Herman Cain Drops Out
If media reports can be believed, Herman Cain's wife just discovered he has had a mistress
for 13 years. This revelation caused him to reassess his campaign. It's also probably causing
his wife to reassess their marriage (think: Jenny Sanford, the former wife of the former governor
of South Carolina who formerly had a penchant for hiking the Appalachian Trail but strangely thought it
went down as far as Argentina). Yesterday, Mr. Cain's reassessment came to its denouement: he suspended
his campaign (English translation: he quit the race for the nomination but left the door technically open
so that anyone who wants to pay off his campaign debts is legally allowed to do so).
The big question now is where do his supporters go? To start with, there aren't many left.
He is currently polling at 8% nationally.
Most of them have already jumped ship to Newt Gingrich, who has the support of 38% of Republicans nationally
according to a new
Mitt Romney is second at 17% and the rest are in the single digits.
Perhaps a more interesting question is why Michele Bachmann is still in the race. Her 15 minutes
of fame have come and gone and she is now polling at 4%. It is probably no consolation that this is
as good as Rick Perry, who has a long track record of winning elections and has bundles of money.
Might she follow Cain's example and drop out, too?
Why is she staying in? Here are some possible theories.
First, she is delusional and thinks she might yet become President. If so, she is probably the only
person who thinks so. Second, she is staying in to help the conservative cause. Actually, she is
hurting the conservative cause because what conservatives badly need now is to coalesce behind one
not-Romney candidate. If she were to end her campaign and support either Gingrich or Perry she would
reduce the chances of Romney winning Iowa in a badly splintered conservative field. Third, she is
staying in to help women candidates in the future. Except no Republican woman in high office has
endorsed Bachmann. They see her more of an embarrassment than anything else.
If Lloyd Bentsen were alive now and could speak to
her he might say: "Congresswoman, I worked with Hillary Clinton, I know Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton
is a friend of mine. Congresswoman, you're no Hillary Clinton."
Fourth, maybe she just has a big ego. Happens to politicians in both parties all the time, although
ego-itis is known to afflict men more than women.
Most likely she'll be crushed in Iowa and then drop out.
Gingrich Pulls Away in Iowa
from Ann Seltzer, the legendary Iowa pollster, shows that Iowa has become a three-way race, with
Gingrich at 25%, Ron Paul at 18%, and Mitt Romney at 16%. The rest are down in the weeds somewhere.
Seltzer is very special and her Iowa polls are taken very seriously because she has an excellent track
record. The problem with polling the Iowa caucuses is that turnout is so low. Only 120,000 Republicans
turned out in 2008 (but 680,000 Iowans voted for John McCain). So when only 18% of Iowa Republicans
go to the caucuses, figuring out which interviews to count and which not to count involves a great
deal of black magic, something that the computers at Rasmussen, PPP, and SurveyUSA don't have.
Selzer has figured this out. But of course, the race is extremely volatile and by the January 3
caucuses, Rick Santorum could be leading the pack for all we know now.
Still, if things don't change too much and Romney puts a lot of money and effort into Iowa and comes in
third behind Ron Paul, the news the next day is all going to be about how the Washington establishment
likes Romney but the voters don't. A big win for Gingrich in Iowa might propel him to victory in New
Hampshire a week later and then a big win in South Carolina. At that point we could be in for a long slog.
But again, this year has been so freaky, there is a 10% chance Santa Claus could win the Iowa caucuses.
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