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

Newt
Gingrich

Despite being more chameleon than Newt, Gingrich is leading in Iowa, gaining ground in New Hampshire and running with confidence. Apparently all past indiscretions have suddenly been forgotten as the master debater is the latest to surge to the top. Is Newt really what the country wants or is timing merely on his side?

Mitt
Romney

If Newt is a chameleon, Romney is a changeling. When the button-up candidate from four years ago is now rarely seen in public with his ideally knotted tie or trademark perfect hair, what can you believe in? Now, for the first time since 2009, Mitt is staring at another horse’s backside. He still has more money and a better ground organization, but if Newt wins Iowa and pulls a stunner in New Hampshire, it is game over.

Empty
Horse

This is quickly becoming the two-man race long predicted. How many jockeys can fall off? Will Fred Thompson suddenly announce he is running again? Can Ann Coulter’s deepest desire be fulfilled by Chris Christie suddenly changing his mind?

Ron
Paul
Paul has polled in the neighborhood of 8-10 percent since he ran against George Washington. Can Paul win Iowa and see his standing in New Hampshire improve as a result? Anything is possible. Can he win the nomination? Well, almost anything is possible.
Rick
Perry
The Texas governor looks more comfortable now that he’s trailing and carrying zero expectations. If he’d run this way early on and dropped the arrogant swagger, he might not be stuck in the mud. Then again, if he could have come prepared and caffeinated to even one debate he would have had a chance.
Michele
Bachmann
The Congresswoman from Minnesota clutches onto visions of an Iowa win where she’s running fourth. A miracle win at the kick-off caucus keeps her in the race, otherwise the field will likely narrow further.
Rick
Santorum
Santorum has been in Iowa so long, he qualifies for in-state tuition. His reward? 6 percent! He and Bachmann were endorsed by a key Iowa evangelical leader, as a team. Didn’t know you could team up to win the nomination, did you?
Jon
Huntsman
It might be time to return to the barn when the only attractive things about your campaign are your daughters web videos. But as long as pops keeps pumping dough into the campaign, why not carry on?

 

Comments

  • Trudy

    Please stop the horses and put Newt “out to pasture!” What we don’t need is another career politician who really has no clue how to get government out of our lives. Newt does not exhibit the high moral standards that our country needs as a leader of our nation. Newt is NOT the president I would vote for.

  • AWB

    Nice job with the rankings. The good news is that I think the two people who are most well prepared to be president are at the top. I agree with concerns about both–with Romney that his conservative positions lack the force of deeply held conviction and with Gingrich that he is a bull in a field of land mines. The character issue bothers me with Gingrich also. However, he is eloquent and Romney is highly competent and I think either stands a good chance against the sitting president and a lot better chance than the other people on this list (with the possible exception of non-factor Huntsman).

    Paulites, I am a huge RP fan and supported him in 2008 (with my mouth & $). He’s a great guy and his contribution to pushing the party in the right direction over the past 5 years in particular (after the Bush excesses!) has been invaluable. But I just can’t see a somewhat eccentric 77 year old candidate winning the primary or the general election. Sorry. Not sure who I’m backing this time around (and for voting purposes it matters little–I live in Indiana so it’s usually over by the time it gets to us), but we really need to beat Obama. His combination of liberalism and incompetence is truly devastating.

    • Brian H

      Well said.

  • JOEW

    GO T PAW 2012 WHOOP WHOOP

  • Rob

    Just saw Newt won’t be on the Missouri ballot. Claimed he “never intended to be” – guy’s great deflecting from the truth, I’ll give him that.

    • Gary Russell

      Old news, Rob – that is so two weeks ago!
      And he will be on the Missouri caucus ballot, where the delegates are actually picked.
      .
      Should he have been on the non-binding ballot?
      Probably. But its not a biggee.

      • Rob

        It’s actually today’s news as the deadline just passed, but yeah.

