Polling Data Probed

 

A number of those who have commented on various posts have mentioned the OBOPE Zogby Poll released on Thursday, which showed Herman Cain surging to 38%. I found it interesting for other reasons as well.

As you will see if you click on the link, the sampling took place on 30 June, 11 and 25 July, 29 August, 12 and 26 September, and 5 October. Mitt Romney started out with the support of 14% of the prospective Republican primary voters polled, rose to 17%, dropped to 12% when Rick Perry entered the race, and rose again to 18% when Perry proved to be tongue-tied. Ron Paul has been steady throughout with support varying from 11 to 13%. Newt Gingrich has ranged from 2 to 6%. Rick Santorum started out with 7%, dropped to 3%, rose to 5%, has fallen steadily in recent weeks, and now commands the support of 1% of the prospective primary voters. Jon Huntsman’s support is steady. He has support from about 4% of those polled. And Gary Johnson has run the gamut from 1% to 1%.

There are three dramatic stories evident in the data.

Back in June Michele Bachmann had the support of 34% of those polled. Since then, she has lost ground steadily, and she now commands the support of 3% of the prospective primary voters. Her support dropped like a stone when Rick Perry entered the race, but it did not recover when she savaged him in the debates. She, in fact, appears to have done herself as much damage as she did the frontrunner at that time, and the same may be true for Santorum.

When Rick Perry entered the race, his support surged to 41% almost immediately. At the same time, support Romney fell 5%; for Cain, 10%; for Bachmann, 16%; for Santorum, 2%; and for Not Sure, 7%. Briefly, until he stumbled in the debates, Perry took the wind out of nearly everone’s sails (Ron Paul being the exception).

Then, Perry committed hari kari on national television three times in a row, and Herman Cain jumped from 12% to 28% to 38%.

To make sense of this data, we have to ask what Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and Herman Cain have in common. The answer is, I think, twofold.

First, they are not libertarian utopians – like Ron Paul and Gary Johnson – persuaded that, if we were to cut our defense appropriations in half, adopt a posture of isolationism, legalize marijuana, and puff many a magic drag in, all would be well, everyone would be mellow, peace would break out, and we would henceforth be unmolested.

And, second, not one of the three is the proud father of the individual mandate that lies at the heart of Romneycare (and, of course, Obamacare). Moreover, none of them is a Republican Al Gore intent on proceeding down the well-worn path towards Reinventing Government on the presumption that, if the fat is eliminated and government is made more efficient, all will be well.

All three are, in fact, constitutional conservatives – dedicated to restoring limited government in this country.

Here is the upshot. There is within the Republican Party a very large floating constituency of constitutional conservatives – some 34 to 41% of the prospective primary voters – and they are desperately looking for a plausible conservative candidate. And to this number, one can, I suspect, add the remaining support of Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and Rick Santorum: another 16% of the prospective primary voters.

I would like to think that Herman Cain can prosper where Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum have foundered. But, of course, if wishes were horses, beggars like me would ride. I suspect that Bachmann and Santorum – the Republican ankle-biters – will take him down in the next debate. Watch them. I guarantee that they will try. Neither of them can stomach the possibility that someone else might emerge as the champion of the constitutional conservative cause.

I am left with a question. Is it not odd that, in a time when the country is increasingly open to the suggestion that the administrative entitlements state is on its last legs and that the moment has come for rolling back its encroachment on the prerogatives of the states and the rights of individuals, there is not one seasoned Republican officeholder capable of articulating the argument for limited government who is willing to step forward, shoulder the burden, seize the opportunity, and take the bull by the horns. What has this country become? Greatness beckons, and no one genuinely qualified rises to the occasion!

Paul Ryan! Mitch Daniels! Your phones are still ringing. If you do not answer, I am virtually certain that we will be left with the last man standing – and given the intensity of Republican dissatisfaction with that option, I would not be surprised were he to lose in November, 2012.

Is there anyone apart, from his co-religionists, thrilled at the prospect that Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee? When members of Ricochet say that they would vote for a syphilitic camel over Barack Obama, do they not have Romney in mind? Come November, 2012, how many of our fellow Americans will be willing to swallow a syphilitic camel in a good cause?

