Politico Throws Bucket of Cold Water on GOP Contenders: They Can't Even Carry Their Home States

In a June 16 story for the Politico, Molly Ball surveyed the existing GOP presidential field and essentially buried them all as pathetic losers who couldn't even carry their home states. The article headlined: "The GOP's Unfavorite Son Primary" detailed how current candidates Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain and even undeclared ones like Rick Perry and Sarah Palin would have trouble winning statewide races.

Yes, you read that right. According to Ball, Perry could struggle to beat Obama in Texas and Palin could fall to the President in Alaska.

Ball began her story this way:


Mitt Romney had a ready answer Tuesday when asked about his Massachusetts health care law. "I am not running for governor of Massachusetts," he said. "I am running for president of the United States. It's a good thing — if he were running in his home state again, he'd probably lose.

Romney's not the only presidential hopeful whose home state popularity is lagging. Just about all of the GOP presidential candidates would have a hard time winning their own states if they ended up as the party nominee, which may factor into the thinking among many Republicans that the 2012 field is lackluster.

The phenomenon marks a departure from the campaign days of old when "favorite son" candidates could point to their home-state popularity as a crucial part of their sales pitch.

The 2012 field, by contrast, is largely made up of unfavorite sons.

Ball would go on to dissect all the other candidates.

On Pawlenty:

Ball ruled out Pawlenty's chances by writing that he "never received a majority of the vote in Minnesota in his two successful runs for governor."

On Bachmann:

Ball claimed she "almost certainly couldn't win the state — her high-water mark in her own GOP-friendly district was 53 percent, registered during the Republican landslide year of 2010." As further proof of both Bachmann and Pawlenty's weakness as candidates Ball cited a Democratic polling firm: "In statewide polls conducted by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling, both had higher unfavorable ratings than favorable."

On Santorum:

"It's a similar story in Pennsylvania, where voters drummed Rick Santorum out of the Senate by 18 percentage points-he was the rare incumbent to lose by a blowout margin."

On Palin:

"...once an overwhelmingly popular governor of Alaska, saw her statewide approval decline after the 2008 presidential campaign, then crash after she left office in July 2009."

On Perry:

"Even in the red state of Texas, voters aren't wild about their potential entrant into the 2012 field, Gov. Rick Perry. A recent PPP survey found Perry’s poll numbers underwater, with the governor viewed favorably by 42 percent and unfavorably by 50 percent. And among the state’s Republicans, just 4 percent wanted Perry to be the GOP nominee, according to a poll conducted by the University of Texas and the Texas Tribune."

On Jon Huntsman:

Amusingly Ball claims that even though Huntsman "remains relatively popular back home" in Utah he too "has an asterisk by his name - a February survey of state Republicans by the Exoro Group showed Romney crushing Huntsman in a primary, 65 percent to 16 percent." But throughout the story Ball ties Romney to Massachusetts. So wouldn't Huntsman easily carry Utah, then?

On Georgians Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich:

"Newt Gingrich, who has yet to set foot in his campaign's Georgia headquarters, would lose the state to President Barack Obama, according to one recent poll. Fellow Georgian Herman Cain ran once for statewide office and failed to make it out of a Senate primary."

On Gary Johnson:

"...the long-shot former New Mexico governor who was excluded from Tuesday's presidential debate...would likely lose his home state's primary." 

 

So, there you have it. According to Ball's logic, every Republican currently or even considering a national run for president are only doing so because they can't get any traction in their home states.  

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Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.