I don’t typically write much about US polls and elections, mostly because there are many American polling blogs that can do it far better and more thoroughly than I could ever hope to do. I did want to share the chart below though, from Mark Blumenthal’s Pollster (now part of Huffington Post), showing support for candidates in the Republican primary race so far.

The Republican Primary race has been a rather fascinating battle to be the “not-Romney” – Mitt Romney’s support has remained relatively consistent across the last six months, with various right-wing alternatives coming to the fray, consolidating the support of those Republicans who want someone other than Romney to be the candidate, before fading again. Looking at the graph above you can see Michelle Bachman peakig in July, before being overshadowed by Rick Perry’s entry to the race. Perry himself faded after poor performances in debates, to be replaced in turn by the pizza magnate Herman Cain. Cain peaked in October, but has started to fall since becoming embroiled in allegations of sexual harrassment.

The latest couple of polls show Newt Gingrich becoming the latest non-Romney – a poll from ORC has Gingrich at 22% to Romney’s 24% (with Cain down to 14%), PPP has Gingrich at 28% to Cain’s 25% and Romney’s 18%. Another seven November polls have shown Gingrich on the rise. It remains to be seen whether it will last, or whether he’ll crash and burn like all the other non-Romney’s before him.


243 Responses to “The Republican Primary Race”

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  1. @NickP

    ‘And come to think about it, the Lib Dems campaigned on slower cuts a la the darling plan, so in fact the country (being 29.7% plus 23.6% making a majority of voters) voted against upfront austerity as proposed by the Tories.’

    As I have clearly stated voters vote for a party that best represents the majority of a voter’s wishes and very unlikely to be all of their wishes. A vote is therefore itself a form of compromise at a GE. In a general election on a whole range of issues no party can rarely claim a mandate for any one single issue and certainly if they do not have over 50% of the vote. That certainty of mandate generally requires a single issue election or more commonly through a referendum. There is very clear polling evidence that a greater proportion of those polled accept the need for cuts and that includes a significant number of Lab voters. All major parties campaigned for cuts of various degrees and areas.

    I am glad you accept that Con were upfront about the austerity measures they thought necessary. IIRC a marked contrast to the Lab position of non specifics until after the GE. In fact many Lab even denied cuts would be necessary and it could all be achieved by a lot more borrowing and growth (you know – the boom bit of ‘boom and bust’).

  2. @FrankG,
    @NickP

    You said “…I understood that Labour offered AV without a referendum, plus a referendum for PR…”

    This urban myth is proving impossible to kill. It was certainly reported as such by the BBC at the time of the coalition negotiations (please don’t make me look it up). But since then, both Nick Clegg and (I think) Jack Straw denied (in an answer to a question in the HoC) that this occurred. Given that directly lying in the HoC is still seen as a BIG THING, I’m inclined to believe them when they say that the offer was never made.

    Regards, Martyn

  3. @Chouenlai

    Such comments may not help your party’s case. I am merely trying to correct what I consider are misinterpretations and incorrect analysis of facts by others in their posts. I try to do this in as non-partisan a way as possible. It tends to get your posts read and hopefully thought about. That the object of my posting on this site from far-away Cyprus.

  4. Amber,in all the faux rumpus about EMs conference speech,I seem to remember that he described Blair as a
    great man.Furthermore before the speech Nick Robinson
    had thrown down a sort of political gauntlet,by wondering
    if Blairs name would be mentioned.In the circumstances
    I think that EM was politically brave to do so.
    Mike,I agree,I do not think that people went to the polls in
    2010 to elect a coalition at all.Most people would have not
    been remotely aware that a hung parliament would result
    in a coalition,if they even understood what a hung parliament was in the first place.

  5. @RiN

    No intent of changing my background colour. I strayed from the flock, and do intend to vote Labour from now on, but do not consider myself a ‘supporter’.

  6. @Martyn,

    Thank you, please don’t bother to look it up, I am happy to withdraw that part of my analysis unreservedly. I have never believed that if any such offer had been made that it would have been anything more than “fanciful” as I think I described it.

    The figures and their analysis is my real objective. Unfortunately being in Cyprus, most information comes from this site and such programmes as the BBC. I have to make do with what is available, so applogies if I have been misled by incorrect BBC reports.