I, for one, will be willing – but I shudder to contemplate the consequences.

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  1. Profile Photo Inactive
    @JohnMarzan

    If i were obama, i’d secretly fund an anti-mormon candidate tea party type candidate who is “pro reagan”. it’s probably take 2 or 3% pts off romney without hurting obama.

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    @JohnMarzan

    if rick perry wants to make a comeback, he needs to stop focusing on romney.

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    @JohnMarzan

    if romney wins over cain without resorting to any dirty tricks or low blows ala bachmann vs perry on HPV, fair and square he should be accepted.

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    @LarryKoler
    Scott Reusser: I’ll vote for Cain, certainly, against Obama, but the damage his 9-9-9 plan would do by creating the infrastructure for a national sales tax — while maintaining the income tax — would be immeasurable. 9-9-9 would soon enough become 11-13-12, or 15-14-17, or whatever.

    Fortunately, it’s a moot point, since it would never pass. It serves only to hamper his election prospects, which indicates he’s not nearly as savvy a candidate as some think. · Oct 8 at 8:17pm

    Yes, I must say that the precedent of a national sales tax — based on all the history we can look at — seems to be a bad idea. 9-9-9 just simply can’t be believed to stay there. Unless it was done in an amendment to the Constitution. Oh, how I wish they had limited the income tax when it was instituted.

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    @user_83937

    Prof. Rahe, I suspect you overestimate the enthusiasm of his coreligionists for Romney. Those I know and know of are not particularly fond of his situational adjustments in core principles. His real coreligionists are the statists and they would be thrilled if he was the nominee!

    As for Cain’s 9-9-9, like anything else it can be assessed and critqued, but that should only be done in the context of its actual assumptions. Too often, people first change the assumptions, then singe the straw man of their own construction. As proposed, 9-9-9 would require the vote of a 2/3rds majority in the Senate to change the numbers, a very high threshhold indeed. To anticipate an elevation to 17-17-17, or whatever, is to anticipate something that is almost certainly precluded in the actual proposed legislation.

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    @PaulARahe

    For the record, I mention the enthusiasm of Romney’s co-religionists only because I remember 1960 when John F. Kennedy lost some Democratic strongholds and gained some Republican strongholds because of his religion. It was a very big deal for American Catholics to have a Catholic President (and a trial for American Protestants of the same stripe as the anti-Mormon bigots today). It meant that we Catholics were really Americans.

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    @LarryKoler

    Another anti-Romney screed? Paul, get off it.

    Your idea that we need a “seasoned Republican officeholder” might be the problem here. Ryan and Daniels are not going to be talked into running — and these are the only two that I would characterize along with you that the “seasoning” isn’t basically the problem.

    I really do think that some of the libertarians among us have it right in one aspect: there is something wrong with the Republican “seasoned officeholders”: they can’t seem to find a way out of this thicket. They really don’t have any vision sufficient to guide them.

    I have thought for some time that we need fresh blood in the system. Herman Cain might be the one.

    McCain in the Celtic languages means “son of Cain.” Well, he didn’t make it — so how about Daddy then?

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    @DavidWilliamson
    Paul A. Rahe:

    I would like to think that Herman Cain can prosper where Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum have foundered. But, of course, if wishes were horses, beggars like me would ride. I suspect that Bachmann and Santorum – the Republican ankle-biters – will take him down in the next debate. Watch them. I guarantee that they will try.

    I would also like to see Mr Cain prosper – I think he is just getting into his stride, from that moment in the last debate when he spoke about his overcoming cancer.

    Compared to that battle, he will have no problem with Mrs Bachmann and Mr Santorum, and he will eat the mainstream media’s lunch.

    Then on to Mr Obama, who will collapse at the debates.

    I especially liked when Mr Cain said he is doing this for his grandchildren – what a contrast with Mr Ryan, who never had that drive to become President and save the country for his kids.

    I’m beginning to think this is all gonna work out fine.

