Friday, February 27, 2009

Like a Kid in a Candy Store: A 2012 GOP Presidential Preference Poll

From CNN/Opinion Research Corporation:

Palin: 29%
Huckabee: 26%
Romney: 21%
Jindal: 9%

Sample: 429 Republicans (nationally)
MoE: 4.5%
Conducted Wednesday and Thursday of last week (2/18-19)

A couple of thoughts:
1) Palin, Huckabee and Romney are basically tied and Jindal is simply suffering from a lack of name recognition nationally at this point. The poll was done prior to his appearance on Meet the Press last weekend and before his response to Obama's speech to Congress this week. Poor performance or not, I suspect the Louisiana governor would have made it into the low to mid-double digits if the poll had been conducted this week.

2) If these are the candidates, I have to say that this bodes well for Mitt Romney. With Iowa and South Carolina having such conservative Republicans, there's the potential that Huckabee and Palin split the conservative vote (Huckabee's 2008 organization vs. Palin's appeal) and open the door for Romney. The former Massachusetts governor finished second to John McCain in New Hampshire and won the Nevada caucuses in 2008. Granted this is all predicated on both the idea that the calendar remains pretty much the same as it was in 2008 and that Jindal never gets off the ground in his efforts. Neither of those are sure things this far out.

Plus, as Pollster points out: at a similar point four years ago Hillary Clinton led John Kerry 40% - 25% with John Edwards at 18%. Barack Obama? He wasn't included. And we see how that worked out.


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10 comments:

Jack said...

"At this point four years ago, a similar Hillary Clinton"?

Not sure the reason for Jindal's low numbers is his low name recognition; it might be because, apparently, a tax and spend liberal. And didn't he do a little worse in the conservative areas of Louisiana than one would expect, while doing a little better in the Democratic areas (even considering Louisiana's tradition of electing conservative Democrats)? That might not bode well for him.

The only other thing I would quibble with is your statement that Huckabee and Palin split the conservative vote; I'd rather say they split the social conservative vote, as Huckabee's economic platform seems more moderate than Romney's, if I remember the ancient days of the 2008 primaries correctly.

Josh Putnam said...

Ha! Good catch, Jack. I rushed that last bit. My wife wanted to watch The Office. I can't say no to that.

You know that about Jindal. I know that about Jindal. But I don't know that folks nationally or in this poll know that. They may have heard his name but not nearly as much as they've heard Palin's, Huckabee's or Romney's.

Your quibble is a valid one. It is, after all, the social conservatives that drive the Iowa caucuses and South Carolina primary electorate for the Republicans. And it is their vote that would potentially be split between Palin and Huckabee. That notion may be a bit "old world" though. Those social issues may take a back seat in those contests depending on where the economy is by the end of 2011.

Jack said...

And I should correct my previous comment; I meant to say that I'm not sure the reason for Jindal's numbers is entirely his low name recognition; I don't dispute that that is the main factor. Certainly the people who have run for president/vice president before will have more name recognition than a first-term governor — something that is easy for me to forget when living in a political junkie bubble.

Josh Putnam said...

Agreed Jack. There are undoubtedly people in that poll that did have some inkling of that information.

Erik said...

I am curious to see what plunging oil prices do to the Alaska oil dividend checks this year and how that effects Palin's popularity in Alaska. It's easy to be popular when you get to send cash to all your citizens.

I assume she needs to run for re-election in Alaska in 2010?

Josh Putnam said...

Palin does have to seek re-election in 2010. Her main issue there isn't the oil money necessarily. She has to worry about staying relevant.

Can she successfully navigate the presidential terrain from the governor's office in Juneau or will it be necessary for her to challenge Lisa Murkowski in the Republican Senate primary in 2010? In other words, would a perch in Washington be a more beneficial position to be in vis a vis a run to the GOP nomination?

That's a difficult calculus for her. Murkowski is positioning herself a little more to the left these days which makes potentially more enticing for Palin. But she'll test the waters over the next couple of years to see if the Senate route is even necessary. If she can stay in the limelight without it, then she'll likely opt to stay where she is.

That may be tough to do from Alaska, though.

Jack said...

Apologies in advance for rambling yet again. I really should make fewer, and shorter, comments, but I like to talk.

When thinking about Palin's political future, I've always thought about three races, each two years apart: Senate 2010, presidency 2012, Senate 2014.

Palin's not going to run for Senate unless she's sure she can win. Why should she risk a certain reelection as governor for an uncertain run for Senate? Unless she thinks that things are going to go wrong in Alaska, in which case she might want to be out of the governorship so she can say, "Look what happened after I left." But there seems to be very little to gain and much to lose, from a Senate run. After all, being a very junior senator is not the most high profile position, and first-term governors like Palin and Jindal can get national exposure. Palin's being in the limelight doesn't come because of her current position; it's because she's Sarah Palin.

If she doesn't win the presidency in 2012, I could very well see her running against Begich in 2014, though. A victory in that race doesn't seem as certain now as it once did ... but if we're getting speculative with discussion about a presidential race four years from now, we're even more so with a Senate race in six years.

Josh Putnam said...

Rambling? This is a site full of rambling and there's always room for outside sources of rambling as well.

I agree with you Jack. Palin to the Senate took a big hit when Stevens lost his re-election bid. My point is that the option isn't off the table, but will only be a serious consideration if the pedestal in Juneau isn't advantageous to her anymore.

The point you're making (and it is an extremely valid one) is that she is the limelight. I agree, but there's a balance there she has to tread. In other words, does the balance ever shift to where her national ambition is perceived as a negative to Alaska's voters (I don't think it will necessarily.).

She will have to leave the state to stay relevant. The national media isn't going to camp out in Alaska covering her every move, so she will take speaking engagements and make endorsements in high profile races. The question is, "Does that begin to grate on Alaska voters at some point? ...enough to put her re-election in doubt."

Of course, that calculus will take time (as will that type of perception/opinion shift). Plus, if she is negatively viewed enough to put her re-election in jeopardy, that probably isn't helping her in a Senate race anyway.

Alright, I've talked myself out of Palin running for Senate now.

Jack said...

Never say never. Judging by her behavior on the campaign trail, if for some reason she gets it in her head that she should run for Senate, it'll be very difficult for anyone to talk her out of it.

Josh Putnam said...

No, no. I never say never. And I'll tell you why. Any person, thing, rule, etc. related to the 2008 election is officially filed away in the "Never Say Never" folder. That was the one true lesson of last year's election and it certainly applies in the case of Sarah Palin.