  7. @ANN IN WALES
    Sorry to touch a nerve, however, I do not accuse you of raising these hoary old chestnuts. However, whenever the conversation flags, we get the same old rubbish, listed above. My repeating myself occurs on one matter. A 7 point Labour lead tonight does not mean you have won the 2015 GE.

  8. @NickP

    “The Government just reduced the numbers of constituencies and the way they are formed without holding a referendum. Can’t get more (un)constitutional than that.”

    No Nick that is incorrect. Parliament has voted to have the various boundary commissions look at making the constituencies roughly of the same number of voters. The opportunity has also been taken to reduce the number of constituencies down to 600. Was that part of several parties’ wishes and manifestos? I don’t know for certain but I think reduction in the number of constituencies was.

    As for them being reduced and formed by the govt ie Con and LD, that is clearly not true! The boundary commissions (less Wales – still to produce its initial recommendations) have given their intiial recommendations in response to the conditions laid down in Parliament They (the boundary commisiions) are now at the consultative stage with parties and members of the public able to put alternative proposals/comments. That is democracy at work! When the boundary commissions have made their final recommendations, then Parliament will debate and vote on the various recommendations. That is the democratic way to do things. It is the way boundary changes have been done in the past. The boundary commission, I truely believe, is non-partisan and should never try to play party politics within their recommendations. That is why I grit my teeth when some posters on this site try to insinuate political motives to their reports. It is not up to the boundary commission to take account of the effect on individual parties that their proposals may be interpreted as having. Of course a really effcient party would try to ensure that in their submissions/comments on the initial proposals that they chose to advance alternative proposals that may “just be to their party’s advance electorally”. Remember that other parties can also comment on a party’s submissions/comments.

    So it is a totally ‘constitutional’ way of dealing with boundary changes and is designed to prevent the blatant ‘gerry-mandering’ that is prevalent elsewhere.

  9. The UK has no constitution therefore no law or change in the law can be unconstitutional

  10. No written constitution.

    I can’t see how you can argue that it’s okay to reduce the number of parliamentary seats without a referendum, but not to introduce AV.

    [Snip… mote and beam, mote and beam…. – AW]

  11. @Chouenlou

    Firstly I said your party’s ‘case’ not ’cause’. The difference is that the first requires the presentation of an argument based usually upon facts. The later is a personal commitment to a particular party or set of principles, it is about feelings and such like.

    As you quite correctly point out there are some posters on this site that obscure one with the other. If you reduce the power of your ‘case’ by introducing too much of the ’cause’ it lessens your argument. To those to whom you refer, it will not matter – they are happy with their prejudices – let them be. To those who you wish to convince or cause to think again by the power of your arguments, obscuring your arguments will not help.

    By the way I served 33 years in Royal Signals. I am in Cyprus because my wife is Cypriot and this is where her family come from and are today. The choice of country has nothing to do with a lack of passion for the UK and for England. I have plenty of both. Neither has it to do with the lovely island, plenty of sun and the local beer/brandy sours (hic!).

    “Of course if one is called upon to bear such tribulations for the sake of matrimonial harmony, then one must, with perhaps great reluctance and without any thought of personal gain, accept the heavy burden that living in Cyprus may impose.”

    To be said in the tone of a certain character from the last episode of “Yes Minister”. :-)

  12. @Rin NickP

    No *incorporated* written constitution. The UK has a constitution, the vast bulk of which is codified in written law, and who’s most recent additions are the ECHR.

  13. @ Chris Lane

    I meant the over-egging thing in the nicest, possible way. I hope it did make you LOL because you are one of the board’s more serious & considerate commentators.

    Regarding the Radio 5 broadcast; the media said it was jeering when TB’s name was mentioned but you heard cheering; And it wasn’t clear: were the audience cheering the mention of Tony’s name; or cheering Ed for saying he wasn’t TB. I was there; & I honestly couldn’t say for sure which it was!

    Neil Kinnock saying: “We’ve got our party back” was the 2010 conference when Ed was elected leader. And nobody knows for sure what this meant, either. I take it simply as Neil Kinnock having been an early backer of Ed when, quite frankly, it looked like Ed didn’t have a snowflake’s chance of winning.

    NK may simply have meant that Ed M is known to be a team player/ unifier who always worked across the Blair/ Brown divide. I like to think that NK believed Ed M was a leader who could bring the party back together.

