Deace’s Iowa Caucus Power Ratings 07/25/11
By Steve Deace
Please note these predictions are only my analysis, and not my preference, of what the results of the Iowa Caucuses would be if they occurred today with the field as it currently is and based on what we currently know. I have yet to endorse a candidate, and will not be doing so before the Iowa Straw Poll if at all.
1. Michele Bachmann (30%)
She is in better shape in the caucuses than the Straw Poll, where she is about a month behind in mobilizing her support into a show of force in Ames. If the Straw Poll were after Labor Day she might lap the field, but with the Straw Poll three weeks away she’s in danger of stubbing her toe there unless her campaign does a lot of things right. It will be interesting to see what happens to her prospects if indeed that happens. But for now there is little doubt she is setting the pace.
2. Tim Pawlenty (20%)
There is a sense on the ground from most people I talk to that Bachmann’s campaign is behind in mobilizing for its candidate, but Pawlenty’s campaign is way ahead of their candidate. I can’t foresee a scenario where Tim Pawlenty wins the Iowa Caucuses, because if he way outperforms his polling data in the Straw Poll to win it, the conservative outcry for a rock star like Rick Perry or Sarah Palin will become deafening. A potential Pawlenty victory in the Straw Poll will be perceived more as an indictment of Bachmann’s weakness as a supposed front-runner than a display of strength by Pawlenty. Anything less than a victory in the Straw Poll and it’s difficult for Pawlenty to justify sticking around. He will definitely out-perform his meager polling on August 13th, the only question is to what extent.
3. Ron Paul (16%)
I definitely think Ron Paul can win the Straw Poll. Pawlenty has the best organization, and Bachmann the most supporters, but Paul has the most devoted supporters. And in a fluid situation that might be enough to eke out a Straw Poll win. However, Paul lost a chance in recent weeks to make significant inroads to Iowa’s massive Christian Conservative base, and I don’t believe he can win the Iowa Caucuses without doing so.
4. Mitt Romney (13%)
One little birdie told me based on polling done by his candidate he definitely believes Romney could win the Straw Poll again if he tried. As I have said all along, Romney has a locked-in, almost cult-like base of support that can’t dissuaded no matter what. That percentage is somewhere in the 12-15% range. However, like Paul he has a very low ceiling, and can’t do any better than the 25% he got here four years ago. However, if Perry and Palin are both in the race, Romney’s 2008 total (or slightly less) might be enough to win the Iowa Caucuses in a balkanized field.
5. Rick Santorum (10%)
This is where the second tier begins. I believe Santorum will slightly out-perform his polling data, but he could do even better if he got more aggressive — especially if he tried to whisk away some of Pawlenty’s followers.
6. Newt Gingrich (7%)
I don’t think Gingrich is dead quite yet. He still has a chance to reinvent himself as the outsider — and it’s as the outsider that he’s had his most political success in the past. I also think Gingrich may be “motivated” to keep Perry honest once he gets in the race given what several people now working for Perry did to his campaign.
7. Herman Cain (4%)
A cautionary tale for future rookies: do your homework on your staff and the issues before you run for president.