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

Mitt
Romney

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.

Newt
Gingrich

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?

Ron
Paul

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.

Rick
Perry

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.

Rick
Santorum

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.

Michele
Bachmann

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.

Jon
Huntsman
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.

Comments

  • Red State Eddie

    Well, we’ll all see come Tuesday. It could be all over by then, except for the shouting, of course, which we seem to specialize in.

  • Brian H

    If the race is so close that the Paul fringers would even matter than chances are Mitt loses. I do not expect the 2012 election to be very close. Won or lose.

  • Red State Eddie

    The major contenders, after next week, are ones that have a ground game campain in force to move the votes. Who does not have an organized campaign state-to-state to do that?
    .
    Gingrich doesn’t. Santorum doesn’t. Perry could have, but doesn’t. Nobody else below him does.
    .
    That leaves Romney and Paul. Essentially, a two-horse race through the first five states. Who wins those first five, and gets more traction as a result, is going to be the winner.
    .
    The odds-on favorite with that likelihood is Mitt. Paul can maybe match it, but at this point, probably won’t best it.
    .
    I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that if Mitt does get the nod, his VP nomination is huge towards whether or not the RP segment is welcomed to join, or if a rift in the time-space continuum is created.

    • Troy La Mana

      I would doubt that Romney would select Paul as VP. That is the only way the Paul votes would go to him.

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

        Romney’s VP would likely be Marco Rubio, or someone of that ilk.

        • Red State Eddie

          Exactly. I started to write the same name, but figured I’d wait to hear the response.

        • Rob

          Yeah, if he chooses a Rubio or similar he has no chance of getting the Paul votes.

          • Alaina Segovia

            So you’re all going to cut off your nose to spite your face (i.e. re-elect Obama) because the rest of the country didn’t pick your guy? That’s ridiculous.

            • Rob

              No, I’m just never going to vote for the ‘lesser of two evils’ crap again. Done with that.

              • Brian H

                So you have chosen the greatest of three evils? Ron Paul? LOL. Brilliant!……

              • Rob

                Ah, your pathetic desperation knows no bounds. The more you and your ilk try to marginalize him, the more I know he’s winning.

              • Brian H

                That is because you are not very smart. I didn’t realize I even had an ilk, not even sure what an ilk is. Cool!

              • Alaina

                Again, you’re going to cut off your nose to spite your face. At the most crucial point in our lifetime, by not voting (and Troy I’m talking to you too) you are going to re-elect the guy who will be most destructive to our country and our livelihoods?

              • DW

                Alaina, what do you think about those who would refuse to vote or would vote for Obama if Paul got the GOP nomination?

              • Brian H

                It is an irrelevant point to argue since there is zero chance of Paul winning the nomination. To continue to debate and go in circles on absurd scenarios is a complete waste of time and only serves make the Paulective to continue to think their savior is a legitimate player.

              • Alaina

                DW, if they vote for Obama because they believe he’s the better choice, then that’s their decisions make. However, to re-elect Obama because you’re sulking about your guy not winning the nomination is ridiculous and a reckless use of one’s rights as an American citizen.

              • Troy La Mana

                We were stuck with the lessor of two evils in ’08 and look how that turned out. We get stuck with that again and Obama wins because a lot of people will just stay home. If the Republican Party wants my vote they have to nominate a candidate that is worthy of that vote.

              • Red State Eddie

                Where’s Whodat when you need to teach the young’uns about making stupid mistakes they’ll regret for years to come? (i.e. Perot in ’92)

        • Alaina Segovia

          I love Rubio, but he’s not ready… the guy just gave his first speech on the Senate floor a couple of months ago.

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

            Did you forget we just elected a President who had only been a Senator for two years, rarely voting in that time anyway?

            • Alaina

              Doesn’t mean it was the right thing to do… Rubio has a very bright career ahead of him… Let’s not rush him through it…

      • Brian H

        I would don’t it as well. Mitt is smarter than that.

  • Rochelle

    I have to admit, if Paul won the nomination, I think I might vote for Obama. No—- I’d write in my Dad. So my vote wouldn’t count anyway. . . Oh, wait, Gary Johnson would get my vote. In other words, I like Paul, but I don’t know that I could vote for him. I HATE his foreign Policy, and his legal drug policy. (I know Johnson has that same policy, but he wouldn’t be effective in passing law). So there you go. In my world, a Ron Paul nomination is an Obama win.

    • JOEW

      Nice logic are you related to Brian?

    • Rob

      Good to hear Rochelle. I’m always excited when people on this forum out themselves as not being small government conservatives.

      • Rochelle

        You are rude. Be nice. I always am to you.

