EDITOR OF REDSTATE
Morning Briefing for January 23, 2012
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The basic dynamics of the 2012 GOP nomination battle remain unchanged: the bulk of the GOP electorate doesn’t want Mitt Romney, but isn’t really sold on an alternative. Iowa’s voters broke late to Rick Santorum as the conservative alternative; South Carolina’s broke late, and much more decisively, to Newt Gingrich. It remains up to Newt now to prove he can hold together the conservatives going forward, as Santorum was not equipped or financed well enough to do.
It’s worth noting here the raw numbers. While the categories don’t perfectly describe the candidates or their supporters, it has been generally true that Romney and Jon Huntsman have appealed to the more moderate Republican primary voters; Gingrich, Santorum, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann to the more conservative voters; and Ron Paul to the libertarian voters. What we see in the first three states is that in South Carolina, as in Iowa, the conservative vote was a majority:
Iowa: Conservatives 53%, Moderates 26%, Libertarians 21%
New Hampshire: Moderates 56%, Libertarians 23%, Conservatives 19%
South Carolina: Conservatives 57%, Moderates 28%, Libertarians 17%
Mitt and Newt will both have trouble beating Barack Obama. Mitt’s trouble will come from Obama. Newt’s trouble from himself. But right now, the base doesn’t care.
Peter Hamby from CNN notes what is going to be a recipe for disaster for Mitt Romney as he tries to relate to the Republican base.
In South Carolina exit polls, Romney wins only the “moderate or liberal”, those with incomes in excess of $200,000.00, those with postgraduate education, those who oppose the tea party movement, and those who think religion does not matter at all.
A number of those have been consistent through Iowa and New Hampshire too.
Mitt Romney’s exit polling reflects he can get the votes of Washington, D.C. Republicans and those who think we should leave the fate of the country in their hands. But he cannot get the votes of those who think we need to reform and reduce the power of Washington, which I venture to say is a sizable portion of the base.
I can confirm tonight from multiple sources that phone calls are in fact occurring between Republicans in Washington and among evangelical leaders to raise money for Rick Santorum rapidly.
The sources tell me that this is not for a Santorum win, though the evangelicals I spoke to continue to hope it is possible. This is to stop Newt Gingrich. One evangelical leader I spoke to said, “If Newt wins, we won’t be able to make family values an issue in the general.” One lobbyist I spoke to said, “They [the GOP leaders in DC] are really nervous about Gingrich and they think he’d be a disaster. The best way to shut him down is to prop up Rick.”
Florida is going to get interesting.
Six House Democrats, led by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D’OH), have filed a bill aimed at controlling gasoline prices. Styled the “Gas Price Spike Act”, H.R. 3784 would establish a “Reasonable Profits Board” which would have the power to confiscate 100% of oil company profits above a level that they deem to be “reasonable”.
I know: “You had me at ‘Kucinich’.”