Deace’s Iowa Caucus Power Ratings: 7/11/11
By Steve Deace
Note: These projections are done based on if the Iowa Caucuses were today with the field as current constructed. Please note this my analysis not my preference. I have yet to endorse a candidate.
1. Michele Bachmann (36%)
She is surging now, despite the fact she’s still really just now getting off the ground in Iowa, which is a testimony to the overall weakness of the field in the minds of many voters. Barring a complete and total self-inflicted meltdown, I now can’t foresee how she doesn’t win the Iowa Caucuses if this is the field. She’s drawing rock star-like crowds. My friend Wes Enos, who was Mike Huckabee’s political director in 2008 and is with Bachmann now, says he never saw crowds for Huckabee like Bachmann is currently attracting. The key for her will be staying aggressive on the issues to solidify as much of her support as she can in the eventuality that Rick Perry and Sarah Palin enter the race and attempt to syphon off a chunk of her support.
2. Tim Pawlenty (20%)
I don’t say this very often, but I agree with Doug Gross. His comments to Reuters that Pawlenty is trying to appeal to all segments of the Republican Party, and thus ends up appealing to really none of them, are spot on. Passive-aggressive is no way to run for president. Pawlenty doesn’t have a lot of glaring weaknesses as a candidate (other than his somewhat bland persona), but he doesn’t necessarily have anything that blows you away as well. He comes off as the sort of non-threatening, generic conservative the GOP could nominate any year. The problem with that is this isn’t just any year. This is a year that conservatives are looking for the political equivalent of a UFC combatant with charisma. Pawlenty still has time between now and the Straw Poll to reinvent himself, but he needs to pick one issue on the minds of Iowans and be the absolute boldest out there on it. I’d like to see that issue be the issues surrounding the judicial retention election, but it doesn’t have to be.
3. Ron Paul (16%)
I was starting to see some evidence of a Ron Paul boom a few weeks ago, but that has really died down. He just doesn’t seem to be doing much in the state right now. Why doesn’t he have State Rep. Kim Pearson, a pro-life champion in the Iowa House, going 99 counties to talk about his pledge to veto any budget that includes Planned Parenthood funding? Why doesn’t he have his well-liked son, Sen. Rand Paul, essentially turning Iowa into his second home? Why doesn’t he have activists/authors like Thomas Woods holding townhalls and conferences in Iowa about the need to repeal Obamacare? The issue environment is in his favor, but I can’t seem to figure out what his campaign’s gameplan is.
4. Mitt Romney (12%)
Romney has been playing the low-key approach McCain 2008 strategy in Iowa, because he knows he’s damaged goods here. Looking at the latest polling numbers in New Hampshire, he might want to start worrying about losing the state again, too.
5. Rick Santorum (9%)
I think he will slightly out-perform his polling numbers because his overall conservative record is more than acceptable enough to many conservatives, and there remains a bevy of conservatives either uncomfortable with Bachmann’s inexperience or gender who still need a home. Not to mention the fact his high-profile Iowa field director, Nick Ryan, has his reputation on the line as well, so he’ll pull out all the stops. Santorum could do much better than this if he throws caution to the wind and swings for the fences.
6. Herman Cain (6%)
I’m not sure anyone has ever gone supernova in the Iowa Caucuses quicker than Cain has, and it’s pretty clear he’s essentially done as a serious threat when just as recently as six weeks ago he suddenly appeared to be.
7. Thaddeus McCotter (1%)
Most people haven’t heard of him, let alone formed an opinion of him.