    I’ve heard that TB is also on good terms with Ed M; apparently they call one another on a fairly regular basis.
    8-)

  14. @ Ann in Wales

    In all the faux rumpus about EMs conference speech,I seem to remember that he described Blair as a
    great man.
    ——————————–
    Thank you for reminding me, he did indeed say that.
    8-)

  15. @NickP

    ‘I can’t see how you can argue that it’s okay to reduce the number of parliamentary seats without a referendum, but not to introduce AV. Sounds completely abritary and entirely partial. Partisan, in fact.”

    IIRC in their various manifestos, Lab supported the introduction of AV, LDs supported PR and Cons supported continuing with FPTP. In their Coalition agreement Con and LD agreed there would be a referendum on AV. It was held and lost. It lost, in part, because Lab as a whole did not carry out its election manifesto commitment to AV. If both LDs and Lab had fully supported AV and their voters had loyally followed them then AV would have won. The procedures followed were the correct one for a referendum. You seem to forget that a referendum on the AV voting system was not in the Con manifesto. (IIRC reduction in the number of seats was (although I could be mistaken on that). The calling of the referendum was approved by Parliament. Parliament, not the Con/LD/Coalition party voted on the setting up of the referendum. Thant is the democratic way things are done.

    The terms of the boundary commission were laid down by Parliament, will be considered by the various boundary commissions and, after many more months to come of consultations, the final recommendations will be presented to Parliament for approval. Then and only then will the final recommendations be accepted or rejected by Parliament. Only if Parliament approves those final recommendations and it receives the Royal Assent does anything become law. That is the democratic way it should be done.

    You seem to be confusing the democratic process with want you personally want to be the final outcome. Of trying to change the democratic process when it seems your ‘selected process’ might not give the result you want. That would NOT be democracy as many would understand it.

  16. @ the typo police

    Apologies for any typos in my last few posts, too much typing and far too late. Zebedee time!

  17. @AMBER

    “Regarding the Radio 5 broadcast; the media said it was jeering when TB’s name was mentioned but you heard cheering; And it wasn’t clear: were the audience cheering the mention of Tony’s name; or cheering Ed for saying he wasn’t TB. I was there; & I honestly couldn’t say for sure which it was!

    Neil Kinnock saying: “We’ve got our party back” was the 2010 conference when Ed was elected leader. And nobody knows for sure what this meant, either. I take it simply as Neil Kinnock having been an early backer of Ed when, quite frankly, it looked like Ed didn’t have a snowflake’s chance of winning. ”

    I take both comments as ‘all things to all people’. Those that don’t like TB will like the comment, those that do, will like the ‘humility’. Kinnock’s comment leaves people feeling that whatever they thought was missing is not missing now.

    It’s all very imprecise and exactly what good politicians want to practice. :)

  18. Phil
    ‘Hello Henry.
    BTW I can see on reflection why you took offence to the way I phrased my point a couple of days ago and realise that I should have acknowledged that at the time.’

    Thanks Phil, I thought that your comment was made only in the heat of the moment, as generally you are very calm and sometimes quite witty.

  19. @ Richard W

    “Many thanks for your brilliantly clear explanantion of election donations.

    I like your theory for working out the next Russian leader!”

    You’re very welcome. I apologize for the extreme length of it which I imagine makes it dififcult to read but I’m glad it was clear. Hopefully, things are less confusing now.

    It’s not my theory for the Russian leaders actually, it’s the CIA’s and FBI’s. But it seems to have continued post Soviet Union:

    Czar Nicholas II: Hair
    Vladimir Lenin: Bald
    Joseph Stalin: Hair
    Nikita Kruschev: Bald
    Leonid Brezhnev: Hair
    Mikhail Gorbachev: Bald
    Boris Yeltsin: Hair
    Vladimir Putin: Balding
    Dmitri Medvedev: Hair

    I’m actually kinda sorry Putin is coming back as president of Russia. I kinda liked Medvedev. He was supposed to be Putin’s poodle but he actually had an independent streak and was relatively easy for us to get along with.

  20. @FrankG

    I think the problem with picking over all the micro-detail entrails of an opinion poll and then presenting selected items as if they were extracts from the Dead Sea Scrolls is that the bigger picture can be lost amidst the statistical jungle. That’s why I said in an earlier post that one of the problems with politics sometimes is that it seeks profundity and complexity where, quite often, none exists. Psephology, the bastard child of politics, can make pseudo-scientists of all of us sometimes and guessing what DKs’ voting intentions may or may not be, or which “home” voters will eventually return to, and what cross-break is significant and which isn’t, is the stuff of political astrology. It may soothe certain political biases in a self-serving way, but it’s quite often mumbo-jumbo. Why, we even had a discussion on these pages a few days ago about a Tory resurgence in Scotland based on a polling sub sample of 60 odd voters. Ludicrous stuff.

