PPP: Republican frontrunners lose ground; could Perry be the beneficiary?
Mon March 28, 2011 11:57 pm

From Tom Jensen on the Public Policy Polling Web site:

Much has been written about the weakness of the 2012 Republican Presidential candidate field but what I think might be most remarkable about the leading quartet of Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, and Newt Gingrich  is that they've all become more unpopular and by quite a good bit since we started monthly national 2012 polling in April of 2009. The fact that the more Americans are exposed to them, the less they like them certainly does not bode well for their competitiveness next year.

* In April 2009 Huckabee's favorability was +8 at 42/34. Now it's -7 at 35/42, for a 15 point drop over the last two years. His net drop has been 25 points with Democrats, 7 points with Republicans, and 19 points with independents.

* In April 2009 Palin's favorability was -7 at 42/49. Now it's -22 at 35/57, for a 15 point drop over the last two years. Her net drop has been 19 points with Democrats, 18 points with Republicans, and 19 points with independents.

* In April 2009 Romney's favorability was +5 at 40/35. Now it's -12 at 32/44, for a 17 point drop over the last two years. His net drop has been 25 points with Democrats, 18 points with Republicans, and 9 points with independents.

* In April 2009 Gingrich's favorability was -8 at 36/44. Now it's -31 at 26/57, for a 23 point drop over the last two years. His net drop has been 20 points with Democrats, 25 points with Republicans, and 33 points with independents.

This is a field dying for some new blood...and with even Republican voters souring on their frontrunners there might just be the appetite for it.

* * * *

Uh-oh. I feel as if I have seen this movie before. The fates have so arranged the universe that the person in the right place at the right time is going to be Rick Perry. Frontrunners are dropping all around him. I'm not kidding, folks. The other day I wrote about the possibility of a Gingrich-Perry ticket, after Perry's former campaign manager Rob Johnson signed on with Newt. I thought Perry's presidential ambitions were dead for sure. But the current Republican field is so weak, and the second tier is so unappealing that Perry could be just the kind of person who the Republican base is looking for: vigorous, self-confident, brash, and impossible to get to the right of.

The GOP second tier, from whence fresh faces might come, is unimpressive:

Ron Paul

Rand Paul

Michele Bachmann

Mitch Daniels

Tim Pawlenty

Haley Barbour

Jon Huntsman

Gary Johnson

Rick Santorum

Daniels is a competent governor, as is Pawlenty, but none of these folk have any cachet. Perry, on the other hand, has established a rationale to run on, based on the Tenth Amendment, and his confrontations with the Obama administration. As the GOP electorate learns about Perry's war on Washington, he is going to gain in popularity.

Of course, the best Republican candidate, the person who ought to be president, is Jeb Bush. It's not going to happen. Remember the scene from Oliver Stone's W., when George W. Bush dreams that his father has come into the Oval Office and tells his son that he has ruined the Bush name. Life imitates art.

Perry would love nothing more than to supplant the Bushes, to show the nation and the world who is the real Texas cowboy, the real conservative. All he needs is for the timing to be right. It looks to me as if events are working perfectly for him. Don't they always?

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