        • Rob

          If I’m wrong please feel free to correct me, pretty sure this is new O_O

  • Whodat

    Again, PD, thanks and “Well Done” for the empty saddle. It accurately reflects where so many of us really are.
    .
    But, my point here is: “What’s in a word?” Specifically, the word “ADVOCATE”. I heard a caller to Rush complain that his problem with Romney was that Romney “never speaks as an advocate for conservatism” and measured that against Newt who is a constant advocate for conservatism, even though he on occasion falls short of the mark. Ever have a moment when something hits you between the eyes? His point hit me and, within seconds, Rush quoted him twice and gave high praise of the caller’s point.
    .
    I have been as tough on Newtie as anyone, but I am mellowing. He is an advocate for much I believe – albeit, like me, sometimes he falls short of his own goals. This is a “let he without sin cast the first stone” moment.
    .
    In my mind, the FIRST GOAL LINE of 2012 is to replace Obomb with somebody else. Anybody else! The second goal line is that he be replaced with a “conservative”. If that conservative is a womanizer and sometimes cavorts with liberal scum like Pelosi, that still beats “socialist” in my book. If that conservative fails some tests, but is always an “advocate”, I can live with that.

    • Brian H

      What if that “conservative” is too undisciplined and has too much baggage to accomplish your first goal?
      .
      Would you settle for a Romney-come-lately conservative to replace the Barry-born-liberal if that were the best option? I will.

      • Whodat

        If Romney is the nominee to challenge Obomb, I will contribute U.S. currency, I will place a bumper sticker upon my sacred Ford F-150, I will put out yard signs and speak in full support.
        .
        I would do the same if the Republicans nominated a one-eyed, castrated, three-legged dog named “Lucky”.
        .
        Or even Ron Paul (just had to zing that in ’cause the Paulites are so cute when they are mad)

        • Brian H

          I respect that, Whodat. Like you. I will do the same for whomever the GOP nominees is. However, I am very afraid that Newt may not be the candidate who can remove Obama. His style and demeanor may play well in a GOP primary, but, a general is a whole new race track.

        • Rob

          If Ron Paul wins the nomation, I’ll make sure to send you a “End All Foreign Occupation” RP 2012 sticker for your F150 ;)

          • Brian H

            Can I get one also?

          • Whodat

            Be sure to send a snow shovel to hell, as well!
            But, I am bound to my word: I will put a Paul-Pal bumper sticker on “ol’ Blue”… Good luck.

      • Gary Russell

        Brian, I continue to honestly be amazed at your attacks on anybody who isn’t named Mitt! Honestly, I’ve bounced around on candidates this year -who hasn’t…oh, yeah…Rob :)
        And I’ve pointed out the flaws of whichever candidate was attacking my guy (or gal).
        But, you are really over the top with your NBR (Nobody But Romney) approach. Chill out, man!

        • Brian H

          I am confused to what “attacks” I made that are “over the top”. I have not said anything that has not been said by the many people who know Newt best. In regards to Cain I pointed out Cain’s continuous flubs of easy policy issues and I spoke little of Cain’s sexcapades. I believed his shallow depth on the issues was more devastating.
          .
          I am a fan of Newt, I think he is brilliant thinker. However, I also recognize Newt would be a disastrous general election candidate.
          .
          You are right, however. Many people have bounced around from candidate to candidate. Unfortunately, people continue to bounce from deeply flawed candidate to deeply flawed candidate. The good news is that the 20% of us who are on the Mitt train will gladly welcome the disheartened ABRs into the flock.

          • Alaina

            Mitt isn’t any less flawed then the rest of the field.

            • Brian H

              I do not judge candidates on their flaws, I am judge them on their electability.

          • Gary RUssell

            I didn’t say that your attacks are “over the top”. I said that your NBR approach to the whole campaign is over the top.
            Your posts imply that everyone except Romney eats live babies for breakfast, and that he is the only possible candidate who can save the planet.
            Just looking for a little more common sense approach to it. Every candidate has flaws, and no candidate is perfect. If you insist that the other seven are pathetic, it makes it kinda hard to beat Obomb unless ONLY your guy is the guy.

            • Brian H

              You are exactly right and you have interpreted my posts accurately…I do insist it will makes it kinda hard to beat Obomb unless Mitt is the guy. Yes. that is exactly what I am suggesting.
              .
              I am sorry if my NBR approach is viewed as “over the top” but it is my honest assessment of the field and the race. SHould I pretend to believe others would make good general election candidates?