    What I was trying to do in an earlier post when looking at the current Lib Dem VI ratings in the polls is to establish what we clearly know, and that, essentially, is two things. Firstly, quite soon after the Coalition was formed a significant part of the Lib Dem vote collapsed and now stands at about a third of what it was at the last General Election. Secondly, at about the same time, Labour’s vote recovered swiftly from the May 2010 GE debacle, based largely on former Lib Dem voters transferring to them. Not a direct vote-for-vote correlation, but the two events were obviously closely related. What triggered the seismic shift? The formation of the coalition with the Conservatives.

    Another thing we may not know for sure but may be entitled to deduce is this. This sudden desertion and transfer of support wasn’t based on disappointment with the coalition’s economic policy and performance, therefore potentially reversible if they eventually succeeded, it was triggered by the very creation of the coalition with the Conservatives. Therefore, it would be fair to surmise that it is support not likely to be easily or capriciously regained. It is very likely to be a long lasting disillusionment, I think

  21. FRANKG

    You raise an interesting idea – tha parties that do not form governments should still be expected to carry through on their manifesto. To my mind this doesn’t make a lot of sense – opposition parties by definition are not in control of events. Given the coalition’s decision to offer an AV referendum whilst allowing the coalition partners to campaign on different sides (not to mention tying it in Parliament to the reduction of seats), it was perfectly reasonable for Labour to allow its MPs to campaign as they individually saw fit.

    As for the idea that Labour supporters should automatically fall in line with their leadership…

  22. Frank G

    AV was rejected by referendum, not by Labour.

    It’s the reduction in the number of parliamentary seats I object to (reducing representation and unbalancing parliament) not the boundary commission’s work.

    Why not have a referendum on the reduction of seats? It will have a lot more effect on our constitution than AV (which would have changed hardly anything at all).

  23. Yes, crossbatti

    That part of the Lib Dem vote that is anti-Tory will not return to the Lib Dems for the forseeable future.

    It’s possible that they will have lost some to the Tories too, as anti-Labour-ites think they might as well go the whole hog.

    I don’t think we’ll see a recovery of the Lib Dem vote in a hurry.

  24. Ann (In Wales)
    ‘In all the faux rumpus about EMs conference speech,I seem to remember that he described Blair as a great man.’

    You are absolutely right and I am sure the EM meant his words with full sincerity. Blair had his faults but I think many politicians, on all sides, greatly admired his political mastery. Personally I preferred Harold Wilson as although I did not share his politics, I loved his sense of humour.

    Even so, it was clear to me that Blair was disliked by certain party members who jeered him. There were probably only a few and I thought EM, was embarrassed and this affected his speech for a few seconds.

    It is not anything I felt strongly about, and hope I have not upset you or Amberstar.

  25. NickP
    ‘That part of the Lib Dem vote that is anti-Tory will not return to the Lib Dems for the forseeable future.
    It’s possible that they will have lost some to the Tories too, as anti-Labour-ites think they might as well go the whole hog.
    I don’t think we’ll see a recovery of the Lib Dem vote in a hurry.’

    The Liberals suffered in 1979 receiving about 13.8 % of the vote and winning 11 seats, partly due to their backing Labour.

    While YouGov’s poll showed a mere 7%, I think that it will bounce back a point or two, and a number of polls show LDs considerably higher. In addition the LDs have being doing well in byelections since early September. So I believe that it is quite possible for the LDs to regain quite a bit of its lost support.

    However we have benefitted for many years from the protest vote. Naturally we can not expect to receive this when sharing Govt.

  26. @ Bill Patrick

    “If Obama wins, he will have made history as a president who had 50%+ disapproval going into his final year and still won re-election. In other words, it would mean that most Americans think he’s a bad president, but that the alternative would suck even more.”

    I don’t think that’s quite true. Obama still has high favorability ratings and those actually kick up his approval ratings, which are higher than any president with this level of unemployment. What’s problematic for Obama is that he and the Democratic Party did NOT win on all the hope, change bs rhetoric. They won because of the bad economy and they were given a mandate to fix it. They failed to do so. Whether right or wrong, the guy who is in charge is the one who takes the blame and that’s Obama.

