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
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Team Romney is finally watching their game plan unfold as planned for the last two years. He's up in Iowa on the strength of the electability argument and the "Anyone But Romney" field remains fractured. If he finishes first in Iowa, he wins. If he finishes second to Paul, he still wins. If he finishes third to Paul and Gingrich, it gets interesting again.


Gingrich only has himself to blame for his cratering numbers, especially in Iowa where he's shed 20 points since December 6. He's been too late to respond to attacks, too whiny and too disorganized. Does he understand that failing to make Virginia ballot hurt him far beyond the commonwealth's borders?


Has his surge in Iowa peaked? His momentum seems to have settled as he faces attacks from all sides over his foreign policy and the racist newsletters he published years ago. Still, an Iowa win would keep him in the race past most of the "establishment" horses, and will set the stage for the handoff of the baton to the next Paul to run for president: Rand.


The Texas governor is still in it, but he needs a miracle third place finish in Iowa to remain viable. If he finishes outside the top three, expect him to pull up stakes quickly and head home. He's at 2% in New Hampshire, polling only slightly ahead of Pawlenty and Cain.


Santorum is finally surging at the right time in Iowa, and he deserves kudos for working harder than any candidate in recent memory. But he has virtually no organization anywhere else. So what would a strong third or fourth place showing in Iowa mean to the former senator from Pennsylvania? That he still can't win a statewide race anymore.


A lifetime ago, Bachmann led in Iowa and won the Ames Straw poll. Today Rasmussen has her at 5%, and that includes the children she's adopted. She faces the prospect of finishing behind everyone but a candidate (Huntsman) who never campaigned there and openly mocks the state.

Governor Huntsman, don't take it personally, but people don't like you. Actually, yes, take it personally. History will show that your major contribution to the 2012 presidential race was making Romney look conservative. And just for the record, it is usually never a good idea to mock voters, even if you never really planned to run in the state you mocked.