Predicted Results of Saturday’s 2011 Iowa Straw Poll in Ames

Bookmark and Share   By Steve Deace

*Please note that these predictions are my analysis and not my preference. I will not be endorsing a candidate before the Iowa Straw Poll, if at all, nor will I vote in the Iowa Straw Poll on Saturday.

These predictions are simply based on the best data I’m privy to.

1. Michele Bachmann (21%)

She is clearly the favorite right now, but she faces a real test in Thursday’s pre-Straw Poll debate hosted by Fox News. Barring journalistic malfeasance, she’s going to be asked about signing the controversial FAMiLY LEADER marriage pledge, as well as her husband working to deliver those ensnared by homosexuality via Christian counseling so that they may live the lives God originally created them to live. How she responds to that questioning could very well determine Saturday’s results. If she has a Tim Pawlenty moment of uncertainty, like her fellow Minnesotan had when invited to confront Mitt Romney on Romneycare during the last New Hampshire debate, then the outcome on Saturday will also be uncertain. On the other hand, if she stands her ground then the mystery isn’t whether or not she’ll win, but by how much. By the way, in case you’re wondering where my predicted finish for Bachmann stacks up with past Iowa Straw Poll winners (keep in mind this year’s field is more crowded than past years):

1987—Pat Robertson 34%

1995—Bob Dole & Phil Gramm 24%

1999— George W. Bush 31%

2007—Mitt Romney 32%

2. Ron Paul (18%)

Paul’s support is pretty much locked into the 15-20% range. He has a devoted following that will show up no matter what, but it’s his ability to expand beyond that base that is in question. Nevertheless, if the weather is poor and/or Bachmann bombs the debate on Thursday he may not have to.

3. Tim Pawlenty (15%)

He just never caught on for various reasons, despite being the person who worked Iowa the hardest and the most. There have already been articles pointing fingers at whom or what is to blame for that, which is never a good omen. I believe he has to win the Straw Poll to justify hanging around given the looming entrance of Rick Perry and perhaps Sarah Palin.

4. Rick Santorum (13%)

He is catching some fire as of late, and is the best chance for a Straw Poll surprise. Although this would be far lower than fellow conservative Catholic Sam Brownback finished in the 2007 Straw Poll when he dropped out afterwards, Santorum can actually make the case he is picking up momentum given how low he’s been rated in polls and therefore deserves to stick around. I know people who are predicting he will finish ahead of Pawlenty. I don’t have quite the guts to call that shot, but I definitely see evidence of him picking up late pockets of support.

5. Herman Cain (9%)

I’ll give him a small bump courtesy of his endorsement from the Fair Tax people, who showed up in force at the Straw Poll four years ago, but other than that there’s little doubt his campaign has been done in Iowa quicker than you can say Christian Fong.

6. Mitt Romney (8%)

Romney’s finish is the toughest for me to predict, because there is still a cache of loyal supporters there despite his avoidance of Iowa. However, Iowans typically don’t reward candidates who do avoid them.

7. Rick Perry (7%)

There will be a subtle yet substantive write-in effort on behalf of the Texas governor/presidential candidate in waiting, we just don’t know yet how substantive.

8. Newt Gingrich (4%)

The former Speaker is planning a complete reboot of his presidential bid in September that he’s promising will be bold. We shall see if it’s a case of too little, too late. For now he’s a non-entity in Ames.

9. Sarah Palin (3%)

I think there will be some write-in votes for the former Alaska governor, but not necessarily as part of an organized effort by her fellows. She’ll make her show of force at the Central Iowa Tea Party rally on September 3rd.

9. Thaddeus McCotter (1%)

I think he’ll get a few votes from people who are either contrarians, or they just want to take advantage of the rare opportunity to vote for someone named Thaddeus.

10. Jon Huntsman (1%)

He’s the champion of the self-loathing Iowa Republican who thinks we don’t deserve to have the Iowa Caucuses if the Arlen Specters of the world aren’t welcome here. Thankfully, that’s barely 1% of the Iowa Straw Poll voting demographic, because the rest of them are too busy either working for or funding Terry Branstad’s lifetime appointment to Terrace Hill to take part.

