Showing posts with label Bobby Jindal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bobby Jindal. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Death of the Ames Straw Poll?

Here we are a little less than three years away -- a long time in politics -- from the likely August 2015 Ames Straw Poll; an event that is often heralded as the beginning of the Republican presidential nomination process. Of course, the real beginning of the 2016 Republican presidential nomination process was sometime either late on November 6 or in the wee hours of the morning of November 7 when the 2012 election was called for Barack Obama. Never the less, many look upon the late summer event in Iowa in the year immediately prior to a presidential election year as important; a point at which people are actually casting ballots for would-be/actually-are candidates in the state that quadrennially kicks off the new primary season.

Non-binding on the actual nomination race or not, some -- Governor Terry Branstad (R-IA) -- are now calling for an end to the process.

To which FHQ responds, "Not so fast." Here's why:
  1. It is a little early to be talking about death knells for 2016 campaign events.
  2. As Republican Party of Iowa Chairman AJ Spiker rightfully pointed out, Branstad will not be the one making this decision.
  3. The 2016 Republican nomination race is wide open from our vantage point here in November 2012. It may not be in 2015 (but probably will be to some extent).
  4. Calling for or forecasting the end to events in Iowa is an age-old past time in the political sphere.
There are probably other reasons too, but let's focus on these interrelated four.

At least during the 2012 cycle folks waited until February 2011 to start questioning the utility of the Iowa caucuses. Built on the same house of cards reasoning -- that social conservative Iowa Republicans would select someone who was too conservative to do well in the remaining primaries and caucuses and by extension the general election --  some continued to question Iowa's usefulness at the beginning of the Republican nomination process after Michele Bachmann won the 2011 straw poll. That reasoning is predicated on the false notion that these events -- whether the straw poll or the first in the nation caucuses -- have to be or should be predictive of the final outcome. This is the wrong way to think about the role of either event. Both the straw poll and the caucuses due to their positioning are not predictive events. They are winnowing events. Sometimes the stars align and the straw poll and more often the caucuses crown (or as luck would have it, "pick") the nominee.1 But that is not always the case. And it doesn't have to be. Leave the picking to other states. Iowa's power has always been in winnowing the choice set.

The only real, definitive bit of information that we have to have at this point in 2012 about the future of the Ames Straw Poll is that the Republican Party of Iowa is not going to unilaterally disarm.2 That is certainly true given the discussions of who may run on the Republican side in 2016. There continue to be discussions about how deep the Republican bench is and if that comes to fruition -- if Rubio, Bush, Christie, Jindal, Ryan and Paul all run or even if half of them run -- then Iowa Republicans are not going to discontinue the straw poll.

Well, the party would not end the straw poll unless there was clear evidence that all of the candidates, especially the big name candidates, would skip the event. Even then, the party may persist with the straw poll. But that scenario isn't likely to happen because if all or half of those candidates listed above run, it will only take one opting into the straw poll process -- as is or tweaked in some way, shape or form -- to bring the others in. The Ames Straw Poll is or would be too big of a deal to miss from an organizational standpoint. 2016 is not shaping up to be a John McCain (2008) or Mitt Romney (2012) sort of cycle for the Republicans; a cycle where a seemingly more moderate candidate is the frontrunner -- nominal or otherwise.3 Unless all of the above pass on 2016 for some strange reason, then all will be motivated to participate in the straw poll. That is more true in light of the fact that there does not seem to be a true social conservative on the short list of candidates. In Ben Domenech's taxonomy, Rubio (or Bush) is the establishment candidate, Jindal is the populist, Christie is the moderate and Rand Paul is the libertarian. That leaves room for one dark horse, who could be a social conservative, but absent such a candidate, all of the others would have some selling to do to the social conservative Iowa crowd.  That portion of the caucusgoing electorate would matter, but would likely be split to varying degrees unless one of the candidates emerged or had emerged prior to the straw poll as a clear frontrunner.

The bottom line is that, yes, like Craig Robinson, I agree that the candidates will be the ones deciding the future of Ames Straw Poll. If they show up, it matters. If they don't, then it won't. But depending on how the eternity that is the next two and a half years of the invisible primary progresses, there will likely be incentives for the candidates to throw their hat in the ring. That comes with some consequences -- a poor showing could mean lights out -- but the reward of meeting or exceeding expectations could be greater than that risk of not.

It's just too early folks. Call me in late 2014 to discuss the death of Ames. November 2012 is too early.

1 Much of this has to do with the extent to which a consensus frontrunner has emerged by the time of either the straw poll or the caucuses. If that consensus exists as it did in 2000, for instance, then the majority/plurality of Iowa caucusgoers often make the pragmatic choice whether it overlaps completely with their ideological position or not.

