Swing State Pres

Monday, June 4, 2012

2012 01 28 Pre FL

The Florida primary is in two days, this coming Tuesday, January 31.  This primary truly is a pivotal one.  If Gingrich wins, Mitt is in trouble on all fronts – Gingrich for the nomination, and from his own supporters (“establishment Republicans”) who may start searching for a better candidate.  That group is simply hysterical with the notion of a Gingrich candidacy, and you’ve seen the heavy armor trotted out.
         Bob Dole: “Hardly anyone who served with Newt in Congress has endorsed him…He was a one-man-band who rarely took advice. It was his way or the highway…his mounting ethics problems caused him to resign in early 1999.”
         Peter King (R-NY):  “He has to know he has no chance of getting the nomination but he's coming down on Mitt Romney with all these charges…that a liberal Democrat could be making, attacking Romney for being too much a part of the free enterprise system.  To have Newt Gingrich, supposedly a right-wing conservative, making those charges is the height of hypocrisy.”
         Chris Christie:  “Newt Gingrich has embarrassed the party over time.”
         Steve Smith (McCain campaign manager):  ‘We’re probably moving toward the declaration of war on Newt Gingrich by the Republican establishment.”
This barrage cannot have helped Newt in his post-SC moment in the sun.  But the real damage to Newt has been done by none other than Mitt Romney himself.  It turns out that “Mitt 4.0” (as Steve calls him) is a pretty darned effective PAC all by himself…that is…..a Political Attack Cyborg!  The reprogramming went smoothly, and Mitt has done a world-class job of ripping Newt to shreds in both of the debates this week.  Newt was downright humbled in the second debate, as Mitt finally had his “moment,” a scathing, articulate, even passionate defense of himself against Newt’s charge that Mitt was “anti-immigrant.”  And a number of other direct hits on top of that one.  Even Wolf Blitzer punched back effectively at Newt the Bully.

The impact in the polls of Mitt’s jugular slashing of Newt is clear.  BEFORE South Carolina, Mitt was up in Florida by a 2-1 margin over Gingrich, roughly 40% to 20% in most polls.  But just AFTER South Carolina, Gingrich rode the momentum of his stunning win to a 5-9 point lead over Romney in Florida.  And NOW, after the debates, Romney is clearly back in the lead, up consistently across the last five post-debate polls by 7-9 points…and a Rasmussen Poll released yesterday has him up by 16!!  It’s hard to see much changing that in the next few days, so I think it is a safe bet that Mitt has indeed snatched a Florida victory from the jowls of Gingrich....er, jaws of defeat.

What we seem to be learning – quite unfortunately – is that negative debating works just as well as negative advertising.  Why do people hate politicians?  Well, if Coke and Pepsi spent all their ad money saying how badly the other one tasted, I think people would hate soda, too.  Anyway, another defeat for responsible public discourse!

As mentioned, Florida should be a very good state for Mitt…he only trailed McCain by 5 points there in 2008 (36% to 31%) and he’s much stronger now and his opposition still split.  So his reemergence this past week at the top of the polls is more the “natural order” and Newt’s quick Mo after SC the aberration.

Santorum and Paul are basically sitting Florida out, each at about 10% in Florida and with no hope of catching the Big Two.  As I mentioned last time, Florida is a bad state for both of them…winner-take-all (so no chance to grab a few delegates), heavy TV (they have no money) and poor fits ideologically, with relatively few evangelicals to bolster Santorum or libertarians for Paul.  They are already campaigning hard in the caucus states in early February, where they can pick off delegates by relying on their ground game and niche appeal.  Neither seem to be making any moves to withdraw, and Santorum remains a Newt alternative for the far right if Newt fully explodes at some point.

I got a rousing response to my question on who might be Newt’s running mate.  Some suggestions tacked “right”:  Santorum, Marco Rubio, Raul Ryan and Nikki Haley; some tacked to the “middle”:  Romney, Huntsman, Mitch Daniels; a few big names were offered:  Condi Rice and David Petreus; and some went strictly for laughs:  Jerry Falwell, Bristol Palin and the Paulsen brothers, Hank and Pat (no mentions for hedge fund master John Paulson, though).  Oh yes, and Sarah Palin, always a category all her own.

My question this time is:   IS IT ALL OVER IF MITT WINS?  Or do you envision more bumps and thrills through the next few months?

Also, on the Florida projection, help me try to dethrone Steve, who was the winner in South Carolina of “closest projection” contest.  Here is how we did in South Carolina with Steve winning, a total miss of only 14 points, or less than 3 points per candidate…not bad!  Though you can see how we all missed the late Newt onslaught.
 
TomG
TomC
Steve
 
TomG
TomC
Steve
 
Proj.
Proj
Proj.
Actual
"Miss"
"Miss"
"Miss"
Gingrich
31
29
33
40
9
11
7
Romney
29
28
31
28
1
0
3
Santorum
18
20
18
17
1
3
1
Paul
18
18
16
13
5
5
3
Other
4
5
2
2
2
3
0
Total
100
100
100
100
18
22
14


So…get your projections for each of the four official candidates as well as “all other” to me by midnight Monday!

Comments welcome!

I’ve already done one Newt song but he’s such a target that I’m back for another….this one called “Bad Newt on the Right,” to the tune of the old Creedence classic, “Bad Moon.”

I see a bad Newt rising
Bombast and ego on the way
Debate style that’s pretty doggone fright’ning
Bash Mitt and poor John King all day
He may have three wives
But his campaign’s got nine lives
There's a bad Newt on the right

Can’t get the right wing all together

Bachmann, then Perry, Cain and Santorum
It’s been as varied as the weather
Without a shred of decorum
He may have three wives
But his campaign’s got nine lives
There's a bad Newt on the right

It looked all over last July now
Staff quit and he’s off on a cruise
Somehow he won in Carolina
That guy just doesn’t want to lose

He may have three wives

But his campaign’s got nine lives
There's a bad Newt on the right

He may have three wives
But his campaign’s got nine lives
There's a bad Newt on the right

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