NH Presidential Primary: It’s Early

Six months before the New Hampshire presidential primary, John Toole interviews voters shopping in Londonderry to get their take on the Republican candidates.

Who is Romney? ”I think he’s a Democrat. He was governor of, was it Massachusetts? And he ran in the last election,” said Aaron Starkman of Londonderry.

Who is Gingrich? ”He’s a Massachusetts political figure,” said Maureen Glasier of Derry.

Who is Bachmann? ”She is crazy. But that’s all I know,” said Cindy Walker of Derry.

Who is Huntsman? Nobody knew.

Who is Pawlenty? ”Governor of Illinois or something like that,” Glasier said.

His conclusion? It’s early.

CNHT Straw Poll Results (Ho Hum)

The New Hampshire Tea Party folks (about 150 of them) got together yesterday for a little politicking. The straw poll held at the Coalition of New Hampshire Taxpayers’ annual picnic is an indication of who’s winning the hearts and minds of the GOP’s extreme right-wing activists. This year, as if to prove their irrelevance, they’re supporting Ron Paul and Rick Santorum.

Ron Paul 63 (39%)
Rick Santorum 20 (12%)
Michele Bachmann 17 (11%)
Herman Cain 17 (11%)
Mitt Romney 14 (9%)
Tim Pawlenty 12 (7%)
Gary Johnson 11 (7%)
Thaddeus McCotter 3 (2%)
Rick Perry (write-in) 2 (1%)
Jon Huntsman 1 (1%)
Alan Keyes (write-in) 1 (1%)

Nate Silver on How Tim Pawlenty Is Like RC Cola

Nate Silver plots the GOP presiential candidates based on their ideology and positioning within the Republican establishment and finds Tim Pawlenty to be in an enviable position, ”pretty much smack-dab in the middle of the field.”

But then he notes that this representation is really too simple. In reality, the candidates encroach on one another’s territory, like so.

Since Pawlenty is situated in the middle of the field, he has more competition.

Mr. Pawlenty is not intrinsically well differentiated from his opponents. A lot of voters might find him acceptable — but the types of voters who find him acceptable will also tend to find a lot of other candidates acceptable.

Since someone like Mr. Pawlenty doesn’t distinguish himself on the basis of the fundamentals, he instead needs to stand out on the basis of superficial factors.

[He] has to compete against the big brands — and the risk is that he’ll become the next Schlitz Beer or RC Cola.

Magellan: Romney Maintains Big NH Primary Lead

Mitt Romney continues to maintain his front-runner position in the New Hampshire GOP presidential primary in a new survey from Magellan Strategies. 42% of those surveyed say if the election were held today, they would vote for Romney. His closest competitors are Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann with 10% each.

Compared to an earlier survey from Magellan, Romney has about the same level of support as he had at the beginning of the year. Michelle Bachmann, who was not included in the January poll, has gained the most, while support for Palin and Gingrich has dropped significantly.

Mitt Romney: 42% (January 2011: 39%)
Ron Paul: 10% (7%)
Michele Bachmann: 10% (n/a)
Sarah Palin 7% (16%)
Rudy Giuliani 6% (n/a)
Tim Pawlenty: 5% (4%)
Herman Cain: 4% (n/a)
Newt Gingrich: 3% (8%)
Jon Huntsman: 3% (n/a)
Rick Santorum: 2% (3%) 

A finding that could play a a significant role in the primary results is that just 63% of these likely voters self-identify as conservative on most issues. 32% identify themselves as moderate and 4% liberal. 72% of the Republicans said they are conservative compared to just 39% of Independents. Undeclared voters, those who are not registered as Republicans or Democrats, are eligible to vote in the GOP primary.

The survey results are based on an autodial survey of 727 likely Republican primary voters and undeclared voters likely to vote in the 2012 Republican Presidential primary. The interviews were conducted June 14-15, 2011. This survey has a margin of error of +/‐ 3.63% at the 95 percent confidence interval.

Debate Wrap-up: What Are They Talking About?

