Home/Daniel Larison/Two of the “Main Contenders” in GOP Field Are Marginal Candidates

Two of the “Main Contenders” in GOP Field Are Marginal Candidates

Doug Mataconis looks at the new PPP poll from Iowa and asks:

Finally, if Palin doesn’t run what happens to her 15%?

The pollster has an answer for that one. PPP asked respondents which candidate they would support if Palin were not running, and this was the result:

Michele Bachmann 14%
…………………………………..
Herman Cain 16%
……………………………………………
Newt Gingrich 15%
………………………………………….
Jon Huntsman 1%
………………………………………….
Ron Paul 11%
…………………………………………………
Tim Pawlenty 10%
…………………………………………..
Mitt Romney 26%
…………………………………………….
Someone else/Undecided 8%

Comparing this against the poll that includes Palin, we see that her supporters split up among several candidates. Romney gains 5 points, Paul, Gingrich and Bachmann gain three points apiece, and Cain picks up one and moves narrowly into second place. Romney’s lead expands to ten points over the closest competitor instead of six with Palin in the race, and notably Pawlenty gains no advantage from Palin’s absence. Pawlenty continues to poll in next-to-last place and trails behind four candidates that are officially treated as marginal or “fringe” candidates. At what point are we going to start acknowledging that the national and local polls are telling us that it is Pawlenty and Huntsman that are the clearly marginal candidates, and Paul, Bachmann, Cain, and even the ridiculous Gingrich are the competitive ones?

Update: Andrew comments on the poll:

Poor Huntsman, easily the most promising of the candidates, gets 0 percent.

Granted, this is an Iowa poll, and Huntsman never expected to be competitive there, but Huntsman doesn’t deserve any sympathy for his weak showing in this or any other poll. Everyone except for his advisors has been saying that he had no chance whatever of competing in the 2012 nominating contest, and everyone except for Huntsman and his circle understood why he would go nowhere, but he is preparing to jump in anyway. Huntsman never had a constituency except for some admiring journalists, and he had to know that going to Beijing meant that his political future in the GOP was finished.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

leave a comment

Latest Articles