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    @TeamAmerica

    Paul A Rahe-“Is it not odd that,…there is not one seasoned Republican officeholder capable of articulating the argument for limited government who is willing to step forward, shoulder the burden, seize the opportunity, and take the bull by the horns. What has this country become? Greatness beckons, and no one genuinely qualified rises to the occasion!”

    Yes, it’s very strange and disheartening. When JFK was asked why he was running, I vaguely recall he hemmed and hawed and implicitly admitted it was ambition.

    The motto of Britain’s Special Forces is roughly, ‘Those who dare, win,’ and the Clinton’s, for all their faults, were willing to take the risk and run when most Dems would not, fearing a victorious post-Gulf War1 Bush was undefeatable.

    Now, confronted with an increasingly unpopular, hapless president with an evidently chronically high level of unemployment, most Republican leaders are too timid or lacking in ambition or a sense of duty to even try.

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    @DavidWilliamson
    TeamAmerica:

    The motto of Britain’s Special Forces is roughly, ‘Those who dare, win,’

    Who dares wins – that’s Mr Cain :-)

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    @TeamAmerica

    David Williamson

    TeamAmerica:

    The motto of Britain’s Special Forces is roughly, ‘Those who dare, win,’

    Who dares wins – that’s Mr Cain :-)

    Thank you

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    @DavidJohn
    Paul A. Rahe: libertarian utopians – like Ron Paul and Gary Johnson – persuaded that, if we were to cut our defense appropriations in half, adopt a posture of isolationism, legalize marijuana, and puff many a magic drag in, all would be well, everyone would be mellow, peace would break out, and we would henceforth be unmolested.

    Please, Mr Rahe. Most of us support Ron Paul on principles. We are not puffing magic dragons.

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    @michaelkelley

    “Is it not odd that, in a time when the country is increasingly open to the suggestion that the administrative entitlements state is on its last legs and that the moment has come for rolling back its encroachment on the prerogatives of the states and the rights of individuals, there is not one seasoned Republican officeholder capable of articulating the argument for limited government who is willing to step forward, shoulder the burden, seize the opportunity, and take the bull by the horns.”

    Unfortunately, it is not odd. The movement has been decades and generations in the making. Its tacit assumption to power has been nourished by the basic insecurity experienced by a free person in a dangerous world and now, it is, for many, the only assumption.

    “It is disquieting to see in England and the United States today the same drawing together of forces and nearly the same contempt of all that is liberal in the old sense. “Conservative socialism”was the slogan under which a large number of writers prepared the atmosphere in which National Socialism succeeded. It is “conservative socialism” which is the dominant trend among us now.” The Road to Serfdom.

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    @ScottR

    Paul Ryan is absolutely the best of the best, BUT … some perspective is needed:

    Ryan was on board with Medicare Part D, the biggest expansion of the welfare state in two generations. He intends to use Part D as a model for reforming the rest of Medicare, while exempting current retirees and most Boomers from sacrifice — which indicates that his intention, much like Romney’s and all other mainstream Republicans’, is not to undo the welfare state, but to manage it, yes manage it, in order to make it solvent. And good for Ryan — because, being a reasonable man, he understands that reality is a drag, but it’s reality nonetheless.

    With much respect, Prof. Rahe, you grossly over-state the differences between whatever legislation any of these candidates could manage to coax a half dozen or so Dem senators to sign on to. We’re all Burke-ians now — by necessity.

    And a “syphilitic camel”? Must we always be in the presence of either Christ or Satan?

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    @TerrellDavid

    Cain, it seems, has a relationship with the Republican Party like Reagan.

    Cain is not one of them, but they like him. They don’t agree with him on quite a bit.

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    @liberaljim

    Assuming Cain does not get the nomination this will make 5 presidential elections that similar scenarios have played out. The next in line gets the nod and the next in line is rarely a constitutional conservative. In my view Cain would make a better President than any of the last four, seasoned Republican office holder or not, but it will be at least another cycle until the Republican Party starts taking constitutional conservatism seriously. Romney will be a Bush redo or worse and won’t get my vote.

