This should really make your day!
Re: From The Iowa Republican
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the four fresh faces are leading the polls in Iowa. It’s only natural to want to get to know or have a favorable opinion of new and emerging leaders. This isn’t just evident in recent polls, but we have seen these fresh faces get a better response from the audience at each of the multi-candidate events that have been held in Iowa this year. The oldest of the bunch is Rand Paul, who is only 52 years-old. Walker, Rubio, and Cruz are still in their forties.
As the 2016 Republican field takes shape, the early advantage goes to those who have that “new candidate smell.” It’s important to realize, however, that it’s just that, an advantage. If previous election cycles have taught us anything, it’s that polls tell us very little about the race until the actual contests nears.
Case in point, Iowa polls in May of 2007 showed Rudy Giuliani narrowly leading John McCain. Things looked good for the national frontrunners in Iowa at the time. Giuliani’s Real Clear Politics poll average on May 1st was at 22.3 percent, McCain’s average was 21.5 percent. One month later, both candidates announced that they would not participate in the Republican Party of Iowa’s Straw Poll that year, and while both maintained a presence in Iowa throughout the caucuses, neither were real factors in Iowa.
Mitt Romney, the national frontrunner in 2012, faired much better. In May of 2011, Romney led the Republican field in Iowa. Newt Gingrich was in second place, followed by Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Herman Cain and Rick Santorum. The polls in Iowa and nationally throughout the fall were tumultuous to say the least. And while Romney remained strong in Iowa, the early polls never identified the eventual caucus winner, which was also the case with the early polls in 2008.
When you look at these early polls, one needs to realize that respondents oftentimes project their feelings on a candidate that they have yet to meet or fully know. Just look at the latest Quinnipiac Poll in Iowa. Respondents were asked whether a candidate’s position on issues were too conservative, not conservative enough, or just about right. Guess who likely caucus goers think is, “just about right?” Sen. Marco Rubio.
Sixty-five percent of respondents said that Rubio’s positions are “just about right.” I hope Quinnipiac asks that same question in five months because, instead of scoring at 65 percent on the questions, I’m pretty sure that Rubio will be somewhere in the low fifties. Why is that the case? Because people are projecting what they want to believe on a currently popular candidate they don’t yet fully know. It shouldn’t surprise you that Gov. Scott Walker also scored high in this category. Again, as people begin to interact with the candidates and know their positions on a multitude of issues, the polling will change.
The early polls indicate that there is a lot of interest in Walker in Iowa. You don’t need a poll to figure that out. There is also interest in Rubio, Paul, and Cruz. Not only is that a good sign for those candidates, but it also gives them the green light to come to Iowa and turn the interest into real support. Jeb Bush had a green light in Iowa a few months ago, but instead being aggressive and starting to reach out to Iowans, his campaign never really engaged here, which makes being successful here much more difficult than it should be.
And even though the polls don’t show it, I think it would be a big mistake to think someone like Mike Huckabee has seen his moment pass. The former caucus winner is perhaps the most personable candidate in the Republican field, and his communication skills are unmatched. Unlike Rick Santorum and Rick Perry who also ran for president before, Huckabee enters the 2016 race as a much stronger candidate. Huckabee is better known, better organized, and has a more experienced team in place than he did in 2008. It would be difficult for other candidates to say the same.
Huckabee himself is also a better candidate than he was eight years ago. In his announcement speech in Hope, Arkansas, on Tuesday, Huckabee not only rolled out a wide-ranging platform, but he also found ways to jab pretty much all of his likely opponents. Huckabee didn’t mention any names. He didn’t have to, but if there was an area in which he struggled in the 2008 race, it was his inability to aggressively campaign against his opponents.
On Wednesday night, Huckabee told a crowd of 250 to 300 who gathered to see him at Living History Farms that he was happy to be back in Iowa. “You know the craziest thing I’ve had to deal with over the past several months is people have said: ‘Well, I don’t know if I’ll be with Huckabee or not. I’m just not sure he’s going to run.’ And I’m thinking: ‘How many bread crumbs have I got to leave on the trail before the birds get the idea here?’”
With Huckabee now officially in the race, the race is on for the support of the most loyal and dedicated block of caucus goers – Christian conservatives. While some of Huckabee’s most loyal backers from 2008 are still with him, he’s going to have to win back the support of others who are going to do their due diligence and vet the entire field regardless of who they have supported in the past.
Still, when you are looking at the all the polls that are coming out that show Walker or some other new face in the lead, just remember that there is a familiar figure in mirror who maybe closer to the lead than they appear.
Re: This should really make your day!
Milligan, seeing that image of a Christian Church, with the cross and steeple rising up into the heavens reminds me of an article I read earlier from the AP about how China is trying to stop the spread of Christianity in China, and has outlawed buildings with a cross on their roofs showing the Christian symbol.
Just like capitalism is spreading in communist China as allowed, so is Christianity. There should be an ironic and hopeful message in that for us here in the states.