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Posted by on Nov 15, 2011 in Politics | 4 comments

Quote of the Day: Forget All the Polls Because Romney Will Wrap It Up

Our political Quote of the Day comes from Investor’’s Andrew Malcolm, who says forget all the polls and hype:former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is going to wrap the 2012 Republican nomination up. Here’s his key quote:

Although Romney’s poll standings have rarely exceeded 25% among Republicans, that’s actually not that bad in an eight-person contest. Since spring individual GOP challengers have come close to Romney or moved slightly ahead, like Herman Cain and this week Newt Gingrich, thanks to accumulating respect for his debating acumen.

But Cain is fading now, like Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Donald Trump before him. And Gingrich has neither the money nor organization to sustain a major national effort. Even if the brainy former speaker can persuade Iowa’s evangelical caucus-goers to look past the baggage of his previous personal life and he wins there on Jan. 3, then what?

Romney’s been organizing nationally virtually since he conceded to John McCain in 2008. And with his personal fortune, he needs no one’s line of credit, not even Tiffany’s. Second time around, Romney’s looked poised, confident, presidential in the debates. No OMG moments requiring damage control. Steady as she goes is the campaign motto and it’s worked.

Part of the reason why the “ground game” is overlooked is that the old and new media cover polls so heavily. Yours truly pleads guilty on this as well, since polls should not be dismissed. But, as Malcolm points out, polls also need to be viewed within the context of a candidate’s organization — the ground game he/she has out there, and the quality (and experience) of the candidate’s advisors. Gingrich lost a batch of his key people some months ago. Now that he’s a hot commodity in the political polls again, it’s likely he’ll start hiring and expanding. But will that be enough to match slow and steady Romney’s consistent infusion of money into organization, staff — and the collection of opposition research? And, keep in mind, Romney has not used his material against Gingrich. Not yet..

In 2008, fellow former governor Mike Huckabee surprised Romney, who’d invested millions in Iowa, and took the caucuses with about a third of the votes, his only victory. This time Romney is wisely campaigning enough there so no one can say he’s offended the state by writing it off. But no one expects him to capture Iowa either. A second or even third place finish wouldn’t cripple him.

Because the very next week is New Hampshire’s primary. A parttime resident, Romney has long ruled Granite state polls. The only threat there now is another ex-governor, Jon Huntsman, who’s putting all of his eggs in that snowy basket, mixed with national media appearances.

But consistently garnering only one-to-three percent in national polls, Huntsman’s odds seem longer than even John McCain’s chances in 2000, when he doggedly went living room-to-living room and handily beat George W. Bush there.

The irony with Romney continues to be this: he would be a godsend of a candidate for the GOP if this had been another election cycle. And so we see many conservative GOPers scrambling to find someone — anyone — who can run as the Anti-Romney and get the nomination away from Romney, the candidate that polls show is probably best positioned to attract important independent voters to the GOP ticket.

If Romney wraps it up the question will then be: will Republicans enthusiastically rally behind him?

Malcolm concludes with this telling tidbit:

Many tea party followers remain unconvinced of Romney’s genuine conservative credentials, but they are also realistic. “I don’t know if I’d make it inevitable,” Romney critic Chris Chocola of the Club for Growth told Politico’s Maggie Haberman. “But when you take everything into consideration, it’s likely he’ll get the nomination.” Chocola acknowledged some recent bolder Romney gestures toward the right.

The strategy seems to be to give rockbed conservatives enough to at least acquiesce to a Romney nomination which, in turn, gives Romney maximum maneuver room next year to move to the middle where the real election struggle will occur.

And the polls? They continue to show drama. Such as:

Herman Cain, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich are in a dead heat as the top choices for Iowans likely to attend the Jan. 3 Republican presidential caucuses.

A Bloomberg News poll shows Cain at 20 percent, Paul at 19 percent, Romney at 18 percent and Gingrich at 17 percent among the likely attendees with the caucuses that start the nominating contests seven weeks away.

Economic issues such as jobs, taxes and government spending are driving voter sentiment, rather than such social issues as abortion and gay marriage, the poll finds. Only about a quarter of likely caucus-goers say social or constitutional issues are more important to them, compared with 71 percent who say fiscal concerns.

The poll reflects the race’s fluidity, with 60 percent of respondents saying they still could be persuaded to back someone other than their top choice, and 10 percent undecided. Paul’s support is more solidified than his rivals, while Cain’s is softer. All of the major contenders have issue challenges to address.