    Obama though is perhaps the luckiest man in politics. He’s geting a second chance (his approval ratings have been moving up of late) because his opponents are so bad. There is also evidence of economic growth and job growth that will help him.

    But let me point that a year in politics is a lifetime. We don’t know what Obama’s approval ratings will be a year from now. We don’t know what the economy will be like.

    “For the Republicans, this election is really a decision of win incorrectly vs. lose correctly. Do they put forward Gingrich or Cain (or even Santorum, if Gingrich implodes) and lose with a candidate that they like? Or do they put forward Mitt Romney, whom most of them dislike yet would stand a very very good shot of winning?”

    I don’t think Romney has that good of a shot at winning though he’s certainly the strongest of all the GOP candidates. Working class, blue collar, white, labor union voters are going to come out in droves to vote against Romney. Those are the very voters who are unhappy with Obama but would know that the alternative is worse. Romney’s stance on the Ohio collective bargaining initiative is going to kill him.

    “(The only people to have posted higher leads over Obama than Romney- including his most recent 4% lead- are people who aren’t running, like Mike Huckabee, Rudy Giuliani, Bill Gates and David Petraeus.)

    Interestingly enough, Jon Huntsman is the only candidate to have driven Obama’s VI below 40% in a poll: Obama got 39% to Huntsman’s 32%. While Huntsman won’t win, it does indicate that- given the choice between a moderate Republican that they don’t know and Obama- a lot of Americans aren’t sure which way to go. Make of that what you will; I just think it indicates that most Americans just plain don’t think Obama is a good president, however much they dislike the Tea Party types.”

    Well David Petraeus is a major admirer of Obama and an independent so he’s unlikely to run against him on the GOP ticket. Bill Gates is a Democrat. Giuliani and Huckabee are strong GOP candidates but with major achilles heels.

    Now as for Jon Huntsman, he IS a strong candidate against Obama, perhaps the STRONGEST candidate. He could beat Obama, perhaps decisively. But he’ll never get the nomination precisely because his swing to the left. There’s actually photo out there of him embracing Jim Murphy (there is no way in this day and age that a Republican can be seen cavorting with a Socialist and expect to get the Presidential nomination!). :)

  27. I think that the reports of the death of the libdems might be exaggerated, although personally I fear they are correct. But after the lib/lab pact it took only two years for the lib VI to recover, it could well be that during the next labour govt that the libdems stage a revival although some of the more Lefty voters will be gone for good. Also if the next govt should be a pure Tory one then I would expect a large shift from them to us.

    But personally I’m not hopeful, my belief is that we have made some very bad errors and that the blues are as intent on our destruction as the reds

  28. @ Bill Patrick

    One other thing I forgot to mention. There’s some recent polling showing Obama either moving into a tie with or a lead against “Generic Republican.” He has trailed “Generic Republican” for much of his presidency. And actually, throughout 2004 and late 2003, “Generic Democrat” always led Dubya. This is because whoever “Generic Republican” or “Generic Democrat” is can be whoever we’d like to think would make a better president who’s flawless.

    I like to think we pick British political leaders to fill in for our generic candidates. “Generic Democrat” is always Tony Blair while “Generic Republican” is now David Cameron. Of course, there’s a point here. Neither Blair nor Cameron can and will never run for president and thus the numbers of “generic” just show some weakness of the incumbent president. Obama’s recent uptick against “Generic Republican” shows three things: (1) Obama is stronger than conventional wisdom tells us, (2) Obama is starting to strengthen himself, and (3) the Republican brand is still toxic and getting worse.

  29. RinN
    ‘But personally I’m not hopeful, my belief is that we have made some very bad errors and that the blues are as intent on our destruction as the reds.’

    All I can say is I hope you are wrong. The general public are not looking our way at the moment, but they will turn.

  30. @ Richard in Norway

    “R Paul is in a four way tie in the Iowa polls, he is very much still in the race but he can’t possibly win. Which is a shame because he would be the best president for us but probably not for the American public. Although I think a R Paul presidency and a strong democrat congress would be interesting.”

    That is VERY surprising because the Iowa Republican caucus going base tends to be dominated by Christian fundamentalists. And Christian fundamentalists are NOT Libertarian. I don’t think Ron Paul will ever be president. And I’m not sure Ron Paul would be a good president for the rest of the world. Nor would Romney for that matter. Because they want an acceleration of foreclosures and the government to step aside and let the housing crisis get worse. The worse that gets, the worse our economy gets, and the worse off all other economies are including Europe’s.

