Whether it’s because we have over eighteen months to go until the presidential election and about nine until the first real votes are cast, or if it’s a field which draws little but yawns, there’s just not a lot of buzz going in about the Republican presidential field. I had a poll up for a week and drew a small response – less than 5% of my readership had an opinion.
I set it up for two questions: preference for those already in the field and a wish list of those one would like to see enter. If the primary were held today, the top votegetters among my readership would be:
- Ron Paul (35.48%)
- Tim Pawlenty (25.81%)
- Herman Cain (16.13%)
- Rick Santorum (12.9%)
- Newt Gingrich (6.45%)
- Mitt Romney (3.23%)
In the category of zero support were Fred Karger, Roy Moore, and Buddy Roemer. That’s no surprise.
I was a bit surprised with the results of poll number 2, which asked who respondents would prefer to see jump into the field.
- Michele Bachmann (25.0%)
- Donald Trump (13.89%)
- Gary Johnson (11.11%)
- Rudy Giuliani (8.33%)
- Haley Barbour, John Bolton, Mitch Daniels, George Pataki, Rand Paul, and Paul Ryan (5.56% apiece)
- Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin (2.78% apiece)
Paul Ryan was a write-in, as was Herman Cain. Somebody didn’t pay attention to my first poll.
And no one wants Jon Huntsman in the race. You would think since I allowed multiple answers on the wish list poll that someone would back him, but I guess not.
The biggest shock to me was just how quickly Sarah Palin has fallen out of favor. Had I asked the question a few months back I’m betting that she would be the top vote-getter, or at least right up there with perennial libertarian darling Ron Paul.
But it seems to me that her outspoken populist angle is being usurped by – of all people – Donald Trump. It’s surprising that a guy who has donated thousands to Democrats is being considered as a conservative darling, but he has name recognition to spare and isn’t partaking in the political doublespeak many other candidates engage in.
Honestly, I think she may have missed the boat on 2012. Whether Sarah would prefer to bide her time and wait for 2016 (which assumes an Obama victory and an open seat) or simply decided a position as a political outsider and spokesperson for conservative causes – one who can still draw a crowd – better suits her situation, well, that I don’t know. And there may be a cagey reason for her to let Trump take all the slings and arrows for awhile, since he seems to relish the spotlight regardless of how harsh it may be.
In a way, it’s great to have so many choices and not have someone considered a frontrunner at the moment. This is a time where we need a contest for the Republican nomination because it serves as a placeholder for a contest for the soul of the party itself. While the TEA Party can help elect a candidate, there’s still a faction of establishment Republicans who need to be eradicated from the levers of power before a takeover is possible. That faction is the one calculating just who would be the ‘safe’ choice acceptable to the American people yet malleable enough to control once in office.
Assuming President Obama is a one-term president, the new Republican president becomes the de facto leader of the party. It will take a strong conservative to fight not just Democrats but the establishment Republicans fighting the rear-guard action to bring the party to the center – in other words, the “No Labels” types. (Someone like Senator Jim DeMint comes to mind, but I doubt he’s running.)
I know my readership has a political compass pointing somewhere between conservative and libertarian, as it likely reflects my personal opinion. So it’s interesting to see just what kind of push that Ron Paul (and Gary Johnson, who announced shortly after I created the poll) have here as opposed to the nation at large.
In the next couple weeks I’ll begin to compile the Presidential campaign widget along with ones for the Maryland U.S. Senate seat and First District Congressional seat. (In that case I think the key question is whether we’ll see a Harris-Kratovil threepeat.) I know things slow down around here for the summer (who wants to sit inside reading blogs? Heck, I’m composing this outside in the summerlike breeze) but there’s a lot of political events going on.
Now is the time to really pay attention, since those in power know summer is a political siesta. That’s when they try and get away with the most damaging stuff.