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Governor Chris Christie Hospitalized

Bookmark and Share   New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the man that many national polls show Republicans wish could be their presidential nominee was rushed to Somerset Medical Center by his security detail early on Thursday. While in route to a bill signing ceremony regarding open space legislation, the Governor experienced difficulty breathing. Early reports indicated that the detour to the hospital was simply an intentional “abundance of caution”.

Early reports from Governor Christie’s spokesman Michael Drewniak suggest that all indications are that “the governor will be OK.” Christie’s deputy chief of staff, Maria Comella, told The Associated Press that the Governor is “fine and in charge.”

Meanwhile Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno is reportedly in her office and Christie’s wife, Mary Pat, is at Christie’s side in the hospital . So far everything on Christie’s schedule for Thursday has been cancelled. This includes his monthly appearance on NJ 101.5 for the “Ask the Governor Show”

Christie, who is 48, overweight, and suffers from asthma for which he uses an inhaler, is said to be undergoing a breathing examination, an EKG to rule out heart problems, as well as blood tests and chest X-rays to look for pneumonia or other infections. There is no word yet on any changes to his Friday schedule.

The Governor, who has been in office for only 18 months, has taken Republican circles by storm with his frank talk and bold leadership on spending cuts, entitlement reforms, and an unusually courageous approach to unions which have historically run the show in New Jersey. While Christie has repeatedly declared that he is not ready to run for the White House, Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney recently went public with his desire to seriously consider Christie as a running mate in 2012.

As for the rest of the Republican presidential field, there has not yet been any reaction to the news of the Governor’s hospitalization, but Texas Governor Rick Perry, a potential candidate for President did offer the following tweet in his Twitter feed:

Our prayers are with Governor Christie.”

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Iowa Caucus Power Rating For Week of July 25th

Bookmark and Share By Steve Deace

Please note these predictions are only my analysis, and not my preference, of what the results of the Iowa Caucuses would be if they occurred today with the field as it currently is and based on what we currently know. I have yet to endorse a candidate, and will not be doing so before the Iowa Straw Poll if at all.

1. Michele Bachmann (30%)

She is in better shape in the caucuses than the Straw Poll, where she is about a month behind in mobilizing her support into a show of force in Ames. If the Straw Poll were after Labor Day she might lap the field, but with the Straw Poll three weeks away she’s in danger of stubbing her toe there unless her campaign does a lot of things right. It will be interesting to see what happens to her prospects if indeed that happens. But for now there is little doubt she is setting the pace.

2. Tim Pawlenty (20%)

There is a sense on the ground from most people I talk to that Bachmann’s campaign is behind in mobilizing for its candidate, but Pawlenty’s campaign is way ahead of their candidate. I can’t foresee a scenario where Tim Pawlenty wins the Iowa Caucuses, because if he way outperforms his polling data in the Straw Poll to win it, the conservative outcry for a rock star like Rick Perry or Sarah Palin will become deafening. A potential Pawlenty victory in the Straw Poll will be perceived more as an indictment of Bachmann’s weakness as a supposed front-runner than a display of strength by Pawlenty. Anything less than a victory in the Straw Poll and it’s difficult for Pawlenty to justify sticking around. He will definitely out-perform his meager polling on August 13th, the only question is to what extent.

3. Ron Paul (16%)

I definitely think Ron Paul can win the Straw Poll. Pawlenty has the best organization, and Bachmann the most supporters, but Paul has the most devoted supporters. And in a fluid situation that might be enough to eke out a Straw Poll win. However, Paul lost a chance in recent weeks to make significant inroads to Iowa’s massive Christian Conservative base, and I don’t believe he can win the Iowa Caucuses without doing so.

