Seth R and I have a bet now as to who is going to win the nomination. I’m betting on Gingrich (or at least someone other than Romney) and he on Romney. Frankly, all things being equal, the odds are on his side. This article here explains why. In the article, we have a PhD explaining why the predictions market still favors Romney over Gingrich. Essentially, it boils down to what possible scenarios will play out for the first states (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina, Florida) and how they anticipate the Republican bosses reacting.
One interesting idea in the article is that the anti-Romney crowd, seeing Gingrich can’t win, promotes Jon Huntsman or Ron Paul instead leading to a victory over Gingrich.
So I can see why Seth and others feel like Gingrich is only an outside chance.
I suppose the reason I disagree with the experts is that I feel that these experts aren’t taking the true prejudice 1/3 of Evangelicals feel towards Mormons into consideration because they don’t really understand it. They are still thinking in terms of normal rational behavior, not prejudice behavior. To me, it seems obvious that these experts keep getting it wrong precisely because they don’t understand the level of prejudice that exists. So, for example, they keep predicting that Romney is ‘inevitable’ or what have you.
One obvious example of this is the idea that the anti-Romney crowd would ever pick Jon Huntsman as their candidate. Yet here are the experts calculating the odds as if the ‘anti-Romney’ sentiment was somehow just about Romney personally. They literally can’t see the truth.
By the way, I do believe a mass exodus from Gingrich from an implosion could lead to a surge for Ron Paul out of sheer desperation. I don’t believe that will happen in the time remaining, however. That’s why I have running joke of tagging my posts as “Ron Paul 2012.”
This brings up an interesting political strategy that Ron Paul lovers should have used — they should have all promoted Gingrich from the beginning so that he imploded with enough time to make Ron Paul the anti-Romney just before the election. They might consider this for next time when Jon Huntsman runs again.
Another interesting question is, how much might the 1/3 be okay with Jon Huntsman? He’s been smart enough to downplay his Mormonism. This all reminds me of Senator Smoot who basically claimed to be less inactive so that the Senate would seat him. Of course this is humorous coming from a member of the 12 Apostles, but since he had primarily worked with Church businesses as his callings it was easy to re-brand him as a business man rather than a religion leader. Smart thinking. It might just work for Huntsman too.
As much as I, a good Democrat, would like to see Gingrich or Paul as the Republican candidate, I cannot predict that. One rule of thumb in practical politics is that an election is unpredictable if their are too many “soft” voters. A soft voter is one who supposedly favors a candidte, but that support is very weak. Except for Ron Paul, all the other candidates are loaded with soft voters. Paul has too little support and is not a listed second or third candidate named by voters. There is just too much that can happen and it is too early to predict.
Bruce, I will not be making any bets until after the NH primary. There are literally hundreds of different scenarios that could play out before then. Gingrich is not loved by opinion-makers. More than half of the key conservative opinion-makers really don’t like him. And he loves to implode. So, I definitely would not bet on him winning.
As for Ron Paul being the anti-Romney candidate, well, I would describe him as a very unique candidate with a completely different philosophy and approach. He is as different from Romney as any Democrat. But I do believe more and more voters will turn to him — and possibly even Huntsman — after the NH primary.
At this point, the only thing I would bet on is that after NH there will be four candidates standing: Ron Paul, Romney, Gingrich and Huntsman.
Geoff, I feel I only need to wait until Iowa to determine if Romney has a chance. If he gets second or at least a three or less percent third from second place, then he might make it. If he gets any other percent distance third or any lower then he will not be nominated no matter what. His standing in Iowa will be the clincher I think. He doesn’t have to win it, but he has to come close. As for who gets first and possibly second in Iowa? I don’t think it matters as a sign of who will ultimately get it out of the anti-Romney group.
I do think that it will go all the way if Romney pulls out of Iowa with good enough numbers. He will lose the South to whoever, but he can get the Eastern and the Western states to vote for him. This will be no problem depending on how
fractured the South is in their votes (Gingrich over Perry or Bachmann?). I really don’t see Gingrich winning more than a few Eastern and only half of the Southern states, but then voters aren’t very logical in how they pick nominees. Because I don’t think my personal favorites will win (Cain out, Santorum hardly in, and Bachmann getting low numbers unless hitting another Iowa and Southern miracle), then I want Romney to win to stick it in the eye of the haters. You know what I mean.
I wouldn’t bet on Romney, just because he’s such a clumsy, predictable politician. His response to Gingrich’s real lead in the polls right now is a case in point.
Paul fascinates me. Mostly because at least on the surface he pretty much represents what Rush, Fox News and the Tea Partiers were clamoring for two years ago, but can’t seem to gain much traction with any of those three. I’d love to know why Iowa Tea Partiers choose Gingrich over Paul when Paul seems to match up with them so well.
They don’t like him on foreign policy and there really are some big differences between libertarians and conservatives. I’ve not listened to Rush in years but he’s attacked libertarians in the past explicitly. I’m trying to remember but I vaguely recall Rush being pretty sympathetic to Federalism arguments which really aren’t that conducive to libertarianism.
The areas where libertairians and Tea Partiers intersect are what I’m thinking about. They seem to be ignoring those similarities to focus on someone (Gingrich) who in no way represents what they’ve been shouting about.
I like Ron Paul, but for various reasons I find it hard to imagine that he would be the go to candidate in a panic. Bachmann or Huntsman maybe. Paul has a lot of persuading to do before he can capture a majority of the GOP.