published Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Cain, Romney and a hazy presidential field

Who would be the best GOP candidate to run against President Obama?

You may or may not like the liberal policies of President Barack Obama, but the Democrat side of the 2012 presidential race has at least one advantage for now: certainty about who its candidate will be.

There is little doubt that incumbent Obama will be on the ballot come Election Day.

But there is no such clarity at this point about which Republican will oppose him.

Any of the GOP candidates would be an improvement on Obama, but thus far, none has broken from the pack to take a commanding lead over the other Republican candidates -- even as the primaries and caucuses begin in less than three months.

Given the long-term weakness of the economy -- and high unemployment that has intensified under Obama's leadership -- the eventual GOP candidate should have at least a decent shot at defeating Obama.

In weekly Rasmussen Reports surveys dating back to early July, likely voters have put a generic Republican ahead of Obama every time -- by as much as 8 percentage points.

But "Joe Generic" won't be on the ballot opposing Obama. That duty will fall to a Republican candidate with a record that voters can compare and contrast with Obama's record before making their decision.

The GOP hopefuls who are leading in the polls -- at least for the moment -- are Georgia businessman Herman Cain and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Cain had 25 percent support among likely Republican voters in the latest New York Times/CBS poll, followed by Romney with 21 percent. They were far ahead of the other hopefuls.

Both men have business experience. Cain is generally seen as somewhat more conservative than Romney, but Romney often seems more self-assured in debates.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry came on strong early but has since fallen back in the polls. He has introduced a flat-tax proposal that he hopes will revive his chances.

Neither Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota nor Rep. Ron Paul of Texas has gotten much traction of late.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich articulates his arguments well, but it remains to be seen whether his campaign can catch fire.

The next tier of candidates -- including former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman -- have made little headway in the polls.

So, bit by bit, it is becoming clear that some of the Republican candidates have minimal chance of success.

But it remains very unclear which one will win the nomination.

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nucanuck said...

If the GOP could only nominate their candidate AFTER the November election, they wouldn't have to place one of their wounded pigeons up for closer examination. As weak as Obama is he may still seem better than any one of these birds.

October 27, 2011 at 1:53 a.m.
EaTn said...

The second term race definitely has an advantage to the incumbent. While the opposition are busy spending millions defining each others faults, the President is busy taking his agenda to the public and fundraisers. All of this on both sides is naught, because the trump card next November will be the state of the economy. Can the GOP Congress and right-wing businesses keep their juggling act of high unemployment and low consumer confidence another year until election? Stay tuned.

October 27, 2011 at 5:52 a.m.
hambone said...

By all accounts Romney is the most likely choice. 3 years ago Romney paid $12 million for a 75 year old Southern Califonia house. Now there is news that he plans to bulldoze it and build a bigger home because "it doesn't meet our needs".

Out of touch with the common man, but running for president!

October 27, 2011 at 11:43 a.m.
fairmon said...

How can Obama not win. In addition to the dyed in the wool democrats he will carry most of those paying zero taxes and/or receiving an earned income credit. He will carry all minority votes, he will carry a majority of the college graduate females, he will carry the majority of union votes and wins with no less than 53%. His one trillion dollar campaign fund cannot be matched, not even close to it, by any candidate. The only person that could possibly cause him not to win is Obama.

November 15, 2011 at 7:37 a.m.
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