    Btw, were you satisfied with my explanation of political donations?

    The money raised and spent by PACs is a serious problem that we need to do something about. The good news is that these groups cannot coordinate with political campaigns. Campaigns often rely on strict messaging in order to be successful. When you have people spending billions on your behalf but you can’t control what they’re saying about you or your opponent, you run the risk of having a very confused campaign.

    Also, with self-funders, I’ve seen a number of candidates over the years who were megabucks millionaires spend and blanket the airwaves and still lose handily (mainly because the public kinda got sick of all the ads).

  31. @ Henry

    “All I can say is I hope you are wrong. The general public are not looking our way at the moment, but they will turn.”

    If the election was coming up in a few months, you guys might very well get destroyed.

    But it’s not and it’s likely going to come in a few years. Things can change and change rather dramatically in politics.

  32. AMBER STAR.
    Thank you for your words. I think I heard that the ‘Party’ cheering when ED said: I’m not Tony Blair.
    I am glad ED talks to TB.

    JAY BLANC.
    You say you are back in the fold. A biblical reference or three come to mind about Shepherds etc!

    (I know where I am tribally/historically but Gove is on to something very big, I think, and so is IDS)

    On the BBC a key employers’ spokesman has pointed out that 40% of school leavers are below the basic level of educational requirements after 11 years of education= 5 GCSE Grade C including Maths and English)
    (These grades are now criterion referenced, not norm referenced as in the days of O Level)

    CONSTITUTION.
    I try to drum into my Politics Students that the UK
    i. Has no CODIFIED Constitution.
    ii. Has A PARTLY WRITTEN Constitution= Statutes and Works of Authority.
    iii. Is becoming de facto Codified with entrenched laws on Devolution, the EU and the HRA.

  33. So cal

    Yes I was satisfied, I understand a bit more now. So the swift boat ads against Kerry and the new Karl rove attack ads against Elizabeth warren are funded by independent campaigns. I see that lizzy has become the number one Target of the right wing, its a shame she is not running for pres

  34. @FrankG

    After RiN pointed out that my number of 180billion USD may be wrong for the Greek debt writeoff (he points out it’s nearer 50billion EUR – he may be right but dammit Jim, I have to check… :-) ) I have to look it up just to reassure myself I can still get things right.

    The BBC report that said Labour offered AV without referendum and PR with a referendum is here: h ttp://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/election_2010/8644480.stm

    Other than my memory, I can’t track down the written answer and I may have gotten it confused with the PCRC. But I have found the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee report that says “Er, no, they didn’t offer it. Ooops”. It’s the (deep breath) “House of Commons, Political and Constitutional Reform Committee, ‘Lessons from the
    process of Government formation after the 2010 General Election’, Fourth Report of Session 2010–11”, and you can find the relevant parts in an exchange between Chope and Laws on “Page Ev 8 Political and Constitutional Reform Committee: Evidence, Questions Q24, Q25, Q26, and Q27” at this link: h ttp://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmselect/cmpolcon/528/528.pdf

    So there y’go. I was right. Yay!

    Reagrds, Martyn

  35. So cal

    I was thinking more about R Paul’s retreat from empire foreign policy and his resolute rejection of torture when I said he would be the best pres for us. As far as I know he wants the banks to eat their losses on home loans even if it kills them and I presume that he would be keen to see the law followed to the letter in the foreclosure process which would mean many procedures failing. But I must admit I have gone off him since I saw a vid with him criticizing Mrs warren.

  36. Henry,you are obviously such a nice person that it would be very difficult for you to offend anyone.Be assured that
    you have most definately not offended me.
    Roland,I am pleased that our entente cordiale is still in
    effect.About 2015, who knows ?

  37. Soccalliberal,

    Like you say, Obama is unpopular (mainly for his economic record) but most of his possible opponents are even more unpopular.

    I agree that Jon Huntsman is a strong candidate. While I think that Romney stands a good chance of beating Obama if he gets the nomination, I think Huntsman would not only be a more effective candidate (the Republicans will vote against Obama regardless and Huntsman could win over a lot of independents) but could also be a great president. Sadly, the best hope for such an option is that (a) Gingrich wins the nomination and (b) Gingrich beats Obama and (c) Gingrich picks Huntsman as VP. (a) is quite likely; (b) is conceivable but unlikely; (c) is also conceivable but unlikely if Marco Rubio (the obvious Republican VP candidate in 2012) gets the nod.