4. Mitt Romney (13%)

One little birdie told me based on polling done by his candidate he definitely believes Romney could win the Straw Poll again if he tried. As I have said all along, Romney has a locked-in, almost cult-like base of support that can’t dissuaded no matter what. That percentage is somewhere in the 12-15% range. However, like Paul he has a very low ceiling, and can’t do any better than the 25% he got here four years ago. However, if Perry and Palin are both in the race, Romney’s 2008 total (or slightly less) might be enough to win the Iowa Caucuses in a balkanized field.

5. Rick Santorum (10%)

This is where the second tier begins. I believe Santorum will slightly out-perform his polling data, but he could do even better if he got more aggressive — especially if he tried to whisk away some of Pawlenty’s followers.

6. Newt Gingrich (7%)

I don’t think Gingrich is dead quite yet. He still has a chance to reinvent himself as the outsider — and it’s as the outsider that he’s had his most political success in the past. I also think Gingrich may be “motivated” to keep Perry honest once he gets in the race given what several people now working for Perry did to his campaign.

7. Herman Cain (4%)

A cautionary tale for future rookies: do your homework on your staff and the issues before you run for president.

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Editor’s Note ; The  analysis generously shared with us on White House 2012 by Steve Deace is probably one of the most accurate assessments of the Repubican field in Iowa that there is.  Steve Deace knows how Iowa politics works and how it usually plays out.  For that reason, when it comes to the all  important Iowa Caucuses and where the candidates really stand,  we will be relying on his knowlege, extensive collection of connections, and his proven political instincts.

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Who Can Be the Republican Presidential Nominee?

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Cain Campaign Collapsing?

Bookmark and Share    As many Republican presidential campaigns are just beginning to increase their levels of activity, a string of cancellations seem to indicate that the campaign of  Herman Cain is doing just the opposite. But it is the type of events that he has withdrawn from which force one to wonder if there is not something more behind the cutting back of activity.

For an underdog campaign, earned media events, the type of events that cost hardly anything but afford you great exposure, are as a good as having ownership of a toll booth on the state turnpike, during rush hour.  You just don’t pass such an opportunity up. Yet the Cain campaign has done just that by pulling out of a Thursday evening appearance on the Colbert Report, a speaking engagement at an event in Cedar Rapids, Iowa , and a cancellation of his giving the keynote address at the Fayette County Republican Picnic in Iowa.

What’s more is, that there seems to be no good reasons for these cancellations. A review of the campaign’s schedule does not reveal any schedule conflicts with the three cancelled appearances. In fact the Cain campaign has nothing at all scheduled on the three dates in question. This all leads one to wonder as to why Herman Cain would give up the chance to appear before a national audience on the Colbert Report , and with the Iowa Straw Poll just about two weeks away, why would he pass up two premium speaking engagements in the very state that will conduct that all important symbolic poll?

From the very beginning, Herman Cain’s presidential path was plotted out on a steep incline. Still his ability to articulate a truly conservative message, combined with the appeal of his outsider status, made him a novel candidate that many wanted to hear more from. This was especially the case after the first nationally aired Republican presidential debate that took place on Fox News. Some of his most enthusiastic supporters came from those within the TEA movement. But since that first Fox News debate, something known as the Bachmann campaign entered the picture.

Michele Bachmann’s entry in to the Republican presidential nomination contest sucked much of the air out of Herman Cain’sign campa. But Bachmann alone can not be blamed for the faltering Cain Campaign.   A slew of staff resignations, especially within his Iowa organization, have added to the slowing down of Cain’s momentum.

Still, these factors would not explain why “The Hermanator” cancelled three very valuable, expense free, high profile events that do not conflict with any other “scheduled” campaign activity. Additionally, Cain has only two campaign events scheduled this week and non until at least Friday of next week. Such a slimming down of the schedule leads me to believe that there are one of two things at work here. Herman Cain could be sensing that his campaign’s momentum is not at a pace that is fast enough to catch up to the front of the field of candidates. As a result Cain is therefore just biding his time till the Iowa Straw Poll in Ames, in case by some chance he finishes strong enough to give him hope of more forward momentum. Or there could be a more serious and most unfortunate circumstance behind it all.

