N2K: Is Mitch Daniels the GOP’s Best Bet Against Obama?

Add to Briefcase
April 27, 2011, 1:31 p.m.

A Fox News poll; con­duc­ted 10/9 by Pulse Opin­ion Re­search (IVR); sur­veyed 1,000 LVs; mar­gin of er­ror +/- 3.1% (re­lease, 10/12). Party ID break­down: 46%D, 35%R, 19%I. Tested: New Castle Co. Ex­ec Chris Coons (D) and ‘08 nom­in­ee/‘06 can­did­ate/mar­ket­ing con­sult­ant Christine O’Don­nell (R). Note: Pulse Opin­ion Re­search uses “meth­od­o­logy and pro­ced­ures li­censed from” Rasmussen Re­ports (IVR).

Gen­er­al Elec­tion Match­up

- All Dem GOP Ind Men Wom 9/18 C. Coons 54% 83% 20% 49% 52% 57% 54% C. O’Don­nell 38 11 73 40 40 36 39 Oth­er 3 3 3 3 4 2 2 Un­dec 5 3 4 8 4 5 5


- All Dem GOP Ind Men Wom C. Coons 50%/38% 79%/10% 17%/72% 42%/45% 47%/43% 52%/34% C. O’Don­nell 33 /58 11 /80 64 /29 29 /60 36 /57 30 /60

(For more from this poll, please see today’s DE In The States stor­ies.)

NORTH­FIELD, N.H. —The scene is a rus­tic old build­ing perched on a pretty river in the cen­ter of the state. The walls are knotty pine, and the pot-bel­lied stoves are put­ting out real heat.

It is stand­ing room only in the middle of the day and the middle of the week, and every­body is there for “¦ Rick San­tor­um.

GOP pres­id­en­tial can­did­ate Rick San­tor­um on the cam­paign trail. (Flickr/Gage Skid­more)

The last time I saw the former sen­at­or from Pennsylvania on the cam­paign trail, he was mak­ing a lonely bid for at­ten­tion at the Iowa straw poll last Au­gust. That day, there was bar­be­cue and dan­cing in Michele Bach­mann‘s tent. Rick Perry was about to an­nounce he was get­ting in the race. It was all very ex­cit­ing, with mu­sic and bal­loons and faux vot­ing. And San­tor­um could not buy at­ten­tion for love or money.

Need­less to say, things have changed.

Un­like the pro­longed Iowa caucus cam­paign, which ended in a fin­ish so tight that they were still fight­ing by week’s end about wheth­er Mitt Rom­ney had won by eight or nine votes, New Hamp­shire’s fi­nal week is cold, slip­pery, and in­tense.

Ad­vert­ising crowds the air­waves, ac­cus­ing Rom­ney of be­ing in­sin­cere (Jon Hunts­man) and the world be­ing on the pre­cip­ice of dis­aster (Ron Paul). One New Hamp­shire voter who is plan­ning to vote Re­pub­lic­an this year told me she got a call dur­ing the week from the Obama cam­paign.

No one, it seems, can af­ford to look away, or at least not for long. Rom­ney, whose double-di­git New Hamp­shire lead has be­gun erod­ing since Iowa, ducked out to cam­paign in South Car­o­lina but was back in the Gran­ite State the next day. Paul took a few days off, but ar­rived by week’s end to en­er­gize his in­cred­ibly loy­al band of fol­low­ers.

Newt Gin­grich is hopscotch­ing every­where, prom­ising at al­most every step to take his best shot at Rom­ney. And Hunts­man, who for­sook Iowa on the off chance that he could un­der­cut Rom­ney, a former Mas­sachu­setts gov­ernor, on prac­tic­ally his own home turf, is hop­ing for a San­tor­um-like surge of his own.

Hunts­man has been telling any­one who will listen that the Iowa caucus res­ults, where Rom­ney won about a quarter of the vote, were really a re­pu­di­ation of the front-run­ner—be­cause 75 per­cent of the caucus-go­ers raised their hands for someone else.