  • Red State Eddie

    What do Newt Gingrich and the Green Bay Packers have in common?
    .
    They’re both currently in first; but more importantly,

    the only person who can beat them is themselves.
    .
    The odd of the Packers doing that – 1000:1
    The odds of Newt doing that – What day is today?

  • http://twitter.com/#!/PD_Scott Scott A. Robinson, Editor

    This could be interesting. Pelosi plans to release dirt on Gingrich when the time is politically expedient. Imagine a pile of new dirt being released the day after Gingrich seals up the primary vote nomination. Now that would be an interesting Republican Convention

    • Rob

      Well, at the very least it should be an entertaining election!

    • Brian H

      There is little question that Newt is completely toxic. The ABRs have their new anti-Mitt horse and they will ride him until he, too, pulls up. The only concern I have is will the voters recognize Newt’s toxicity now during the primaries, or will they wait until the general election to recognize what is obvious to many.

    • T Baker

      Pelosi has nothing to lose politically to hold this until a general – if Newt is the nominee. It would behoove her to release it sooner. What she has going against her is any type of confidentiality that may have existed in her role as an inquisitor of Newt on the committee, but leaks will be forthcoming.
      .
      I like the quote from Barney Frank that his going away present would be “I never thought I’d live such a good life that I would see Newt Gingrich be the nominee of the Republican party.”
      .
      PLEASE run away from Newt as fast as you can!

    • T Baker

      constraint [kuhn-streynt] noun: The Democrats holding off releasing their opposition research on Newt until he is the nominee.

  • dw

    I agree with the overall rankings, and appreciate the empty saddle. But, I do think the following is just flat out wrong:
    “Now, for the first time since 2009, Mitt is staring at another horse’s backside.”
    .
    According to the PD composite and other longer-range polls, Mitt viewed several other horses backsides – Bachmann, Perry, and Cain. Newt surges to the top in a short time and now this is the FIRST time Mitt is behind? Sorry, I can’t agree.

  • Ricko

    A two way race? Seriously ?

    I happen to see a green up arrow next to Ron Paul. Shouldn’t that by default give him third place even if you don’t want to give the guy credit for rising in the polls without much help?

    I heard that stuff that you were spewing about Ron Paul nearly reaching his ceiling. If I recall he was at his ceiling months ago when he “peaked” at about 8% in the polls. I think its safe to say he has broken through whatever fictional ceiling exists. His numbers have not declined at all, only risen. A ceiling ?

    It’s too premature to say it is only a 2 person race. Nice try though.

    • Brian H

      Paul will never be the nominee. Huntsmen has a better chance. You see the horses who have all passed Paul, don’t you? Bachmann, Perry, Cain, Newt…have all came from being behind Paul to surpassing him and then falling again, only to see their votes go to ABP, Anybody But Paul. His 10% is his base and only his base. No more, no less.
      .

      I prayed we not have to continue this conversation into this election cycle, but it was not meant to be.

    • http://www.politicalderby.com/ Jason Wright, Editor

      Safe to say he’s broken through whatever fictional ceiling exists? Safe, how? His numbers have not budged since his first campaign in 1988. What’s your definition of ceiling? Mine is averaging 8% for an entire career.

      • Rob

        Jason, when you make comments like that it makes you look like a joke. At least try to pretend you’re unbiased for a second.

        In 1988, Paul receive 0.5% of the vote.

        In the 2008 campaign, Ron Paul started out at 0-1% nationally and grew to about 3-4% (with all of the horses in the race).

        In the 2012 campaign, Paul is between 8-12% nationally, with numbers in the 15-25% range in Iowa, and 15-20% in New Hampshire. The early states results have a large influence on the election.

        Whether he will be the nominee or not, when you make comments like that it seem you’re purposely trying to ignore reality. Give credit where credit is due, people like you would have NEVER thought it was possible Paul would win the Iowa caucus a year ago.

        • Brian H

          So, according to your stats, it has taken Paul 23 years to get to 12%. The good news is that at this rate by the time Paul is 99 years old he will be up to 24%.

          • Rob

            Derp. This is his second presidential race as a Republican. So, the numbers from 2007 to present are the most relevant.
            .
            Can’t wait for the Iowa caucus.

