Saturday, September 24, 2011

Fallout from the Republican Debate

On Thursday, September 22, the Republicans held a debate in Orlando, Florida.  All attention was focused on Mitt Romney and Rick Perry, the two men who, according to the major organs of state power (the mainstream media), are the front runners for the Republican nomination.  While there were a few notable moments, the debate was largely an unqualified yawn; the night was mostly comprised of rehashed debating points and soundbites from previously debates.

Both Romney and Perry did, however, haggle over the issue of Social Security--a program that has remained on the debating platform since, at least, the '64 Johnson-Goldwater race.  Candidates--specifically Republican candidates--love to capitalize on this social program and have been doing it for decades.

Over the last two days, media outlets have been noting that Perry has, apparently, slipped in the polls; he had previously enjoyed a comfortable lead over Romney.  Various reporting agencies have maintained that Romney is closer to Perry than before the debate.  Yahoo, for example, published a story on how even Herman Cain has enjoyed a surge in popularity and support since Perry's poor debating performance.  The consensus seems to be that Perry was not on his A-game during Thursday's debate, and his less than stellar performance is reflected in the most recent batch of polling results.  To be sure, it is much too soon to declare Perry's demise or to herald Romney's ascension.

In the Florida straw poll, Cain secured 37.1%, while Perry captured 15.4% and Romney obtained 14%; these results definitely show a narrowing of Perry's lead over Romney.  Interestingly, Rick Santorum came in with 10.88%--a surprising performance.

I'm fascinated by the media's apparent interest in Herman Cain.  This "interest" surely predates Cain's performance in the Florida straw poll.  What accounts for it?  Inquiring minds want to know ...

Yahoo, in publishing an AP story, reported on Saturday that Perry was busy in Florida and Michigan attempting to demonstrate that he is the strongest of the Republican candidates.  If Perry manages to pass the Conservative "litmus test" (and secures the GOP nomination), how will he successfully court moderates and liberals?  In other words, how will he build a winning "coalition" of supporters?  His record in Texas surely leaves much to be desired--for both conservative and liberals, not to mention moderates.  What is his strategy?

On Friday, Rasmussen released a poll that showed Romney leading in New Hampshire, followed by Perry and then Paul--yes, that Paul ... nice that they aren't ignoring him for once.  Romney is said to have  39% "of likely New Hampshire primary voters"--amounting to a comfortable lead.  Performing well in New Hampshire is always important during the primary season.  It'll be interesting to see how Romney ultimately performs in New Hampshire.

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