2 Terry Branstad might want to discontinue the practice, but the RPI does not and will not.

3 Another way of thinking about this is that there was 1) no clear frontrunner and 2) the overall field was viewed as weak in both cycles. Both factors seem to have applied in 2012, but neither seems to fit the conditions of 2008.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Louisiana 2012: Jindal/Palin Both Top Obama

Always good for some 2012 polling data, Public Policy Polling went public with some 2012 presidential trial heat numbers from the outfit's survey of Louisiana this past weekend. Here are the particulars:

Jindal: 54%
Obama: 40%
Undecided: 7%

Palin: 49%
Obama: 42%
Undecided: 9%

Should Jindal run in 2012?
Yes: 27%
No: 61%
Not Sure: 13%

Margin of Error: +/- 3.6 points
Sample: 727 Louisiana voters
Conducted: July 17-19, 2009

These aren't terribly surprising results. As the poll discovers, Jindal is very popular in the Pelican state (55% approval), but the governor earns a smaller share of support than John McCain received in Louisiana last November. Coincidentally, Obama's stood pat at 40%, while support for the Republican candidate dropped from 59% (McCain) to, in this poll, 54% (Jindal). Of course, the answer to that trial heat question was probably at least somewhat conditional upon the answer to the "should Jindal run in 2012" question two questions earlier on the survey. Three out of five respondents answered no. That may have enforced some lag on the popular governor's support against Obama.

Meanwhile, in the never-ending quest to answer the Palin question, PPP found the former vice presidential nominee ahead of President Obama, but not as far ahead as the state's own governor. Again, favorability seems to be driving the difference between the Republicans. Only 46% of the respondents in this poll saw Palin in a favorable light (versus 42% unfavorable). Interestingly, Jindal bests Obama among women while Obama continues to lead Palin (in another poll) with that group.

All things considered, though, this poll isn't that earth-shattering. Louisiana isn't likely to budge from the Republican column in 2012. As always, however, it is neat to see the data. [And hey, this one had a good sample size. 727 Louisiana voters in this poll compared to the 577 voters in the national poll PPP released on Monday.]

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

On the Polling Horizon: Louisiana 2012?

I ended today's North Carolina post bemoaning the fact that Louisiana had beaten out California and Iowa in Public Policy Polling's vote to determine the location of its next survey. But what's to bemoan. Sure we'll miss out on Iowa numbers three years in advance (Once we get to the end of 2011, there will be more Iowa polls than you can shake a stick at.), but Louisiana could be interesting as well.

...especially if...
"Louisiana: This one will be getting my personal vote. How does Charlie Melancon do against David Vitter, and in general is Vitter really vulnerable or not? Plus, is Bobby Jindal more popular in his home state than Tim Pawlenty?

Voting is open until 11 AM Wednesday, we'll do the poll in the winning state over the weekend, and start releasing numbers from it on Tuesday."
I don't think Jindal v. Pawlenty is a bad consolation, nor do I think Obama v. Jindal/Pawlenty in the Pelican state is all that bad (...if that's what we get). In other words, I'll see you all at the same time, same place as today next Tuesday or Wednesday.

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Answer is Yes

For the first time this year since Bobby Jindal gave the Republican response to President Obama's speech before a joint session of Congress, Sarah Palin searches have been surpassed by another (now former) prospective Republican presidential candidate. Last night FHQ asked aloud whether Mark Sanford's searches, once they were incorporated into Google Trends, would settle in between where John Ensign searches were a week ago following the Nevada senator's announcement and where Palin searches have been post-Letterman or surpass Palin. They seem to have passed Palin and then some. In fact, the first of the two Palin spikes in June is the highest the Alaska governor has been all year and that is around the same height Jindal reached in the pre-/post-response period.

The Sanford data has not been fully implemented in the main Google Trends search, but is working with our tracker for whatever reason. The F in the screenshot above denotes where Sanford admitted to the affair and we can also see the first of the two Palin spikes in June there as well and that it rivals the Jindal jump in February.

Needless to say, Sanford searches over the last few days have outpaced both Palin and Jindal by far in 2009. And that says something about what we see in these trends and what that tells us about the candidate emergence tracker in general. First, none of these search spikes are for "good" reasons. The tracker's intent is to pick up an organic movement toward a particular candidate -- to see a candidate emerge. And it is not a good thing for the Republican Party overall or the tracker generally that all the movement thus far is being triggered by scandal-related or other negatively-identified moments.

But I'll have more on that tomorrow when I look at the state of the 2012 race for the GOP nomination.

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Friday, February 27, 2009

Like a Kid in a Candy Store: A 2012 GOP Presidential Preference Poll

From CNN/Opinion Research Corporation:

Palin: 29%
Huckabee: 26%
Romney: 21%
Jindal: 9%

Sample: 429 Republicans (nationally)
MoE: 4.5%
Conducted Wednesday and Thursday of last week (2/18-19)

A couple of thoughts:
1) Palin, Huckabee and Romney are basically tied and Jindal is simply suffering from a lack of name recognition nationally at this point. The poll was done prior to his appearance on Meet the Press last weekend and before his response to Obama's speech to Congress this week. Poor performance or not, I suspect the Louisiana governor would have made it into the low to mid-double digits if the poll had been conducted this week.

2) If these are the candidates, I have to say that this bodes well for Mitt Romney. With Iowa and South Carolina having such conservative Republicans, there's the potential that Huckabee and Palin split the conservative vote (Huckabee's 2008 organization vs. Palin's appeal) and open the door for Romney. The former Massachusetts governor finished second to John McCain in New Hampshire and won the Nevada caucuses in 2008. Granted this is all predicated on both the idea that the calendar remains pretty much the same as it was in 2008 and that Jindal never gets off the ground in his efforts. Neither of those are sure things this far out.

Plus, as Pollster points out: at a similar point four years ago Hillary Clinton led John Kerry 40% - 25% with John Edwards at 18%. Barack Obama? He wasn't included. And we see how that worked out.

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