It's Just George
First Poll Following Debate

Zogby International came out with the first national poll about the Republican Primary following the GOP Debate on May 5th (Found above). Now it’s only one poll and it will be best to wait for a few more polls to come out following the announcements by Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney.

For 3 of the 5 candidates I would say I was very accurate, as Gary Johnson, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul did not gain any significant support.  I would actually say that Gary Johnson will probably have lost support to Ron Paul.

I figured Herman Cain would gain the most support from the debate and Pawlenty would inch his way to top tier status. I was semi-wrong about Cain and completely wrong about Pawlenty. Pawlenty having 4% of support following the debate can be seen as a missed opportunity with Romney and Gingrich starting to get more involved in their presidential campaigns.  Herman Cain went from an individual with no chance to having 14% support. I said he wouldn’t get over 10%, but obviously more people now feel an attachment to the conservative from Georgia.

The next GOP Debate is scheduled for June 13, 2011 in New Hampshire. It would hurt Romeny if he skipped out on this debate, so I expect him, Gingrich, and all the other major players to be involved. Herman Cain getting the “Huckabee Bounce” should now be considered a top tier candidate with Santorum and Gary Johnson being relegated to the background. Ron Paul will stay in, but I am starting to think Pawlenty will drop before the end of the year.

What debate were you watching? I would revamp this list with Pawlenty just above Santorum on the bottom. They were both repeating their social con talking points while preaching about how great it is to be a true American the entire time. Ron Paul wiped the floor with everyone else with his responses on foreign aid and drugs/gay marriage. Gary Johnson was a little eh, he got stupid questions (reality show? wtf?). Herman Cain probably did second best because he actually talked about the economy and he had clear succinct answers. But Ron Paul didn’t just look “crazy”, he had the whole crowd cheering on multiple occasions.

The ranking was not based on who won, but who helped themselves the most. Even with just 5 I wouldn’t take the chance of trying to decide who won due to my preconceived biases on certain issues. Pawlenty came off as presidential to the point you could see him as a secondary character in a film with a short scene with a president. Ron Paul supporters made up a loud minority of that crowd and from what I heard from people that were in attendance there it wasn’t even half the crowd that would cheer for Ron Paul. The focus group immediately after the debate proved that Ron Paul will not gain a significant amount of new supporters and I was actually shocked Herman Cain won people over that well. He has a minority of supporters that will lead him as far as he got in the 2008 election with money bombs and giving him an advantage when it comes to states that choose to caucus. I know a number of more traditional conservatives that are looking forward to seeing what Rand Paul may do in the future.  I think the polls among primary candidates will show Ron Paul stays even, Pawlenty gets a boost just below 10% as it was his first exposure for a lot of people, and Herman Cain will most likely see the biggest gain where he will end up just below Pawlenty.  Santorum and Gary Johnson will remain with 1% or less. I’m not suggesting Ron Paul shouldn’t gain more supporters, as I think he is good for the Republican party in order to have a different perspective on various issues.

The NIT of Debates

Tonight at 8:00 p.m. the first GOP Presidential Primary Debate will take place in South Carolina hosted by Fox News & the South Carolina GOP. The debate will consist of five candidates, but only one is considered a potential mainstream contender (Governor Tim Pawlenty).  The candidates participating today are:

1) Fmr. Governor Tim Pawlenty

2) Fmr. Governor Gary Johnson

3) U.S. Congressman Ron Paul

4) Fmr. Senator Rick Santorum

5) Herman Cain (CEO, Banking, Columnist, and Activist)

Most commentators have said this is Pawlenty’s debate to lose. He must present a personality that is more than just likable, but one that is also capable of exciting a base. Pawlenty benefits the most from the other top contenders being absent from this debate, so he can begin taking support from the likes of Huckabee and Romney.  This debate should lead to a boost in his name recognition and support. If he fails to reach double digits in polls after this debate then he should consider himself a mainstream darkhorse and hope his numbers can crawl up to a point where he benefits from others splitting votes in the primary.

Santorum and Cain will be battling for both name recognition and the support of the conservative base.  Cain will probably see the most benefits from this debate as his prior experience with banking and the private sector should lead to at least a slight boost in the polls. I would predict he gains the most Tea Party and conservative bases support following this debate. The candidacy of Santorum reminds me of Dan Quayle in 1999. Dan Quayle did have a supportive conservative base, but he was hampered by his time as Vice President. Santorum as an incumbent Senator running for reelection in 2006 lost by a staggering margin of 41% to 59%. He was in Congress (House/Senate) from 1991-2007, so he does have the advantage of saying that he has won a number of elections in the past. Cain lost the GOP nomination for senate in 2004 by garnering only 26% in that election.  The discussion of Donald Trump as a candidate does provide Cain the opportunity the chance to pull some votes from him as the candidate with major private sector experience.

Ron Paul vs. Gary Johnson

What has beens said in the past about Ron Paul still remains true today and he will see NO boost in the polls no matter how many money bombs there are for him. However, Gary Johnson has the opportunity to interest Ron Paul supporters behind his candidacy. Gary Johnson is essentially the “Legalize Marijuana” candidate, but there is far more to him if he manages to just make legalization a smaller part of his candidacy. He is a libertarian candidate with executive experience as the governor of New Mexico for eight years.

My prediction for success tonight:

1) Gary Johnson

2) Herman Cain

3) Tim Pawlenty

4) Rick Santorum

5) Ron Paul