Turner GPA Handicaps the 2012 Presidential Field

Posted on February 8, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

We believe it’s never too early to talk about presidential politics, but with the Iowa caucuses only a year off, it’s time to take the handicapping a little more seriously. With more than dozen GOP hopefuls considering a challenge to President Obama next year, voters in early caucus and primary states have a lot of learning to do. We didn’t do any polling here at TurnerGPA, but we do know a thing or two about national politics. While we’re ranking Mitt Romney number one, like most prognosticators, we wouldn’t be surprised to see a fresh face like John Thune or Tim Pawlenty capture the GOP imagination. Here are our rankings of the Republican field:

Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts and 2008 presidential candidate, is considered the front runner in most corners. He has high name recognition and is a strong fundraiser. He raised $4.6 million last year and started 2011 with $1.3 million on hand. He’ll lose some Republicans because as governor he backed a state health care reform package that was similar to President Obama’s. And some continue to wonder if his Mormon religion will hold him back.

John Thune, the Senator from South Dakota, is a handsome, young, fund-raising dynamo who is little known outside Washington and his home state. Let’s get right to the bottom line: during the first three quarters of 2010 he raised $44 million and had $22 million on hand. He probably matches up better against Obama than the rest of the pack, but he may not appeal to the Tea Party types because his political resume is largely Washington-based.

Tim Pawlenty, the Governor of Minnesota, is a fresh Midwestern face with a track record of fiscal conservatism that could give him a huge advantage when consultants and pundits begin reprising the “it’s the economy stupid” mantra. His brand of “common sense conservatism” could appeal to the critical independent voting block, but might turn off the rock-ribbed conservative base. He’s never had to raise much money under Minnesota’s political financing laws, but he received $1.9 million during the first three quarters of last year and had $600,000 on hand.

Mike Huckabee, the former Governor of Arkansas and 2008 presidential candidate, maintains a strong base among religious conservatives. But this latest candidate from Hope faces a significant challenge in taking his Bible-belt popularity national. We know he can win in Iowa and the early battleground of South Carolina, but he lacks a strategy to succeed elsewhere. He’s an adequate, though not exceptional, fund raiser. By the end of October, he raised $819,000 and had $191,000 in the bank.

Sarah Palin, the former Governor of Alaska and 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate, has seen her 2012 star tarnished in recent months by missteps and attempts by some to tie her to the killings in Tucson. Still, the Mama Grizzly inspires fierce loyalty from her backers and it is way too early to count her out. Her name recognition is probably the highest in the field, she has strong support among social conservatives and the Tea Party and she is adept at tapping the grass roots for funds. She raised more than $2.5 million and had $1.3 million in the bank late last year. Still, Palin faces a bedrock challenge: Is she electable?

Mitch Daniels, the governor of Indiana, is another Midwestern new-comer to national politics with a reputation as a fiscal conservative that could play well nationally. He’s been called a “nerdy chic” numbers wonk who would likely make the federal budget his key issue. But nerdy probably can’t win in a race against some of the far more charismatic Republican candidates, let alone against Obama. His fundraising abilities are questionable at best.

Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, also enjoys support among the GOP faithful who remember his triumphant ascent to the speaker’s chair in 1994. He probably has the best name recognition among those who have never run for national office and he is clearly the field’s intellectual heavy weight. He’s got a few issues in his personal life, like multiple divorces, and his fundraising ability does not match his name recognition. He raised only $312,000 during the first three-quarters of last year and had $104,000 cash on hand.

Michele Bachmann, the congresswoman from Minnesota and Tea Party darling, probably isn’t ready for this list let alone a bid for the White House. She has no proven fund raising skills, little name recognition and a weak resume. But Bachmann enjoys fierce loyalty from the Tea Party and could be a dark horse candidate if the Tea Party and the public continue to sour on Palin. And, hey, she’s from Minnesota which is right next to Iowa.

Post your opinion on these and other potential candidates.

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[…] post: Turner GPA Handicaps the 2012 Presidential Field « The Turner Blog Tags: considered-the-front, front-runner, last-year, massachusetts, name-recognition, romney, […]

Thanks for this resourse, I am considering talking about the same in my website.

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