propel forward with the momentum. Instead, he has steadily dropped. Although he intends on pressing forward to the convention, he differs from Paul in that he truly wants to win. If he does not have the finances or support, he will not make it.

Senator Santorum is undeniably the comeback-kid. Until a week before the Iowa caucuses, he was polling between 1-2% nationally. Suddenly, he surges and knocks off Governor Romney by 34 votes in the opening caucus. Following a brief lull from New Hampshire through Florida, he shocks everybody by winning three states, including the critical Colorado caucus. His issue is money, of which he has the least of all the candidates, but donations have been increasing exponentially. As of this point, RealClearPolitics has him polling an average of just over 30% nationally. The key for him will be to beat Governor Romney in states like Michigan and Arizona, as well as a few on Super Tuesday. On the path he is on, Senator Santorum definitely has a chance to make it to the Republican convention.

Governor Romney has been the most stable candidate, as he has been in the 22-30% range for months. As new candidates joined, he would drop briefly before returning to a solid second or slight first-place edge. The biggest issue with Romney is if he is a true conservative. This concern stems primarily from his “Romneycare” healthcare law in Massachusetts that parallels President Obama’s healthcare plan hated by Republicans. Romney is slightly behind Santorum nationally with a RealClearPolitics average of 29%. Financially, Romney is far ahead of the other candidates, although money has not guaranteed him the nomination as of yet. He and Santorum are in a close contest that will lead up to the convention.

The conclusion of this analysis is that a reluctant Speaker Gingrich will most likely have to drop out, while the others will stay in to the end. Although, Senator Santorum and Governor Romney at this point have the best chance of receiving the nomination.

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