Quote of the Day: It’s a Joke

This plan isn’t optimistic. It isn’t a bit vague. It’s a joke. And I don’t know which is worse: The thought that Pawlenty knows that and went forward with this pandering, fantasy-based proposal anyway, or the thought that he doesn’t know it, and he really thinks this could work.

— Ezra Klein, on Tim Pawlenty’s economic plan

View From the Land of 10000 Lakes

Minnesota Public Radio:

Bachmann and Pawlenty at bottom of New Hampshire Poll

ICYMI: The NH GOP’s Underwhelming Cattle Call

Five GOP presidential wannabes were in the state this weekend for back-to-back cattle calls with Granite State Republicans. The results were so underwhelming that Fergus Cullen, former chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party declared, “The race needs more responsible adults who can actually do the job.”

Mitt Romney, the ostensible front runner, struggled.

Romney remains an exceptionally unnatural public speaker. To convey passion and excitement, he raises the pitch of his voice and imbues it with urgency. But it never quite clicks. His tone and affect are like that of an adult doing a dramatic reading of a pirate story to a wide-eyed three year old. It doesn’t help that he speaks too quickly and often trips over his lines. At points during his speech, Romney seemed to slip into a frenzy and start madly free associating economic buzzwords.

Romney was especially maladroit when he tried to ad-lib a Jimmy Carter-Barack Obama comparison about how Republicans need to hang the “Obama Misery Index” around Obama’s neck.

Romney repeated the “we’re going to hang him" locution once more and then, all of a sudden, in mid-sentence, seemed to realize that metaphors about hanging a black man probably wouldn’t redound to his political benefit. [VIDEO]

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Pawlenty, Romney Disavow Previous Policy Initiatives

Last night we were treated to the embarrassing spectacle of Republican presidential candidates denouncing their own policy initiatives. In the GOP’s zeal to oppose everything proposed by Pres. Obama, the party has abandoned many of its best ideas from the past. Republican orthodoxy requires policy makers who supported and implemented those ideas to now disavow them.

Exhibit #1: Cap-and-trade. This was originally a Republican market-based plan to protect the environment by raising the prices of pollutants to better account for their costs.

President George H.W. Bush wanted a solution that relied on the market rather than on government regulation. So in the Clean Air Act of 1990, he proposed a plan that would cap sulfur-dioxide emissions but let the market decide how to allocate the permits. That was “more compatible with economic growth than using only the command and control approaches of the past,” he said. The plan passed easily, with “aye” votes from Sen. Mitch McConnell and then-Rep. Newt Gingrich, among others.

In 2007, Tim Pawlenty endorsed cap-and-trade policies and signed into law a plan to aggressively reduce Minnesota’s greenhouse gas emissions. That was then, this is now. Last night he apologized.

Asked in a public question-and-answer session about his past support for a cap-and-trade-like program limiting carbon emissions, Pawlenty answered: “It was a mistake, it was stupid and I’m sorry.” And then he kept going. “I don’t try to defend it. Everybody’s got a couple of clunkers in their record,” Pawlenty continued, repeating: “I don’t try to defend it. It was dumb.”

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GOP Presidential Contenders in a Nutshell

Republican Presidential Conteders (The Ecomomist)

From The Economist.

Tim Pawlenty Cozies Up to NH Birthers

George Will recently described “vibrations of weirdness” emanating from the prospective GOP presidential candidates. He described their refusal to “recoil” from the birther movement as disqualifying them to be president and wrote, “Let us not mince words. There are at most five plausible Republican presidents on the horizon.” Umm, make that four plausible Republican presidents.

Chris Cillizza: Likely GOP presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty is set to have dinner in New Hampshire tomorrow with the sponsor of what’s been dubbed a “birther” bill. Freshman state Rep. Susan DeLemus, the wife of Granite State Patriots Liberty PAC leader Jerry DeLemus, sponsored legislation that that would require presidential candidates to present their birth certificates when filing to run for president in New Hampshire. Pawlenty is also attending a house party at the home of former Senate candidate and head of the Granite Oath PAC Ovide Lamontagne.

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