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    @JoeFremeau
    there is not one seasoned Republican officeholder capable of articulating the argument for limited government who is willing to step forward, shoulder the burden, seize the opportunity, and take the bull by the horns. What has this country become?

    Can we optimistically hope that Paul Ryan, from his budget leadership position within a Congress of increased power, and with the full blessing of Speaker Boehner, will fill this role from his current position? Because we need members of Congress to do that– without legislators who can “articulate the argument for limited government”, the Presidency wouldn’t mean squat.

    What we need to know (and this has been discussed on Ricochet before) is if Romney is willing to allow Congress to take the lead in designing national policy on entitlements going forward. This is a crucial question. I am wary of conservatives who buy into the cult of the Presidency, looking for the one person who will single-handedly seize the wheel and direct the country in the right direction. I would much rather find a competent administrator to lead the Executive branch, and allow the Legislature to rise to its Constitutional role.

    We need to learn if Romney is that.

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    @rayconandlindacon
    Scott Reusser: I’ll vote for Cain, certainly, against Obama, but the damage his 9-9-9 plan would do by creating the infrastructure for a national sales tax — while maintaining the income tax — would be immeasurable. 9-9-9 would soon enough become 11-13-12, or 15-14-17, or whatever.

    Fortunately, it’s a moot point, since it would never pass. It serves only to hamper his election prospects, which indicates he’s not nearly as savvy a candidate as some think. · Oct 8 at 8:17pm

    Implicit in the 9-9-9 proposition is the repeal of the 16th Amendment, otherwise, no deal. I entirely agree with your concern.

    Any Ricochetiers have an authoritative answer to this very real and overriding concern?????

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    @CharlesGordon
    Joe Fremeau

    there is not one seasoned Republican officeholder capable of articulating the argument for limited government who is willing to step forward, shoulder the burden, seize the opportunity, and take the bull by the horns. What has this country become?

    […] I would much rather find a competent administrator to lead the Executive branch, and allow the Legislature to rise to its Constitutional role.

    We need to learn if Romney is that. · Oct 8 at 6:57pm

    With due deference to WFB and his suggestion for choosing whom he should sooner live in a society governed by: Romney, meet Boston telephone directory.

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    @RPD

    I couldn’t in good conscience vote for Romney either, however I can choke down the bile and vote against Mr Obama as I did with McCain before him.

    On Cain, I wonder if there are any significant numbers of voters who are opposed to Obama, but want to cast ‘we’re-not-racist-either’ votes?

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    @liberaljim
    raycon

    Scott Reusser:

    Implicit in the 9-9-9 proposition is the repeal of the 16th Amendment, otherwise, no deal. I entirely agree with your concern.

    Any Ricochetiers have an authoritative answer to this very real and overriding concern????? · Oct 9 at 7:14am

    Cain proposes a 2/3 vote requirement to change the numbers, I assume he will also require a 2/3 vote to change the 2/3 vote requirement. He advocates a repeal of the 16th before going to an all sales tax, but correctly notes this would be at best a 3-4 year process and therefore the 999 plan as a transition.

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    @rayconandlindacon

    From an earlier post:

    “…Cain is proving to be a surprisingly popular conservative personality. Will he make it? Don’t know, but without Palin on the ballot, Cain (not the Mc version) is my choice.

    As for the Romney/Perry/others establishment GOP hacks… if I hold my nose for one more election I will be clinically dead, so for the sake of my wife’s future, I will not take the risk.”

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    @Illiniguy

    The 9-9-9 plan has an income tax component, thus it’s necessary to keep the 16th amendment intact. If the Fair Tax is ever enacted, that’s when the income tax and the 16th amendment are abolished. There’s a super-majority requirement in the 9-9-9 plan for raising rates.

    We gripe and moan about how Mitt Romney is running as someone who doesn’t have particular problems with current programs, only that he can administer them more efficiently. We gnash our teeth because we’re stuck with the prospect of having to choose between Tweedledee and Tweedledum, while at the same time we have a specific plan to at least begin turning around this leaky barge of a country in the form of Ryan Roadmap (which Herman Cain fully supports), and all we can do is wring our hands and cry “Woe is us!”