In 2006, Cain began a battle with stage IV cancer in both his colon and his liver. Those suffering with Stage IV tumors have only a 10 percent survival rate, yet Herman Cain bravely and miraculously beat the odds. Studies have indicated that the chance for recurrence of certain cancers such as Stage IV colorectal cancer is in excess of 41%. While this is purely conjecture, the early treatment for a reoccurrence could explain why Cain has been cancelling events instead of  just folding up the presidential campaign tent. Hopefully, this is not the case, but a lack of any further explanation of a schedule that is light on events and heavy on cancellations, gives one cause to wonder what exactly is behind it all.

The most likely scenario is that Herman Cain is just accepting the writing on the wall regarding his chances of winning the nomination among the existing field of candidates.

For many, it looks like Herman Cain’s campaign reached its peek, the height of which was now many weeks ago. Even in the area of fundraising, while Cain’s most recent quarterly filing with the FEC boasted a haul of $2.46 million, was half the amount that Michele Bachmann raised. Cain’s fundraising was still better than others like Gary Johnson and Rick Santorum who raised a measly $582,348 but when compared to frontrunner Mitt Romney’s second quarter report of $18.25 million, Herman Cain’s 2.46 million in fundraising is a mere drop in the bucket .

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Will Government’s Golden Shackles Ever be Broken?

Bookmark and Share   Most American presidents are remembered for winning and leading. They win their election, and lead the nation. But President William Henry Harrison is probably best known for winning and expiring. Upon taking office on March 4th, of 1841, Harrison delivered an 8,441 word inaugural address that was written by famed American statesman Daniel Webster. The one hour and forty five minute speech took place outside and during a blizzard. Upon completing the longest inaugural address in American history, Harrison caught pneumonia and one month later, on April 4th, 1841, he died, leaving behind the inaugural address that killed him, as the only legacy of his 30 day presidency.

Seeing as how Harrison essentially gave his life for his speech, one would tend to suspect that his speech was a uniquely important one, chock full of memorable lines. But such is not the case.  Ironically, most assessments of the speech conclude that there was nothing very memorable about it. Harrison’s lethal words did however address the times and at the time, America had been enduring its longest depression. So, while much of the address paid homage to constitutional government, he did also offer some insights that, given the extent to which today’s federal government tries to manipulate the economy, are quite pertinent to the times we are in now.

One line unparticular is worth mentioning;

“We have learned, too, from our own as well as the experience of other countries, that golden shackles, by whomsoever or by whatever pretense imposed, are as fatal to liberty as the iron bonds of despotism”.

170 years after those words were spoken, as the United States finds itself with prolonged rising unemployment, record levels of increasing debt, and a debate on increasing our debt ceiling, all weakens confidence in the already weak economy, it would seem that the federal government has yet to grasp Harrison’s words. In addition to not truly accepting the fact that our national debt is a shackle on our future, the federal government is in denial over the fact that the golden shackles of an increasingly larger welfare state are driving us right in to the “iron bonds of despotism”,……an economic despotism. An economic despotism driven by debt and the federal government’s continued need to seize more and more assets of individual Americans in order to feed its overspending habits.

The vicious cycle created by federal intervention and its programs of social and economic engineering are most assuredly “fatal to liberty”. The current economic crisis should be self evident of that conclusion. After record leves of unsustainable governemtn deficit spending, President Obama’s historic stimulus spending plans have done nothing more than dig us deeper into debt and in right to the arms Reuters recently reported “Democrat-friendly Goldman Sachs dropped an economic bomb on President Obama’s chances for reelection” The report was based on Goldman Sach’s finding that recent economic indicators have led many economic experts to predict lower than expected GDP growth and an unemployment rate that as we head into 2013 will be as high as 8.75% .

While 8.75% is lower than the current 9.2%, it is not as sufficient enough of a drop as is required to turn the economy around during the next 17 months.  Furthermore, Sachs warns;

”  growth has slowed to a pace that is typically only seen in recessions.”

