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

As Rick Perry and Herman Cain did before him, Gingrich seems to have peaked, driven by the additional focus on his past, reminding people of some of his controversial, if not anti-conservative positions. The master debater does seem to have a rebuttal for every position-based attack thrown his way because when you’ve spent 30 years in Congress, odds are good you’ve voted on both sides of many issues. However, if we wake up one morning to find Newt Gingrich and Howard Stern sitting on a couch discussing who’s got talent, all bets are off.

Mitt
Romney

Is Romney a liberal who is trying to win the GOP nomination as a conservative or is he a conservative who had to run as a liberal to have a chance at governing a liberal state? This is at the core Republicans’ struggle with Romney. But the thing Romney does well, other than picking hair gel, is exude the confidence and air of a leader that makes Americans feel comfortable with him.

Ron
Paul

Despite sitting in the third position, Dr. Paul remains several lengths behind the leaders. They say slow and steady wins the race, but when you are three laps behind nearing the final turn you’ll never catch up. Additionally, the preponderance of debates this cycle putting Paul on television more often has brought far more memories of Richard M. Nixon versus John F. Kennedy than Paul can withstand.

Rick
Perry

During the Iowa debate, Perry agreed with the moderator that he was not a good debater. Despite trying to acknowledge his faults, this is no small fault. It’s like saying, “I’m not very smart and I make poor decisions underpressure, but you should make me commander-in-chief of the world’s most powerful military.”

Michele
Bachmann

If Bachmann would have been as assertive, direct, concise, and clear in earlier debates as she was last night, she might still be a top two candidate in Iowa, as she was in September. Word is, she will next try to garner some of what would have been the Sarah Palin vote by mixing in some “you betchas” next time.
Rick
Santorum
The candidate who is acknowledged to have spent the most time in Iowa is likely to finish sixth out of seven candidates. If you can’t win a primary election when you’ve visited every county in a small, early primary state, you might want to reconsider and run for HOA President.
Jon
Huntsman
The second choice behind Romney to fix the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, Huntsman was reportedly rather bitter. So how will he react when he is the fifth or sixth choice after Romney in the Republican primaries? Maybe he’ll pack up and move back to China.

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