    If we as a nation aren’t willing to confront bold ideas, ideas which take us out of our comfort zone but which address today’s realities, then we deserve what we get.

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    @
    Paul A. Rahe: Come November, 2012, how many of our fellow Americans will be willing to swallow a syphilitic camel in a good cause?

    I, for one, will be willing – but I shudder to contemplate the consequences. ·

    I am also willing to swallow. I’m a conservative (economic and social) tea party member. I would prefer to see Cain as the nominee, especially with the right Vice Presidential candidate. Perry and Bachmann are both disappointments: Perry for his poor debate performances and Bachmann for thinking attacking Perry would make herself seem more palatable (just the opposite).

    Getting rid of Obama is the priority. While four years of Romney might not be ideal, what Obama could do to the country as a lame duck President is frightening. I live in California and work in Berkeley. Every day, I live what this country will become if Obama remains in office.

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    @ScottR

    I’ll vote for Cain, certainly, against Obama, but the damage his 9-9-9 plan would do by creating the infrastructure for a national sales tax — while maintaining the income tax — would be immeasurable. 9-9-9 would soon enough become 11-13-12, or 15-14-17, or whatever.

    Fortunately, it’s a moot point, since it would never pass. It serves only to hamper his election prospects, which indicates he’s not nearly as savvy a candidate as some think.

    • #25
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    @Illiniguy
    Paul A. Rahe: Is there anyone apart, from his co-religionists, thrilled at the prospect that Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee? When members of Ricochet say that they would vote for a syphilitic camel over Barack Obama, do they not have Romney in mind? Come November, 2012, how many of our fellow Americans will be willing to swallow a syphilitic camel in a good cause?

    I, for one, will be willing – but I shudder to contemplate the consequences. ·

    You might want to cut the hyperbole, it’s not becoming to either you or this conversation.

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    @ParisParamus

    I know, lets win an election by highlighting our like candidates weaknesses, as often as possible! Sounds like a winning strategy to me.

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    @ParisParamus

    Mr. Rahe, you might want to get over your fantasies of Presidential candidates who don’t exist, and will never exist. To paraphrase YOU, there are no conservative political utopias.

    • #28
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    @JamesGawron

    Paul your analysis (with data) is correct. Originally, before I became a Perry man I wanted Marco Rubio to run. Everyone descended upon me, agreeing that he was just great but that he was too young. I read Perry’s “Fed Up” and was convinced by his strong constitutional conservative principles coupled with a power pro business attitude. I am still a Perry man even after his inability to articulate. I call the Dream Act the “Nightmare Act”. I consider it the entitlement of illegals and thus poison both to the constitutional rule of law and fiscal conservatism. If Perry could differentiate what happened in Texas from the Dream Act he would still be viable. However, I never really agreed with those who thought Rubio was too young. If he would run I would support him in a Florida half hour (longer then a New York second but not that much longer).

    Keep the good analysis coming Mr. Rahe. We need to sort this thing out.

    • #29
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    @PaulARahe
    Joe Fremeau

    Can we optimistically hope that Paul Ryan, from his budget leadership position within a Congress of increased power, and with the full blessing of Speaker Boehner, will fill this role from his current position? Because we need members of Congress to do that– without legislators who can “articulate the argument for limited government”, the Presidency wouldn’t mean squat.

    What we need to know (and this has been discussed on Ricochet before) is if Romney is willing to allow Congress to take the lead in designing national policy on entitlements going forward. This is a crucial question. I am wary of conservatives who buy into the cult of the Presidency, looking for the one person who will single-handedly seize the wheel and direct the country in the right direction. I would much rather find a competent administrator to lead the Executive branch, and allow the Legislature to rise to its Constitutional role.

    We need to learn if Romney is that. · Oct 8 at 6:57pm

    The only President in my lifetime who let Congress take the lead was . . . Barack Obama.

    • #30
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