Taking those factors into consideration along with Social Security and Medicare programs that if not reformed, are projected to run deficits totaling tens of trillions of dollars, and what we have is a vicious cycle of taxing and spending on deficits that would drive the combined marginal tax rate on labor income to more than 70% by 2035 and 80% by 2050.

Such higher tax rates will do nothing more than lead to a lower overall per capita income that will eviscerate our quality of life and perpetuate the vicious tax and spend cycle. That means that we must put a halt to the current confiscation of earnings and profits while cutting and controlling spending and reforming entitlements. In other words, the proliferation of liberal policies such as Obamacare, federal stimulus packages, increased taxes, and the unwillingness to reform entitlements, must come to an end.

In the case of William Henry Harrison, after spending his only month in office trying to recover from pneumonia and then succumbing to it, there is no evidence proving that his leadership lived up to his words. The best thing that can be said about William Henry Harrison is that unlike many other political leaders, he kept his campaign promise. On the stump he promised not to run for reelection.  He didn’t.  But in the case of the next President, if they fail to promise to control spending and reform taxes and entitlements and then keep those promises, it is liberty which will succumb to the golden shackles of fovernment.

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Rudy Giuliani: A Better Democrat Presidential Candidate Than Republican Presidential Candidate?

Giuliani in drag and the way social conservatives see him

Bookmark and Share  As Rudy Giuliani continues to pretend that he can be a viable candidate for President on the Republican ticket, on Sunday during CNN’s State of the Union, he told Candy Crowley “the Republican Party would be well advised to get the heck out of people’s bedrooms and let these things get decided by states”.

While Giuliani claimed that he believes marriage should be between a man and woman, he stated that the libertarian streak of the Republican party should want to avoid “getting involved in people’s sexual lives.”

The former New York City mayor and failed 2008 candidate for the Republican presidential nomination told Republicans to  “Stay out of it,” and added. “I think we’d {Republicans} be a much more successful political party if we stuck to our economic, conservative roots and our idea of a strong, assertive America that is not embarrassed to be the leader of the world.”

While there is a degree of truth in Giuliani’s remarks, the social conservative base of the G.O.P. will not appreciate hiss lack of defense of what they would consider family values. However during the interview, Giuliani did clarify that in trying to make sure that families stay strong, he believed marriage should be preserved as a union between a man and a woman. He went on to state that he disagreed with New York State’s recent legalization of gay marriage but added that it was based on a democratic vote and can live with it.

While Rudy supports civil unions, he also believes the issue should be left up to each of the fifty states to decide for themselves.

Rudy’s position on the issue is one which highlights what is essentially one of the G.O.P.’s most pressing ideological questions. If Republican conservatism is based largely on liberty and limited government, should a limited government actually make decisions that do not allow those who live in relationships that involve an alternative lifestyle to have those relationships receive equal treatment by the law and under a judicial system that is suppose to be blind to our differences? Or is the primary responsibility of Republican conservatism the mission to defend “traditional” family values regardless of how much government must get involved in attempts to do so?

Sooner or later, the Republican Partyis going to have to make this decision. However, in the case of Rudy Giuliani, it is not likely that he will be able to do much to sway the Party in his direction. Answering that question will likely require the leadership of truly respected conservative leaders who are more trusted by the right than the left. It will also require the generational influences that account for the progression of cultural change that accounts for the societal changes that are constantly evolving.

In the meantime, the G.O.P. as a whole must somehow keep itself forging ahead while trying to reconcile its limited government beliefs with its desire to involve government in legislating family values. All while applying the basic American tenet of creating laws that defend equality. Until this reconciliation is achieved the G.O.P. will risk losing a significant minority of followers and future followers to the libertarian cause.

As for Giuliani, the reality of the current G.O.P. would indicate that he might have a better chance of defeating President Obama in a race for the Democrat presidential nomination, than he has at winning the Republican presidential nomination.

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