A new WMUR survey of the Republican Presidential field shows that Jon Huntsman has joined Tim Pawlenty at the very bottom of the presidential pile in New Hampshire. While Pawlenty and Huntsman have each chosen to concentrate on different early states (Pawlenty staking himself to Iowa, with Huntsman spending early time and resources in New Hampshire) both have enjoyed remarkably similar success in each state. Their candidacies, like huge mountains of jello, appear ready to topple at the first sign of pressure. The WMUR poll shows Romney leading, with 35% of the vote, followed by Michelle Bachmann at 12%, Ron Paul and Rudy Giuliani at 7%, Governor Rick Perry at 4%, Pawlenty at 3%, and Huntsman and Herman Cain both at 2%. Both Pawlenty and Huntsman can be comforted by knowing that they are easily topping Newt Gingrich, who stands tall at 1%. Santorum is not even worth mentioning, although I did enjoy his internet ad attacking Jon Huntsman.
For those that say that paying attention to early polls is silly I say nonsense. (I do admit to wanting another quick poll fix after the euphoria of seeing Gingrich at 1% wears off.) The surveys are showing us things that may shape the race in the immediate future, such as a need for the anti-Romney forces to either coalesce around a new candidate, or get with Bachmann. Everyone else in the Republican field is a zombie. Spare me the potential entry of Rudy Giuliani, a man destined to join Pawlenty and Huntsman at the bottom of the pile if he enters. Governor Rick Perry has Republican potential, but he is a dagger aimed at the semi-rise of Michelle Bachmann. Romney, in my opinion, will flick him off like a flea. Organization and money are what counts now, and the Mittster is far ahead of all on both counts. Does it mean he can’t be caught. No it does not, but the idea that “potential candidates” designed to stop Romney have plenty of time to make up their minds is funny. Romney is working and building while these guys are dipping their toes gingerly into the water. Let them take all the time in the world.
Romney released his quarterly fundraising totals, and they did not meet media expectations. The Romney campaign did a poor job of managing the expectations game on this issue. Comparisons with his last last campaign as well as internal documents built larger expectations, but Romney still outpaced the field by a large margin. Those numbers:
Mitt Romney $18.3 million
Ron Paul $4.5 million
Tim Pawlenty $4.2 million
Jon Huntsman $4.1 million
Herman Cain $2.5 million
Newt Gingrich $2 million ($1 million of debt)
I eagerly await the Bachmann totals, which should outstrip all but Romney. Bachmann’s candidacy is routinely dismissed by pundits, who simply cannot fathom the idea of her nomination. Many of those same people probably poo-pooed the idea of over 200 Republican votes in the House taking the position that a debt default by the United States would be no big deal. Yes it is a “different” Republican Party, and I think that Bachmann will do some real damage before this is over. That will be a “shot heard around the world”.