        • Rob

          The truth is never rude Rochelle. By saying you would pull the lever for a big government socialist over a small government conservative, you out yourself as someone in favor of big government. This isn’t hard to understand.

          • Alaina Segovia

            For someone throwing around vocabularly words all the time, it seems like you would know the difference between a Conservative and a Libertarian. Paul is no Conservative.

            • Rob

              Sorry Alaina, Paul is as conservative as it gets. I already destroyed you on this in a different post, which you failed to reply to. Neoconservatism is not conservative. Sorry.

              • Brian H

                Rob. Quite frankly. You parrot the same absurd name callings and talking points used by every Paul drone on every website. You’re logic, or lack of, of what is a “RINO”, a “conservative”, a “neocon”, a “socon” is so simply laughable. You claim that anyone who does not agree with you is “wrong” or a “liar”. Please educate yourself. You are an embarrassment to the few Paul supporters who actually have brain cells, and believe me, there are only a few who do.
                .
                The Republican Party has political platform for which its principles and policies are reflected. If you don’t agree with those principles and policies then you should NOT vote for anyone running under the GOP banner. If Paul thinks he is the only “conservative” in the race then Paul should leave the GOP and start his own political party with its own political platform. It could appease all the fringers, UFO enthusiasts, 9/11-Truthers, racists, and anti-semites, that so chooses. Just don’t do it under the GOP label and claim that the entire GOP party has to adjust its platform to fit the absurdities of Ron Paul.

              • Rob

                Paul fully embodies the principles the GOP is supposed to stand for, no other candidate does.
                .
                Not hard to understand. I know your intelligence isn’t one of your strong points, so I’ve given up on hoping you’ll get that some day.

              • Brian H

                Ron Paul and yourself do not get to dictate what the principles of the GOP are, Rob. If the GOP platform is not reflective of his own ideas and principles he should remove himself and the Republican title from his name and association. Good riddance!

              • Alaina

                Didn’t see it… I quit checking old posts after a couple of days… So please, “destroy” me again… Explain to me how Paul is anything close to a Conservative on social issues?

          • Alaina Segovia

            So you’re all going to cut off your nose to spite your face (i.e. re-elect Obama) because the rest of the country didn’t pick your guy? That’s ridiculous.

          • Rochelle

            Your attacks are always personal, which is rude. Whodat argues with me about Paul all the time, but he is never rude, always respectful.

            I could not pull the lever for Paul because in my opinion, his fp is to the LEFT of Obama. His desire to legalize drugs is to the LEFT of Obama. So I consider him very conservative on economics and very left on other things.

            It is not for you to call me a big government socialist. I am neither of those things.

  • Brian H

    There is a reason that there is a traditional way to run and operate a campaign, it has proven to work. The fly-by-night winging it approach can sustain itself only for so long and the “vote for me I am not a politician” is fun, until one’s “non-politician” approach gets them in political hot water.
    .
    Mitt has run an extremely disciplined campaign, sometimes accused of being too disciplined. But in the end, it is proving to be the best strategy and the most “conservative”. The Mitt horse never hit the panic button when the flavors ran in from of him for a few hundred feet. Mitt had a plan, a strategy, an approach to win the long race, and he has not abandoned that strategy once.
    .
    Like a real horserace, one cannot adjust their strategy based on what other horses do, that only plays onto the opponents favor. Mitt has stayed strong and steady, ran a respectable pace, and has shown the stamina needed to finish strong down the stretch. When others went out front he has not attempted to burn himself out, he simply allowed their spurt to the top to rise and fall.
    .
    Those of us who want Obama out of office should take great comfort in knowing that we will likely be electing a candidate who has the skill-sets, organization, money, character, and discipline to run a highly effective and highly traditional match race over the next year. Will it be easy? No. Obama is the morning line favorite as any incumbent would be, but, not by much. Team-Obama better know that their strategy better be at least as good as what Mitt can bring or most assuredly Obama will lose in November.
    .
    The flirting with the ABR’s is over for the most part.

    • Troy La Mana

      If Mitt wins the nomination I will not pull the Republican lever. I would bet there will be far more that stay home then once again vote the the lessor of two evils. The people will not vote for Liberal-lite. I give you McCain as exhibit A. The ABR phenomenon goes national.

      • Brian H

        McCain finished over 10% higher than Republicans did nationally in 2008. I am not sure if you were paying much attention last election, but, a historical African American candidate that people did not know anything about dazzled the masses. The myth that McCain was a bad candidate is simply not reflected in the numbers or by the facts. Nobody was going to beat Obama in 2008. Almost 60 million people voted for McCain, more than who voted for GW Bush when he became POTUS in 2000.
        .
        I know the whole McCain RINO myth gets used quite often as a parroted talking point, it simply is not true. McCain actually ran quite well against a historical fresh face following 8 years of Republican power in the oval office.

