Showing posts with label Value Voters Summit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Value Voters Summit. Show all posts

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Pence for President Gets and Assist from the Value Voters Straw Poll

Indiana congressmen, Mike Pence, just topped the fifth Value Voters Summit straw poll (723 voters) for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. [No, the group isn't expressly aligned with the Republican Party, so it was for the whole thing and not just the GOP nomination. However, there weren't a whole lot of Democrats in attendance.] Here's how the ledger looked when members of the group had cast their votes:
  • Mike Pence (24%)
  • Mike Huckabee (22%)
  • Mitt Romney (13%)
  • Newt Gingrich (10%)
  • Sarah Palin (7%)
  • Rick Santorum (5%)
  • Jim DeMint (5%)
  • Bobby Jindal (2%)
  • Mitch Daniels (2%)
  • Chris Christie (2%)
  • John Thune (2%)
  • Bob McDonnell (1%)
  • Marco Rubio (1%)
  • Paul Ryan (1%)
  • Haley Barbour (1%)
  • Ron Paul (1%)
  • Jan Brewer (less than 1%)
Pence is the real surprise here. If you were going to pick a Hoosier to have a good shot at the Republican nomination, you might have opted for Mitch Daniels instead of Pence. Yet, there Pence is, having doubled his share of the vote from last year's straw poll, on top. Sure Sarah Palin is on the low end in terms of share of the vote, but she was not in attendance. Neither was Tim Pawlenty, who pulled his name off the ballot because he wasn't going to be there. The Minnesota governor was in a similar position to Pence a year ago and there is no telling how he would have fared this year. Finally, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney essentially maintained similar shares of the straw poll vote as they did in 2009.

Does this result prompt Pence to jump in? Well, it is a little early still, but it might give him something to think about. Once the calendar turns to 2011, we will start seeing Republicans line up to throw their hat in the ring for the nomination. That's the next step.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Expectations and the 2012 Republican Presidential Nomination

Coming off of the Value Voters Summit 2012 straw poll this past weekend, FHQ has been considering expectations. Expectations are an interesting thing. I often talk to my students (relieved ones, I might add) about having set the bar so low prior to or immediately after taking an exam, that anything C or better is seen as having been successful. [Mind you, I'm not encouraging them to do this; only acknowledging that it takes place.] If you follow college football at all, we saw this play out in the time leading up to and during the University of Florida's game against Tennessee this past weekend. Vegas oddsmakers thought the Volunteers to be a 30 point underdog to the number one Gators. And the talk all week was not about who would win the game, but how much Florida would win by. In other words, expectations were high for Florida and low for Tennessee. That the Volunteers kept it close, ultimately losing by ten points, exceeded the expectations that even the most devout Volunteer fan had going in to the match up. It also had the sports punditry questioning the strength of Florida's team and the odds that the Gators will repeat this year as national champions.

Well, politics is no stranger to the expectations game either. With overwhelming majorities in both houses of Congress and Barack Obama in the White House, the sky was the limit for Democrats to get something done on a wide range of issues affecting the United States. However, things have gone anything other than smoothly since the beginning of the year for the Democratic Party and the president. It hasn't been all bad, but those numbers in Congress certainly inflated the expectations at the outset. And the party's inability to pass legislation on health care among other things has fed some of the frustration that is being felt primarily among independent voters. [Check out how the gap on the generic congressional ballot for 2010 has closed since last year's election.]

Expectations also play an outsized role in the presidential nomination process. And though this past weekend's straw poll was anything but representative of the Republican Party as a whole or the state of things over two years down the road, it is hard not to look at the results and think about them in terms of the expectations for each of the nine candidates included on the Value Voters' ballots.

