Friday, November 11, 2011
The "not-Romney" candidate: Cain/Gingrich
When I saw the CBS poll out this morning showing Cain leading the Republican race with 18% followed by Romney and Gingrich tied at 15% - I, like many others, dismissed it as a possible outlier.
But now McClatchy has released another poll today showing Romney at 23% with Gingrich in second place (19%) and Cain in third (17%).
What these two polls say to me is that right now we might have a 3-way tie for the Republican nomination.
For those of you who think Cain is a goner because of the sexual harassment charges, take a look at the fact that the CBS poll reports that "six in 10 Republican primary voters say the charges of sexual harassment against Cain make no difference to their vote" and McClatchy finds that "by 22-69, they [Republicans] said he should not quit the campaign."
What has been hampering the "not-Romney" faction of the Republican divide is that they have too many contenders (Cain, Perry, Gingrich, Bachman) which splinters their support. For months now I've been wondering what would happen if a couple of them dropped out of the race or teamed up to work together. As I started writing about a few weeks ago, I'm beginning to see signs that the later is exactly what's happening with Cain and Gingrich. Between the two of them, they currently have 33% of the vote in the CBS poll and 36% in McClathchy's. That's not a majority yet, but it sure beats Romney.
The first indication of this for me was how Gingrich cozied up to Cain in the early debates. And then there was the the love-fest they called a Lincoln/Douglas debate between the two of them where they casually joked about a GOP ticket including both of them.
Now take a look at a video put out by a Gingrich super-PAC where - in a truly Orwellian type twist - Gingrich folks criticize the GOP candidates for criticizing each other. Notice which candidate is missing from being identified as taking part in the critiques.
At the least what we have here is Gingrich successfully drafting Cain (in bicycling terminology). A second possibility would be the two of them hanging in through to a potentially brokered convention and then teaming up to combine their delegates. But I also wouldn't put it past these two guys to defy conventional wisdom and peremptorily announce a ticket of P/VP at some point.
I'm not suggesting they'll be successful. But in the search for a "not-Romney" candidate, I would say that Cain/Gingrich is the most likely scenario.