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Political Insiders Poll: Who is Leading the GOP Field? Political Insiders Poll: Who is Leading the GOP Field?

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Political Insiders Poll

Political Insiders Poll: Who is Leading the GOP Field?

Rank the top five candidates, 1 through 5, in terms of who you think is most likely to capture the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

Republicans (107 Votes)

Candidate and Rank: 1. Romney
Index Score: 93


Candidate and Rank: 2. Perry
Index Score: 74

Candidate and Rank: 3. Pawlenty
Index Score: 40

Candidate and Rank: 4. Bachmann
Index Score: 35


Candidate and Rank: 5. Huntsman
Index Score: 22

Candidate and Rank: 6. Christie
Index Score: 10

Candidate and Rank: 7. Cain
Index Score: 3

Candidate and Rank:  7. Giuliani
Index Score: 3


Candidate and Rank: 7. Palin
Index Score: 3

Candidate and Rank: 7. Paul
Index Score: 3


Mitt Romney

“Professional, experienced operation. Unexciting, but best hope to beat Obama.”

“No one is laying a glove on him.”

“Romney continues to set an impressive pace.”

“Republicans decide whose turn it is before the race even starts. Nobody, announced or otherwise, has the stature, passion, or money to take this away from Romney.”

“It is still Romney’s to lose. Perry will alter the landscape, but there is nothing about how the GOP handles its primaries that suggests he will emerge as the nominee.”

“A stronger front-runner than understood. Methodically he is taking states off the board. The debt crisis plays to the economic cluster of issues that he owns. Changers come and challengers go, and he remains constant.”

“The Republican electorate is predictable, and Romney will be the nominee if the tea party doesn’t overtake the process.”

“Romney is still the candidate to beat, but the fact that people are craving an alternative shows his weakness.”

“It’s effectively a two-man race between Romney and Perry. If Palin runs, it’s a one-man race with Romney on top.”

“Looking more and more likely that generic ‘not Obama’ candidate will do just fine.”

“Even if he survives, Perry drags him too far right to win the general election.”

“The three-ring circus going on around him makes him look more presidential by the day.”

Rick Perry

“If Rick Perry gets in, he becomes the immediate challenger to Romney.”

“Not sure the country is ready for another Texas governor, but at least his name isn’t Bush.”

“Perry looks like Captain America now, but could be a dud. The first few weeks will be the key indicator. I fear the current field is a ‘race to the bottom’ in terms of candidate appeal.”

“If and when Perry gets in, he will shoot to the top, as he can draw from the tea party and establishment voters. He has more juice than Bachmann and is viewed as more authentic than Romney.”

“He’s a tea partier with governing credentials. That’s a tough combo to beat, in a primary anyway.”

“This is where he fits ‘on paper,’ but until he actually gets in, it is hard to say. It is a conceptual candidacy based totally on assumptions. Assumptions don’t always stand up when you get in the game andhave to play by another set of rules than your own.”

“If he gets in, he will be formidable, but he will be getting in late, and historically that hasn’t worked.”

“Perry is the only viable candidate left who has potential support from both longtime and new Republican activists.”

“Today’s flavor, but will likely fade under close scrutiny.”

Tim Pawlenty

“Maybe his Iowa organization brings him back to life in Ames.”

“Pawlenty will be the veep no matter who is nominated, unless T-Paw wins the Iowa Straw Poll. Then, watch out.”

“Has trouble closing, but is a solid citizen who can beat Obama.”

“Failure to launch.”

“Pawlenty’s best shot is if everyone above collapses.”

“The only story the press likes to write more than the end of a candidacy is the return to life of a candidacy seen as on the edge of defeat. That is the good news, but the reality is that’s hard to do.”

“He is running on fumes, but he can still turn it around.”

Michele Bachmann

“She will never be nominated, but this is where she fits right now. She must win the straw poll impressively—not to be KO’d when Perry gets in. She does have an undeniable brand and passion on her side.”

This article appears in the August 6, 2011 edition of National Journal Magazine.

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