That leaves Hunts­man to make his own pitch for his share of that 75, be they con­ser­vat­ive, mod­er­ate or—es­pe­cially—among New Hamp­shire’s fam­ous, feisty in­de­pend­ents.

GOP can­did­ate Jon Hunts­man speaks with Gwen Ifill. (PBS News­Hour)

“No ques­tion about it, if you were to dis­ag­greg­ate our town-hall meet­ing in New Hamp­shire, the av­er­age town-hall meet­ing, you would see that there are Re­pub­lic­ans, a whole lot of in­de­pend­ents, and even Demo­crats who are show­ing up,” Hunts­man told me.

When I asked wheth­er that makes him the choice of mod­er­ate Re­pub­lic­ans, he res­isted the char­ac­ter­iz­a­tion. He has, Hunts­man said, “cross-cut­ting ap­peal.”

“I have a hard time with people put­ting la­bels on your fore­head,” he said. “I think that’s un­fair in polit­ics. And some people ac­tu­ally con­fuse a mod­er­ate tem­pera­ment with a mod­er­ate track re­cord.”

Hunts­man, who snagged a Bo­ston Globe en­dorse­ment on Fri­day, may be the only Re­pub­lic­an can­did­ate res­ist­ing la­bels. Al­most every­one is a “con­sist­ent con­ser­vat­ive,” “a lead­er,” or, in the case of Paul, “the one we’ve been look­ing for.”

Some­times this makes for jar­ring jux­ta­pos­i­tions. Watch­ing 2008 GOP nom­in­ee John Mc­Cain take the stage to en­dorse Rom­ney on Wed­nes­day did noth­ing to erase the memory of Mc­Cain savaging Rom­ney in this same primary con­test only four years ago.

And watch­ing San­tor­um struggle through a crush of voters (and let’s face it, re­port­ers like me) only weeks after be­ing treated like polit­ic­al road kill is an­oth­er re­mind­er that topsy-turvy polit­ics nev­er gets old.

New Hamp­shire voters, it’s over to you.

What We're Following See More »
House Plans to Recess on Friday
2 hours ago
Manafort Subpoenaed by Judiciary Committee
2 hours ago

"The Senate Judiciary Committee has subpoenaed Paul Manafort to appear publicly before the committee on Wednesday. Committee leaders Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) announced Tuesday that they had subpoenaed Manafort on Monday night."

US Navy Ship Fired Warning Shots at Iranian Boat
2 hours ago

"A US Navy ship fired warning shots at an armed Iranian patrol boat Tuesday in the northern end of the Persian Gulf, according to two US defense officials. The Iranian boat is believed to have been operated by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, according to a defense official familiar with details of the incident. The officials said the Iranian boat approached and came within 150 yards of the US ship." The Iranian boat didn't respond to warnings. Fearing collision, the Navy ship fired warning shots into the water and then the Iranian ship stopped, but lingered in the area.

Trump Floats Cruz for AG
2 hours ago

"President Trump and his advisers are privately discussing the possibility of replacing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and some confidants are floating prospects who could take his place were he to resign or be fired, according to people familiar with the talks." Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) is one prospect. But "in a statement released late Monday, Cruz said he is 'deeply gratified that we have a principled conservative like Jeff Sessions serving as Attorney General. The stories being reported in the media tonight are false. My focus is and will remain on fighting every day to defend 28 million Texans in the U.S. Senate.'"

Shutdown Odds Grow with Wall Funding
2 hours ago

"House Republicans this week are increasing the possibility of a government shutdown in October by moving forward with a $788 billion spending bill that complies with President Donald Trump’s demands to boost the military, reduce clean-energy programs and fund a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Those priorities, especially $1.6 billion in wall funding, guarantee House and Senate Democratic leaders will oppose the bill. Trump has urged his Republican supporters in Congress to fight, saying in May that a 'good' shutdown may be needed to advance his agenda."


Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.