Now let's look at those straw poll results again with expectations in mind. Here are FHQ's grades for each candidates relative to their expectations heading into the vote:
Mike Huckabee 28.48% (exceeded expectations)
Mitt Romney 12.40% (failed to meet expectations)
Tim Pawlenty 12.23% (exceeded expectations)
Sarah Palin 12.06% (failed to meet expectations)
Mike Pence 11.89% (exceeded expectations)
Newt Gingrich 6.70% (failed to meet expectations)
Bobby Jindal 4.69% (met expectations)
Rick Santorum 2.51% (met expectations)
Ron Paul 2.18% (failed to meet expectations)
Now some explanation. I think it is probably wise to draw a distinction among the exceeds expectations crowd. Certainly, Mike Huckabee's win -- the margin especially -- exceeded expectations, but given his background and his performance in last year's Republican primaries (not to mention the 2007 Value Voters straw poll where he placed a close second), it wasn't necessarily unforeseen. FHQ, then, would add the caveat here that Mike Huckabee slightly exceeded expectations whereas Tim Pawlenty and Mike Pence greatly exceeded the expectations that met each heading into the vote.

We often talk about bang for your buck in our posts on the 2012 candidates' usage of Twitter (see especially the Follower Ratio) and that applies here as well. The idea in the context of Twitter is that the more you use the service, the more followers you should have. What we could call the Expectations Ratio is comparable. Tim Pawlenty is running for president. Earlier this year, the Minnesota governor announced he would not seek a third term in 2010 and became vice chair of the Republican Governors Association after Mark Sanford's resignation as chair elevated Haley Barbour to the position and opened up the vice chair's spot. Pawlenty's travel schedule surrounding the RGA vice chair position affords him the opportunity to travel the country and get this name, face and ideas out there among the influential elites within the Republican Party. He has also spoken out more against the Obama administration and taken on a more visible presence in the media.

Contrast that with Mike Pence. Sure, the Indiana congressman's name has been quietly whispered in Republican circles as a 2012 possibility, but he hasn't been able to parlay that into any greater a voice than he had before.

But Pawlenty is very obviously working toward the nomination whereas Pence, though he may be quietly doing so, is not. Who got more bang for their buck? Both were in the pack that essentially tied for second place, but Pawlenty is the one who is publicly working to catch up to Huckabee and Palin and Romney in this invisible primary. Pence, on the other hand, though talked about as a possibility (and that certainly counts), just showed up and delivered a speech at the summit. Indiana's 8th district representative seemed to have gotten more for what he's put into it. However, given his current platform, Pawlenty may be able to utilize his showing the straw poll more effectively.

...but I'll have more on Pawlenty in a post later today.

Let's have a look now at the candidates who failed to meet expectations.

Mitt Romney was hurt by the fact that he won the straw poll in 2007, and failed to match that in 2009. Plus, the fact that the former Massachusetts governor is viewed, at least from a policy perspective (His background in business matches well with the current calls from the right for more fiscal conservatism.), as the frontrunner for the 2012 nomination, also made that 16 point margin between himself and Mike Huckabee seem that much wider. [The two basically tied atop the 2007 straw poll.]

Given that this was a group with which she was thought to be in good standing, Sarah Palin also failed to meet expectations. Now, Palin was working at a disadvantage here and her grade should be tempered by that fact. Unlike many of the others on the ballot, Palin was not in attendance, and as such, did not deliver a speech. In fact, there is a nice line of demarcation between the candidates who attended and those who did not. And it should perhaps not come as a surprise that four of the five candidates who were on the ballot and did not attend also ended up on the bottom in the results. The exception? Sarah Palin. That the former Alaska governor managed a second place finish when all the others not in attendance couldn't break the 7% mark in the straw poll, says something. Yet, given her position as the party's former vice presidential nominee and how she has done in some of the early polling (tightly clustered with Romney and Huckabee in the early primary polling for 2012), her showing amongst a group thought to be among her strongest supporters (though some of the early polling seems to refute that notion) places a certain amount of drag on her showing here relative to the expectations.

Finally, Newt Gingrich, for such a large and influential voice in the party, just simply failed to meet expectations. Yes, the former Speaker of the House has consistently polled behind the Huckabee/Palin/Romney troika, but he has also managed to outpace the "everyone else" category. That was not the case in this straw poll. The former Georgia congressman came in below a couple of heretofore "everyone else" candidates in Pawlenty and Pence.

