Tuesday Reads: Iowa Caucuses EditionPosted: January 3, 2012
The Iowa Caucuses will be held tonight, and we’ll live blog the results later on. The outcome is still pretty much up in the air. I’m definitely rooting for Romney to lose, but I can’t decide whom I’d rather see come in first–Rick Santorum or Ron Paul. Neither one has a shot at the nomination, but I’d love to see the GOP elites scrambling if Paul wins it. I think they won’t get as upset by a Santorum win, but it would be irritating for them. Either Paul or Santorum could mess things up for Romney in New Hampshire, if they come out of Iowa with some momentum.
Nate Silver has his usual thorough analysis of the polls: Iowa Race Tightens in Final 48 Hours.
A new Public Policy Polling survey in Iowa, conducted Saturday and Sunday, shows a virtual three-way tie in advance of the Iowa caucuses. Ron Paul has a nominal lead with 20 percent of the vote in the poll, followed by Mitt Romney at 19 percent and Rick Santorum at 18 percent.
Our forecast model, which combines the Public Policy Polling survey with other recent polls of the state, also shows an effective three-way tie, although it has Mr. Romney ahead by the slimmest of margins. The model projects Mr. Romney to receive 21.0 percent of the vote, followed by Mr. Paul at 20.6 percent and Mr. Santorum — whose numbers have been on the rise — at 19.3 percent.
Silver notes that the PPP poll shows a weaker result for Romney’s than the Des Moines Register poll.
The most noteworthy feature of the Public Policy Polling survey is that it shows a slightly worse result for Mr. Romney than The Des Moines Register Iowa Poll, which was conducted Tuesday through Friday and had Mr. Romney at 24 percent of the vote.
We can interpret this in one of three ways. It may merely be random variance. It may reflect methodological differences between the surveys; the Des Moines Register poll calls cellphones, for instance, and uses live interviewers, which the Public Policy Polling survey does not. (Previous Public Policy Polling surveys have shown slightly better results for Mr. Paul, and slightly worse ones for Mr. Romney, than those conducted by other polling firms.)
Or it may suggest that that there has been a percentage point or two worth of erosion in Mr. Romney’s numbers, since the Public Policy Polling survey is the more recent of the two….There is some slight evidence for the latter theory in that Mr. Romney performed slightly worse in interviews that Public Policy Polling conducted on Sunday, receiving 18 percent of the vote to the 21 percent he received on Saturday.
Oh please, let Romney lose!
As for Mitt himself, he’s oozing confidence.
“You guys, I need you tomorrow night,” he told more than 600 people packed into an asphalt company’s truck garage. “I need every single vote in this room, and I need you to get a couple of other votes in your neighborhood, get them to caucus. I need a great showing here in Cedar Rapids. We’re going to win this thing with all our passion and strength and do everything we can to get this campaign on the right track to go across the nation and to pick up the states and to get the ballots I need and the votes I need to become our nominee. That’s what we’re going to get, with your help.”
Campaign aides later said that Romney meant he was going to win the nomination, not necessarily the caucuses.
Roger Simon of Politico says that Romney will be the nominee no matter how he does in Iowa.
If Mitt Romney wins the Iowa caucuses, the race for the Republican nomination is over.
If Mitt Romney comes in second in Iowa, the race for the Republican nomination is over.
And if Mitt Romney comes in third in Iowa, the race for the Republican nomination is over.
Why? Is his message of goodness and decency and American exceptionalism so overwhelmingly persuasive or are his personal attributes so awesomely compelling?
No. It’s because the Iowa caucuses do not pick winners as much as they eliminate losers. And the Iowa caucuses Tuesday are likely to eliminate from serious contention the only two men who might have blocked Romney’s path to victory: Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry.
Now that’s depressing. If Simon is right, we’ll have nothing to look forward to but a year of boring back and forth between ultra-boring Mitt and even more boring Barack. Ugh!
But the Republicans still want to find a Romney alternative. Suddenly Rick Santorum is raising big bucks, according to CNN.
Rick Santorum’s poll numbers aren’t the only thing on the rise. The former senator from Pennsylvania’s fundraising figures are also skyrocketing.
A senior Santorum adviser tells CNN the campaign raised more money in the last week than they raised on-line the past six months, adding that fundraising is between 300% and 400% higher on a daily basis than it was just ten days ago.
Yup, they can’t stand Romney and don’t want to get stuck with him. I can totally empathize with that too. I wonder if it bothers Romney that he’s so unwanted? I supposed not….
