Editors’ Note: The Rankings will be updated twice a month, once in this brief format listing the top-tier candidates, and once in a full tip sheet format listing all major declared candidates.

Welcome to the latest edition of PoliticalDerby.com's 2012 Power Rankings, the original tracking service of the race for the White House. The rankings are updated as circumstances warrant and are compiled by our Editors using wire reports, polls, campaign staffer scuttlebutt and confidential tips. The rankings may not be reprinted or quoted in any form without attribution to PoliticalDerby.com.

The GOP Horses
Power Ranking The Horse Momentum The Tip Sheet


After trailing Perry since August 24th, Romney has finally inched back into the lead, both in the national polling averages and where it matters most: The 2012 Power Rankings. While his campaign might not have the passion of a teenage romance, he’s quietly become the old pair of horsehide gloves — well-worn, broken-in and very familiar. With Iowa less than 90 days away, Romney looks content to run the rail at the same speed from start-to-finish and let the horse chips fall where they may.

2 Herman

The “Pay as you Go!” conservative breeders of the GOP finally have a candidate to bet the farm on. The latest not-Romney firebrand, Herman “999” Cain is believed by some to be one who could just cut the federal budget down from deep dish to thin and crispy. As the only other non-career politician in the race, he does not have previous votes or policies to run from. However, he also lacks the political network of friends in low places to keep his war chest full.


Perry’s staff could see huge bonuses after a fantastic fundraising quarter. The bad news is that Perry’s staff might see huge bonuses once this horse is put out to pasture. There’s still some time for Perry to find a path to the nomination that avoids a Fred Thompson-style meltdown, but at his pace he could run out of track long before Iowa. No matter what, the two men are likely to share at least one attribute. It’s their love of acting on television: Thompson as a District Attorney; Perry as a conservative.

Paul is, without a doubt, the most consistent horse in the 2012 race. One year ago, Paul averaged 7.7 in the national polls. Today, after a year of campaigning, fundraising and winning straw polls, he averages 8.0. Perhaps most impressively, his positions are unchanged since he first debated them with Susan B. Anthony.


  • Red State Eddie

    Frankly, not totally enthused by the selection at this point.

    Romney’s the “oh well, I guess we could have worse” candidate.
    Herman is the “It’s so crazy it just might work–but probably not” candidate.
    Perry is the “I’m from Texas, so you hafta luv me” candidate.
    Ron Paul is the “Crazy Uncle whom we hide from visitors” candidate.

    Non of them are fuly galvanizing the moderate-conservative electorate right now; only pockets and sections. That concerns me, because if the ecconomy somehow improves, despite all odds, then Obama is in for #2.

    • brian h

      I have to say, Red State. I understand your assessment of Mitt is the “oh well, I guess we could have worse” candidate, but I don’t understand that. Romney is a polished articulate conservative former governor with the skills and intellect to do the job He has been fully vetted and demonstrates serious campaign discipline that will serve him well in a general election. I think Mitt beats Obama by 35+ states. When I hear “we can do worse”, I have to ask….”who would be better”? Who is the perfect candidate for which we seek?

      The self imposed litmus test that some “conservatives” have placed on themselves seems to me to be a little over the top.

      I like Mitt, I like Cain. I still believe Mitt is the best possible option to defeat Obama in 2012. Sure. There are horses I really like who I wish would have run…Pence, Ryan, Christi, Jindal, Rubio, to name a few off the top of my head. But, they decided not to run. I think we need to stop complaining about the field and begin to start selling our candidates, not bashing them.

      • Red State Eddie

        Who are you and what have you done with Brian the Kook-meister?? :-)

        Yes, most of your mentioned horses are the same dream team members I wanted. So I have to settle for Mitt. I will vote for him if he’s nominated – but I want a written in blood commitment that he repeals Obamacare fully-no executive orders or waivers, etc. It’s too easy for the next Demo pres to revive it all again if he does that. I want it off the books completely. If Mitt promises that, as well as to clean house on the regulations flood we’ve had for 2+ years, then I will be OK with him.

  • Jacosta

    Gov. Chris Christie is making a pre-debate announcement today declaring his support for Romney. Ramifications? What are your thoughts?

    • Alaina Segovia

      It may make a slight difference, but I’ve never felt like endorsements matter all that much.

      • Dodgers

        You don’t think an endorsement from the single most coveted non-candidate matters? It does.

        • Alaina Segovia

          Not to most. I love Christie and there’s a decent chance that I would have supported him had he run. However, Christie is a moderate… just like Romney. People love Christie because he’s a fighter. His endorsement doesn’t pass that quality to Romney.

          • Dodgers

            It’s not the voters it’s other kingmakers. Many donors, bundlers, governors, senators, and others have been waiting on the sidelines. Christie coming out for Romney could begin the floodgates for others. If you don’t think one of the most popular republican governors coming out for Romney is a big boost, then you don’t know politics.

    • dw

      Just confirms two things:
      1. That Christie would not have been the conservative candidate (ie another RINO)
      2. The RNC establishment had already chosen its candidate in Romney
      I think we are seeing the possibility that this nomination may have a surprise equal to that of Reagan’s nomination. He, too, was not the establishment choice. It sure is interesting… :-)

  • Alaina Segovia

    Only twice a month? Oh the anticipation…
    Total agreement… can’t wait to see how the debate tonight will impact the race!