    I shall say this: out of all the crazies running for the R. nomination this time around, Gingrich would be one of the least disastrous ones. He’s a smart guy, he’s capable of working with Democrats and he has a lot of experience. I’d much rather see Romney win, however, if they were the only alternatives to Obama.

    Obama’s key asset, however, is not the toxicity of the Republicans (which won’t work very well against someone like Romney anyway). It’s his huge wad of cash.

    I think the reasonable non-partisan view of Obama’s situation right now is that he’s down, but not out. The Republicans can still fail to land the killing blow if they run just about anyone but Romney. (I wouldn’t rule out Santorum either or Gingrich if the next year is REALLY bad for Obama.)

    I do know one thing: whoever wins the nod will get four years of friendliness from the Fed. They’ve had to be a bit chilly now that the presidential race is approaching (QE during a race would look very bad) but come 2013 they’ll “suddenly notice” that the US’s intra-cycle inflation is at about 1% per annum and unemployment is about double their target.

  38. @Crossbat11

    “I think the problem with picking over all the micro-detail entrails of an opinion poll etc. ”

    Thanks for the reply, ‘zebedee time’ meant off to bed (as in magic roundabout, bong said Zebedee – Its time for bed), so apologies for only replying now.

    I would have no problems in virtually every bit of your post, very sensible and quite logical. That is why I concentrated on those former LD2010 voters who had not opted for any party and were shown as mainly DKs with a few WNVs. Those are the far more likely to return to LD. The problem with YouGov is that they do not take into try to squeeze this considerable % when the VI figures are calculated. To have 31% of former voters no longer openly supportive of the party they voted for at the last GE is both significant and unusual.

    Too often some posters use the YouGov headline figures as some sort of gospel and ignore the huge numbers of former LDs that are confused and unsure at the moment.

  39. @The Sheep

    ‘that parties that do not form governments should still be expected to carry through on their manifesto.’

    I hope I did not say that at all. Parties that lose an election should try to find out why and then see if changes to their policies and manifesto are appropriate. What irritates me is a party that castigates another party for having to accept amendments to an election manifesto because of changed circumstances or the need for a stable coalition. Then that same party fails to support a policy that was in their own manifesto.

    I think it was a very reasonable and prudent idea for Lab MPs to be able to campaign on the AV referendum for either Yes or No. It saved the a very public split in the party, as I agree was also prevalent to a much lesser degree in Con and even in LD. However neither Con nor LD had AV in their manifesto, Lab did – that is the interesting point. Yet when a Lab manifesto policy was offered as a referendum item by the Coalition, Lab found it could not fully support it

    The AV referendum had nothing to do with the reduction of seats and nothing to do with trying to make each constituency roughly of the same number of voters on the electoral roll. You are very much mistaken if you think they are related to or inter-dependent on the AV Referendum. You could argue that a referendum on PR would drastically affect constituency numbers and boundaries. But AV – No.

  40. @Henry

    “While YouGov’s poll showed a mere 7%, I think that it will bounce back a point or two, and a number of polls show LDs considerably higher. In addition the LDs have being doing well in byelections since early September. So I believe that it is quite possible for the LDs to regain quite a bit of its lost support.”

    YouGov’s polls do not take into account those former LD voters who are currently undecided or thinking of not voting. Currently that is 31% of the GE2010 LD vote and amounts to over 7% of the national vote. These lost voters have not joined other parties, they are waiting to see how things turn out. IMO many will return to LD. If only 2/rds return then that is equivalent to over 4% nationally. IMO the ‘Lab tactical voters’, the ‘Anything but Lab’ and the ‘Anything but Con’ parts of the LD vote have already left.

  41. @Martyn

    Thanks for that splendid bit of detective work. I was very happy to concede your point anyway, as my earlier reply indicated.

    Thanks for taking the bother to verify your sources.

  42. @FrankG

    You’re welcome

    Regards, Martyn

  43. I can’t see Romney surviving the Primaries, 2008 suggested he was a weak campaigner, but this race is proving it. I am of the belief that Gingrich will get the nomination; he may have his problems, but he seems to be palatable enough for the people who really really don’t like Romney.

    How do I get the party affiliation logo in the corner, BTW?

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