Do the results hurt Romney or Palin or Gingrich? No, not as much as they help someone like Tim Pawlenty get mentioned in the same breath as that threesome or Mike Huckabee in relation to the 2012 Republican nomination.

*For more on the role of expectations in various aspects of the presidential nomination process please see Haynes, Gurian and Nichols (1997) and Haynes, Flowers and Gurian (2002).

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Huckabee Takes 2009 Value Voters Straw Poll

It wasn't a rout, but Mike Huckabee did win the 2009 Value Voters Summit straw poll by a margin greater than any of his opponents received. Huckabee won a plurality of the 597 voters with Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Sarah Palin and Mike Pence all jumbled up behind the former Arkansas governor.

Here's the count (via GOP12):
Huckabee: 28% (~167)*
Romney: 12% (74)
Pawlenty: 12% (73)
Palin: 12% (72)
Pence: 12% (71)
*Raw votes in parentheses (via Jonathan Martin)
Newt Gingrich, Bobby Jindal, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum all split the remaining 24% of the voters. Rick Perry pulled his name off the ballot on Friday.
One thing that struck me as curious was that, in looking back at the 2007 Value Voters straw poll, Romney won and there were approximately ten times as many votes cast. The total two years ago was inflated by online voting whereas this year's poll was comprised of those in attendance.

What does it all mean? Well, the top two are still the same as they were two years ago, but the ordering is reversed. Again though, it is still early yet to be thinking about the 2012 race (despite the fun). One thing that is interesting is that Huckabee's position in these results mirrors some of what we've seen in the 2012 polls conducted thus far. Especially in the case of the general election trial heats against Obama, Huckabee has consistently done the best. Head-to-head in the Republican primary polling, though, the former Arkansas governor has been trading the top honor with both Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney, with all three clustered atop the list well ahead of all other prospective candidates. Are those general elections trial heats driving this straw poll result or are these the type of voters that are being picked up in and supportive of Huckabee in those polls? It is an interesting question that I don't think we really have an answer to.

Regardless, this is an early feather in Huckabee's 2012 cap.

...but will he decide to run? (See, I told you it was early.)

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

It's Never too Early for a 2012 (Value Voters) Straw Poll

Next week's Value Voters Summit is certainly not short on speakers doubling as potential hopefuls for the 2012 GOP nomination. And since many are going to be there speaking anyway, why not poll those in attendance to gauge the amount of support behind each candidate among this valuable group of Republican primary voters?

Why not, indeed? Why should Iowa and New Hampshire have all the fun?

Here's the ballot:
Newt Gingrich
Mike Huckabee*
Bobby Jindal
Sarah Palin
Ron Paul
Tim Pawlenty*
Mike Pence*
Rick Perry*
Mitt Romney*
Rick Santorum

*also scheduled to speak

That's a deep pool. But what? No Crist, no Barbour, no Thune?

Normally, I'd add the usual caveats that I include in any 2012 polling post. But in this case, I find this straw poll to be a fairly significant early indicator of how the 2012 field is going to shape up.
"The 2012 presidential primaries may be several years away but many value voters are already surveying the field of possible candidates," said Family Research Council Action President Tony Perkins. "This straw poll is an early test for possible presidential contenders who have shown leadership on the major issues facing our country."
It's no mistake that Mitt Romney will be speaking; this is a group he is absolutely going to have to convince of his conservative bona fides in some respects in order to gain their vote in just more than three years time. He is playing the current period correctly by staking out a firm, fiscally conservative line, but this is a group he will need if he is to be the frontrunner heading into the 2012 primaries. Things looked good on paper for Romney in 2008 as well, but it didn't work out.

One additional note we should make is that there are a few folks on the ballot that have been discussed in the context of splitting this segment of the Republican primary voting bloc in an early state like Iowa; making a Romney victory there more likely. It will be interesting also to see if the Sarah Palins and Mike Huckabees and Rick Santorums of the list split a sizable chunk of the vote in any noticeable way.

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