  • Jacosta

    I don’t know why people even begin to argue any point (as I’m guilty of right now because most of the time I ignore his rants) about anything political with the person in post #3 above? His over-emotional based opinions have blinded him so much that he cannot see logic, exactness, truth, or common sense!

    • Rob

      The funny part is all of my politics are based on logical thought. I don’t even let emotion come into play, which is why I can be consistent when it comes to my politics. You are the direct opposite. Everything you say politically is fueled by emotion and not by rational thought. Typical of neocons and socons.

      • Jacosta

        Rob – I wasn’t referring to you in my post.

        • Rob

          I assume you are referring to Troy, and asides from his insane Cain love affair, Troy’s always been a reasonable guy.

          • Troy La Mana

            He just doesn’t want to admit that the same reasons that Mitt wasn’t viable in ’08 are the same reasons he isn’t viable in ’12. I would say that my reasoning is very well thought out and not emotional at all. If I was emotional I would be writing in Cain’s name. I fell back to Paul because he is the last real Constitutional Conservative left among these candidates.

      • Red State Eddie

        OK, I’ll bite. What’s the difference between a “neocon” and a “socon”?

        • Rob

          Neoconservatism is more foreign policy focused i.e. the US is the greatest country in the world and should use it’s military force to spread democracy throughout the world, regardless of good sense about whether we can afford it or not.
          .
          Social conservatism is just what it sounds like, using government to enforce traditional social standards i.e. marriage between a man and a woman, pro-life, religion, drugs, etc.

          • Red State Eddie

            So what’s the “neo” represent? Why is that so “new” to conservatism?
            .
            Is ‘Socon’ a term of derision, or just description? And is that meant to be active and overt government control, like a liberal’s desire for economic control? What would the opposite of that be?

  • Troy La Mana

    Because Paul should be 2nd but they can’t quite pull the trigger. Finishing 2nd is a win for Romney?

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

      Every political analyst in the country will tell you that a second place finish for Romney would be a win. Given how little time he’s spent there compared to the others, and given how fractured the anti-Romney vote is, a second place finish would be fantastic for them.
      .
      You should know that, Troy. You’ve been saying for over a year that Romney can’t/won’t/shouldn’t win the nomination. I think you’ve even called for him to withdraw because he wasn’t “viable.”
      .
      Good times.

      • Rob

        Well, he isn’t viable. This has already been noted on many occasions. If Paul doesn’t win the nomination, you lose a significant portion of voters for the GOP. I will 100% guarantee, on the grounds that I am banned for life from this site, that Obama will be reelected if anyone but Paul gets the nomination.

        • Alaina Segovia

          Please see Jason’s comment on today’s open thread… I really want to see your answer.

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

          Sigh. Not going to get into a debate about the definition of the word “viable” with a Ron Paul supporter :)
          .
          Hit the Open Thread and lay out his path to the nomination. Honestly, I’ve heard scenarios from most of the other horses except Paul.

          • Rob

            I’m not sure that anybody understands the “path to the nomination” for any candidate this year with the change in the rules of how delegates are proportioned. I’ve heard all kinds of conflicting information on it, so it’s a bit confusing whereas in past elections it was a lot more obvious.

            • Brian H

              Paul’s Path 101
              .
              “Not only are we going to New Hampshire … we’re going to South Carolina and Florida and Oklahoma and Arizona and North Dakota and New Mexico, and we’re going to California and Texas and New York! And we’re going to South Dakota and Oregon and Washington and Michigan. And then we’re going to Washington, D.C. to take back the White House, Yeeeeeaaaaaargh!”

              • Red State Eddie

                I scream. you scream, we all scream the Dean Scream. YEEEEEEAARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!

        • Brian H

          “I will 100% guarantee, on the grounds that I am banned for life from this site, that Obama will be reelected if anyone but Paul gets the nomination.”
          .
          As if we needed another reason to rally around Mitt!! A donation to the Mitt 2012 campaign just placed by me on that prospect alone.

          • Rob

            Brian: Will you match my bet? You get banned for life if Mitt gets the nomination and doesnt win.

  • QPC

    Wait a minute. You have Ron Paul clearly in third here, third by a long shot in your Composite, yet you called him tied for second on FOX News this morning? Which is it? I think Jason is confused.

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

      QPC: Nope, not confused. That a mistake on Fox’s part. We sent them our notes indicating a tight race for 2 and 3, but that Newt was still 2 and Paul was still 3. It looks like Clayton, on the fly, misread.