            • Brian H

              Oh. Now we are only looking at the “most relevant” numbers, my mistake. I am not the one who brought up his third party run in 1988. Does that mean he is a “RINO”?

              • Rob

                Jason brought up 1988, not me. Hope that helps you understand.

        • http://www.politicalderby.com/ Jason Wright, Editor

          Most thinkers would know I was being sarcastic about a run in 1988.
          .
          You can cherry pick state polls, but I’m talking national polls where the PDC and RCP come from. Iowa polls don’t mean much nationally, do they.
          .
          Give this a gander:
          .
          http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2012/president/us/republican_presidential_nomination-1452.html#polls
          .
          You don’t see a trend over dozens and dozens of polls since 2008?
          .
          I understand your affection for Paul. But you love to trot around PD demeaning everyone for being intellectually inferior, and the result is that no one takes you as seriously as they might.
          .
          When Good Rob is around, he’s rational and polite. Bad Rob? Well, he gets mocked publicly and privately :)

          • Ricko

            You’re inferring that momentum in one state cannot translate well enough to be projected onto the national scene. Has this never happened before ?

            If that small slice of cake tastes good in Iowa, Maybe those in Florida might want to try a taste. Before you know it, hey look at that. Influence on the national scene.

            • http://www.politicalderby.com/ Jason Wright, Editor

              Ricko, now *that* is a very fair point, excellent, in fact. If Paul wins Iowa, which is possible, that could certainly boost him in other states to better showings. No doubt about that. Will he win the nomination? Of course not. I suspect even you know that. But can he be a player and capture some delegates? Definitely.

              • Ricko

                I guess I’m missing that “smoking gun” that you see that calls this GOP primary before its even officially began. Care to enlighten me ?
                .
                I’m familiar with trends and polls of the recent and distant past. This current lineup matches nothing in history. I haven’t found one instance in any race where nearly all candidates have had their turn equally, for roughly the same period of time (in this case, its almost 2 months), have been given their chance to shine only to burn out. I’ve never seen anything like it before. It’s completely fascinating, yet bizarre at the same time.
                .
                This is why I take offense to closing the book on someone before the green flag has been waived (Even Huntsman gets its bad, which is unfortunate). This isn’t a traditional GOP primary at all. You have new rules that stretch the race out far into the summertime. I don’t think you should quickly apply those past trends to an event in such flux.

          • Rob

            I really don’t care if I get mocked by you publicly or privately. It just proves what hypocrites you guys are, to be honest.
            .
            The early states (Iowa and NH) are where the campaign is focused. There is a ton of obvious progress there as a result. The early voting results ALWAYS influence the national polling. Who was leading nationally before the Iowa caucuses in 2008? What did he do after Iowa?

            • Brian H

              The good news is that in 28 days we can completely end the Ron Paul talk.

              • Rob

                That’s odd, since in 28 days he’ll win Iowa.

              • Brian H

                You heard it here first, PD’rs! Rob has called Iowa for Paul!

            • http://www.politicalderby.com/ Jason Wright, Editor

              Hypocrites? Really? Are you prepared to have me post some of the hateful, shameful emails you’ve sent my guys through the years?

              • Rob

                Sure, if posting the emails I sent to Kaiser makes you feel better then go ahead. I’m not sure what that solves.

  • Brian H

    It is funny that when people’s horses get to the top it is only then that they say you got it right. :)
    .
    Great job once again. My horse has dropped from 1st to 2nd which is an accurate analysis of the situation at this point. :(
    .
    I hope that over the next 28 days Republican voters in Iowa will examine the new flavor more deeply and begin to think about the consequences of nominating such a highly toxic candidate as Newt. :)
    .
    It is funny that people are so wanting to see Newt debate Obama (only 3 times) during the general election and that they are willing to ignore Newt’s numerous flaws in order to see that happen. What about the other days when the are not debating? Newt has a severe case of foot in mouth disease and the next year under Team-Newt would be a daily walk through the political minefields from the mines that Newt himself has planted. :(
    .

  • Newt Nut

    Finally got it right!!!!!

  • Rob

    Might want to get rid of the borders on those tables, Scott. This isn’t 1996. :)