Election 2012: Where Do The Republican Candidates Stand Now?

It’s hard to believe that, after months of national anticipation, the results of not one but two Republican primaries have already been decided. These results are encouraging to some candidates, namely Mitt Romney, a favored candidate since the 2008 elections. While Romney is viewed as a favorite, there are many other candidates that, as of now, still stand a fair chance. Here’s the rundown on a few of them:

Mitt Romney

Despite heavy opposition from the Tea Party and many ultra-conservatives who see him as a moderate, Romney has officially won the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries, gaining a popular vote of 24.6% and 39.3% respectively. Although his Iowa win was very close and although many conservatives still eye him with suspicion, Romney has undoubtedly set himself up very nicely for the upcoming South Carolina primaries. On top of these wins, the Romney campaign can also boast ample financial backing, which will be put to good use in the coming months as Romney builds his support in other pivotal states. Overall, things are looking very good for the Romney campaign.

 

Rick Santorum

As recently as a month ago many analysts regarded Santorum as a 2nd tier candidate who had little chance of keeping up with frontrunners like Romney and Gingrich. They could not have been more wrong. Riding a recent groundswell of popular support, Santorum managed to secure an impressive 24.5% of the Iowan popular vote and was 8 votes away from tying Mitt Romney himself. While these numbers must be exceptionally heartening to Santorum, he must be sure not to rest on his laurels: as of January 7th, Santoum on has about a fifth of the Republican vote nationwide that Romney currently commands (4.5% to Romney’s 25%). A such, the most important thing for Santorum now is to continue to campaign vigorously in States such as Florida and South Carolina, and hope that his superb performance in the Iowa caucus will translate into much-needed financial support for his campaign.

 

Ron Paul

Although he is regarded by many liberals as nothing more than an out-of-touch reactionary Ron Paul has nevertheless managed to attain 21.4% of the popular vote in the Iowa primaries and 22.9% in the New Hampshire primaries . For months the media has overlooked Ron Paul’s steady rise in approval ratings, and now, in the wake of his great success in the Iowa primaries, Paul is finally being considered a legitimate candidate with a host of fanatical supporters at his back. In fact, the one thing Ron Paul has that many of the would-be front-runners lack is a very solid base of engaged, passionate supporters who truly believe he is the only candidate that can bring sufficient change to Washington. Now, as Ron Paul looks to continue his bid for the nomination, his campaign hinges on whether or not he can expand his support base into new states and create similarly high levels of devotion from voters in South Carolina. The only thing Ron Paul doesn’t have- the only thing that may well spell his political doom- is time. The short time periods in-between the next few primaries may well spell disaster for his campaign.

 

Newt Gingrich

After riding a wave of anti-Romney conservatism and soaring in the polls, Newt Gingrich has been unceremoniously thrown back in with the rest of the “tier two” candidates. The fact that he only managed to secure 13.3% of the Iowa primary vote is disheartening and, many would say, unexpected. Just weeks ago Gingrich could boast a Republican approval rating of 23%, coming very close to tying Romney, who in those same polls was given a 25% approval rating. Gingrich’s rapid fall from grace in Iowa and New Hampshire will likely make it hard for him to continue to manage a campaign in other States and once again attract the limelight of the media. While Gingrich still remains only 4 percentage points behind Romney in the Gallop Daily Tracking Poll,  it will be a tough couple of weeks for Gingrich if he continues to pursue the Republican nomination in South Carolina.

Rick Perry

Once seen as the chosen one that would bring balance to the country, Perry has instead shown himself to be less of a paragon and more of the same. Perhaps his loss of support is due to the fact that his campaign largely focused on attacking Romney over every issue imaginable, maybe it has something to do with his countless gaffes during televised debates, or maybe Americans simply got tired of him. Whatever the reason, Rick Perry, once a front-runner who drew massive support from the moralistic conservatives who make up the Republican base, has now been cast aside, with many former Perry supporters now affiliating themselves with either Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum. In fact, Perry was so disappointed with his capture of only 10.3% in the Iowa caucuses that he left for his home in Texas the day after the primaries. Right now many question whether Perry will continue his campaign or whether he will admit defeat and drop out of the Republican primaries. Currently, former Perry supporters are flocking to like-minded candidates such Santorum and Gingrich, creating a groundswell of support that both politicians need in order to combat Romney’s solid base in the coming South Carolina primary.

 

Michele Bachmann and Jon Huntsman

Michele Bachmann threw in the towel at the end of the Iowa primary, due mostly to her very poor performance. To any who were hoping for a political comeback: it ain’t gonna happen. Bachmann finished dead last in the New Hampshire primary, with .1% of the vote (about a thirteenth or so of the vote “Other” received), thus confirming her as the first casualty of the primary season.

Huntsman, on the other hand, did far better, earning 16.9% of the vote. Unfortunately, most media attention is still on the massive jump in the polls enjoyed by Paul and Santorum, rather than Huntsman’s respectable 3rd place ranking in New Hampshire. If he intends to keep his campaign alive, he’ll need to raise publicity: without some large-scale donations, and soon, the Huntsman campaign will whither on the vine.

Mac Zech, Staff Writer

Posted by on January 12, 2012. Filed under World News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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