September 23, 2007

Sheer Heart Attack in Mackinac

Hatched by Dafydd

Although Mitt Romney has seen much of his early lead evaporate in New Hampshire, he still leads the pack by an average of 4.7%, according to Real Clear Politics. He's ahead in Iowa by a whopping 16.4%. And he's the "favorite son" in Michigan, where Romney's father, George W. Romney, was governor in the 1960s; Mitt Romney leads the polls there by 7.6%.

As Hughitt has said, if Romney wins Iowa, New Hampshire, and Michigan at the very beginning of the caucus/primary parade, it will be mighty hard for any Republican candidate to dethrone him for the nomination.

This weekend, Michigan held a straw poll at what was advertised as "the biggest gathering of Michigan Republicans before their January 15th primary." So how did Romney do, exactly? According to Real Clear Politics, he beat the field by 12% -- more than half again as much as his lead in the polls:

The results, which come close to mirroring recent polls (Romney leads by 7.6% in the latest RCP Michigan Average) again show that [Fred] Thompson's rise to the top will not be easy. [Sen. John] McCain's second-place finish, despite a blow he suffered when Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox left his camp last week, may mean he still has some fight left in him, though he places fourth in the RCP Average. And [Rep. Ron] Paul, who beat out both Thompson and [Rudy] Giuliani, continues to show surprising grassroots-level support. Whether he can translate that into votes remains, however, to be seen....

Here are the official results:

  • Romney 39% (383 votes)
  • McCain 27% (260)
  • Paul 11% (106)
  • Giulaini 11% (104)
  • Thompson 7% (70)
  • Huckabee 3% (25)
  • Hunter 1% (12)
  • Brownback <1% (3)
  • Tancredo 0% (0)
  • Uncommitted 2% (16)

But according to another source -- Real Clear Politics -- Romney did poorly, was ill-received, and cannot generate any enthusiasm in Michigan:

Jonathan Martin reports on Mitt Romney's speech yesterday at the Mackinac Leadership conference this weekend:

In a lunchtime speech to over a thousand Michigan Republicans gathered here for a retreat, Romney cast himself as a "Republican for change" and told the faithful in a marked denunciation of his own party that the Washington branch of the GOP has lost its way....

Romney was reading from a teleprompter and punctuated his statement with emphasis -- clearly indicating that it was meant for applause. But there was none.

A bit later Martin says there was "an awkward moment when one person began to clap but nobody else in the crowd joined."

That doesn't sound like a very impressive showing, especially for a candidate who is the state's favorite son.

Oh fudge. We appear to have a tale of two Mackinacs. Will the Real Clear Politics please stand up?

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, September 23, 2007, at the time of 2:05 PM

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The following hissed in response by: Mr. Michael

Perhaps a clue can be gleaned from David Freddoso over at The Corner:

Romney's win is no surprise — he paid for many volunteers to attend, perhaps as many as 200,

Somehow I imagine that Ron Paul ran the same organized voting... it's what Straw Polls are all about!

The above hissed in response by: Mr. Michael [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 23, 2007 6:06 PM

The following hissed in response by: Baggi

Actually, Mr. Michael, its what elections are all about. Lot's of people in the United States don't get involved in politics and they have to be driven to the polls on voting day. The person with the best get out the vote effort wins.

This is what straw polls tell us, who can organize such an effort.

So are we to believe that Romney had 383 people willing to show up to this thing and vote for him, but showed no enthusiasm for him when he was speaking?

Somehow I highly doubt that.

The above hissed in response by: Baggi [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 23, 2007 6:45 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Mr. Michael:

It also doesn't explain his RCP average in Michigan GOP polling:

  • Romney: 26.3%;
  • Giuliani: 18.7% (-7.6);
  • Thompson: 14.0% (-12.3);
  • McCain: 12.7% (-13.6);
  • Huckabee: 3.3% (-23.0).

It looks like the first three states will be Iowa, New Hampshire, and Michigan... and in 2004, the last two states went for John Kerry by squeaker margins... as did a couple other Great Lake states (Wisconsin and Minnesota... Illinois is probably out of reach for a Republican).

But just those three very close lake states plus New Hampshire total 41 electoral votes; that's more than twice Ohio (should the GOP lose that purple state); in fact, it's more than any state won by George W. Bush, including Texas (37 electoral votes).

If Mitt Romney is running strong in the first three GOP primary/caucus states (Iowa, New Hampshire, and Michigan), it could mean he is strong in other states in the same geopolitical area (Wisconsin and Minnesota).

As somebody said, I forget who, it would be nice for the next Republican presidential candidate to be able to challenge in some blue states, rather than simply try to play defense in the Bush states.

If Mitt Romney can learn to connect better with people emotionally when he's on the stage, I think he could be very competitive in the Midwest and some of the mid-Atlantic states... including Pennsylvania (21 evs) and possibly even New Jersey (15 evs).

That's why it's important that he's achieving success in a state like Michigan: It opens the possibility of expanding into the small enclaves where Democrats have held sway the past few elections.

If Mark Warner were running for president, the outlook would be much gloomier, because he could challenge for several Southern states, including VA, of course. Republicans would pretty much have to nominate a strong Southerner to prevent that -- which may or may not work.

But none of the current Democratic line-up (Clinton, Obama, Edwards) can realistically challenge the Republicans in the South... so this is an excellent opportunity for a non-Southerner (Romney or Giuliani, or even McCain) to try to expand the GOP playing field to some historically Democratic areas.

Romney used to be more moderate, and Giuliani still is -- which, while they hurt in the primary season, would probably help in the general election, as they compete more strongly in purple states than would, say, Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 23, 2007 9:43 PM

The following hissed in response by: Mr. Michael

Now, I'm not saying that Governor Romney didn't win, or didn't deserve to win in a Michigan Poll... but you said:

According to Real Clear Politics, he beat the field by 12% -- more than half again as much as his lead in the polls:
and I read into your post a question as to whether that is an honest spread, taking into consideration the RCP polling data. I was just pointing out how THIS poll could be so much more Romney weighted than the rest.

Nothing mean, nothing vicious... nothing in denial.

I'll grant you, I'm a Fred Fan. I think if he can get off of his duff he could be a great candidate, and I think for SURE that he'll help the field stay more conservative in order to deny him votes.

But I like Governor Romney. I like his style, I like his past, and while I don't in any way share his Religion, I respect it. I think he'd do well as President, and I think so partly because of his organization skills working the Primary System.

But don't count on that 12% standing up, m'kay? ;)

The above hissed in response by: Mr. Michael [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 23, 2007 10:19 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Mr. Michael:

But don't count on that 12% standing up, m'kay?

Heck no, I'd be perfectly happy with 7.6%!

Actually, I'm not firmly committed to any of the Republican candidates. What I really want is a Frankenstein's Candidate with pieces of each one sewn together...

  • The emotional connection and governing skills of Giuliani +
  • The easy, folksy style and ready wit of Thompson +
  • The organizational and governing skills and commitment to conservative economic principles of Romney +
  • The deep understanding of counterinsurgency warfare and commitment to the war against global hirabah of McCain =
  • My ideal Republican candidate.

Or, in a pinch, any one of the four who can beat Hillary Clinton, whose cold-blooded cynicism and lack of any principle beyond "I me mine" scares the bejesus out of me.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 24, 2007 12:03 AM

The following hissed in response by: Terrye

I am not firmly committed either, but I don't have much faith in straw polls. I still Giulliani will end up with the nomination. But what the hell do I know?

The above hissed in response by: Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 24, 2007 2:34 PM

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