This week’s word is: POLL
the process of asking a number of people their opinions about something, especially a political issue
In an already interminable season of Republican campaigning, this weekend saw a surprising upset in what was considered a very important poll. The Florida Presidency V straw poll, which Florida Criminal-in-Chief, I mean Governor, Rick Scott said “would determine the next President of the United States” was won by Herman Cain.
That’s right, out of all the candidates, relatively obscure former pizza magnate Herman Cain won the poll with 37%, more than second place finisher Rick Perry (15%) and number three Mitt Romney (14%) put together. This shocking event occurred in the wake of Perry’s bumbling performances in the past few Republican debates.
Curiously, Michele Bachmann, who won the Ames straw poll a few weeks ago, finished dead last of the eight candidates, behind even Jon Huntsman. Her star has certainly fallen since Perry’s dramatic official entry into the race, but the disconnect between the two polls is quite startling.
Let’s recap the facts, shall we?
- Perry still wins national polls about a preferred Republican nominee by a small but comfortable margin.
- Perry has yet to be ranked a winner of any of the debates and becomes very petty and petulant as they proceed.
- Romney comes out ahead of the Republican pack in most hypothetical match-ups against President Obama.
- Bachmann won the Ames poll but has had very negative momentum since then.
- Cain came from nowhere to win the Presidency V poll but has no real national standing; this could change, of course, as his name recognition skyrockets.
- Santorum, Gingrich, and Huntsman hardly seem to matter at this point, but can perhaps take heart from Cain’s sudden success.
- Ron Paul remains an anomaly, polling in the lower reaches but with a strong core of support who seem to trend toward “none of the above” if he’s taken out of the mix.
It’s hard to draw any strong conclusions from this, but one thing is clear: every Republican candidate is flawed and vulnerable and there is no real consensus in the party. The most likely voters want a Teamonster like Perry, but less dogmatic conservatives want someone (reasonably) articulate like Romney or Cain.
It’s early days still, despite the 437 debates the Republicans have held. Early in the 2004 campaign it was clear that the Democratic nomination was Howard Dean’s to lose, which, with the help of a hostile and shallow media, he did. In 2008, nobody thought McCain stood a chance of gaining the nomination, which he did long before the Democratic contest was settled.
In the end, there will be a Republican candidate, and none of the eight clowns in the contest will be good for America. Let’s hope they can bloody each other enough that the victor’s vulnerabilities are clear. Let’s hope that President Obama can demonstrate some real leadership and make the final contest as clear cut as possible. After all, he needs to win at the polls that really matter:
the place where people vote.
Definitions taken from Macmillan Dictionary Online