The candidates are still saying some pretty outrageous things. Mitt Romney compared President Obama to Kim Kardashian because he didn’t live up to his campaign promises. Ron Paul claimed that Rick Santorum is “very liberal” [!]
Ron Paul dinged rival Rick Santorum Monday for being a “very liberal” candidate, saying the former Pennsylvania senator and staunch social conservative voted for too much spending during his time in Congress.
Speaking to CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash before a campaign event with his son, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, the White House hopeful said his rival had taken positions counter to true conservative ideas.
And Rand Paul called Santorum a “war mongering moderate” on a talk radio show yesterday. Here are the relevant Rand Paul quotes via TPM:
He’s also someone who never served in the military. Ron Paul served in the military, will use force against our enemies if it’s required and if Congress approves of it, but I’m a little concerned about someone who didn’t serve in the military like Santorum, who’s a little over-eager to bomb countries because I don’t think he’s maturely thinking through the process and the consequences of war.
Well, you know you’re starting to see that some of the conservatives have gone here and there and they’re looking for someone who they think is their champion. But before they settle on Santorum they need to realize he was a big supporter of Medicare Part D, the expansion of Medicare, a big supporter of No Child Left Behind, I’ve seen him asked directly about the Department of Education, he’s for it. … We still believe in eliminating the Dept. of Education, that there is no function on the federal level for that. But Rick Santorum’s a big supporter of the Department of Education; he in fact voted to double the size of the Department of Education with No Child Left Behind. So I call him a big government moderate and I think conservatives need to be wary before thinking Santorum can be their champion.
Supporting the Department of Education? The horror!
The Daily Beast published a primer on the workings of the Iowa Caucuses yesterday for those (like me) who need a review of the process. Here’s the gist of it:
What happens at a caucus meeting?
At 7 p.m., caucus-goers will recite the Pledge of Allegiance and elect officers to run the meeting. Representatives from each campaign—usually campaign staffers—will give a brief speech urging those present to vote for their candidate. After the speeches, caucus-goers will write the name of their preferred candidate on a piece of paper, and campaign representatives will watch while they are counted. The caucus will then report the results to the room, and then by phone to the Iowa Republican Party. Caucus-goers will finish the night by picking delegates and writing platform resolutions—building blocks of a party manifesto—for the county GOP convention. The Iowa GOP will announce the statewide results to the media and on its website.
Yes, there will be Democratic caucuses, even though there’s no competition for Obama.
Jan Bauer fondly recalls the energy that then-candidate Barack Obama brought to Iowa in the 2008 Democratic presidential caucuses and the razor-sharp ground game that paved his road from here to the White House.
Four years later, Bauer finds herself calling other Story County Democrats to remind them that they have important political work to do Tuesday just like their Republican counterparts – even if Obama is unopposed for their party’s nomination.
“A lot of Democrats aren’t even aware that we’re caucusing,” said Bauer, Democratic chairwoman in the county that includes Ames, home to Iowa State University. “We’re getting little to no attention in the media … but we still have to reorganize the party.”
Obama will be speaking to them by satellite.
There’s also an fascinating article at the Daily Beast about Obama’s tightly controlled reelection operation. These guys sound like a lot of frat boys–or maybe Skull and Bones members. I’ve annotated the following for those (like me) who aren’t hip to current yuppie culture.
The Obama campaign is not kidding around. I recently visited its headquarters in Chicago, and I can personally vouch for how much it’s not kidding around. Yes, there was a blue Ping-Pong table in the middle of the office—custom-made, evidently, because the Obama 2012 logo was emblazoned on it. (Twice.) There were printouts of people’s nicknames—Sandals! Shermanator!—where corporate nameplates usually go. There was a mesh trucker hat from South Dakota, which was blaze orange and said “Big Cock Country” on the crown. There was a cardboard speech bubble (“nom nom data nom”) affixed to an Uglydoll. There was miniature air-hockey table. A narwhal mural. A stuffed Rastafarian banana.
But do not be deceived. There was also a chaperone following me everywhere I went and digitally recording everything anyone said to me. Ben LaBolt, Obama’s press secretary, and Stephanie Cutter, his deputy campaign manager, closed their doors as I walked by. An underling clammed up when I asked what she and her colleagues do on the weekends. At one point my minder agreed to let me out of her sight for a few milliseconds, but then I got too close to a big whiteboard covered in hieroglyphic flow charts and she instantaneously materialized at my side, having somehow teleported the 50 yards from where I’d last seen her. “Sorry,” she said, not sounding sorry at all. “You can’t look at that.” The next day it was covered by a tarp.
Sigh…. These are the people who are running the Democratic Party …. and the country. Now what are you reading and blogging about today?