Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Perry In, Pawlenty Out

For the first time in nearly two months, the landscape of the Republican primary has significantly changed. Rick Perry's entry and Tim Pawlenty's exit both made an impact. Elephant Watcher has recalculated the odds of each candidate's chances of winning the nomination.

Bachmann +1% -- Perry's entry may not snuff out Bachmann's loyal base, but it puts a ceiling on her chances in Iowa. Fortunately for her, the electable Tim Pawlenty is no longer a factor there.

Cain -2% -- Cain has suffered from Bachmann's hogging of the Tea Party spotlight, but Perry makes matters much worse. Cain will struggle to get any attention.

Christie -9% -- Perry hopes to fill the vacuum in the race. Though he may not succeed, his presence will, for a time at least, diminish the Republicans' hunger for a new candidate. Pawlenty's departure adds to the void of electable conservatives, but his time was to come later, and Christie's decision on whether or not to run will need to be made soon.

Gingrich -- Like Cain, Gingrich will struggle for attention now that Perry is taking up much of the oxygen. Gingrich has failed to demonstrate that he knows he must make his stand in New Hampshire, not Iowa. But there are many debates left on the calendar.

Huntsman -- Though Huntsman should benefit from the electable Pawlenty's departure, he has not been able to make any progress against Romney. Unless he goes on the attack, he will need to hope for self-destruction on Romney's part.

Palin -1% -- Few serious observers have seen any sign that Palin intends to run; if she ever did, Bachmann stole her thunder. But Perry puts the final nail in her coffin. Palin now has a zero percent chance of becoming the Republican nominee.

Paul -- Ron Paul can never be the Republican nominee, and that will not change unless a mass extinction event occurs.

Pawlenty -15% -- Pawlenty suffered from Perry's entry, which allowed another candidate to suck up all the oxygen in Iowa and present an alternative to Bachmann. Pawlenty still had a chance to win, but he forfeited it by quitting the race.

Perry +16% -- Perry already had a strong chance to win Iowa, and Pawlenty's departure increased it all the more. Aside from Christie and Romney, no highly electable candidate is competing there. Perry's real challenge is to defeat the winner of New Hampshire, who will argue Perry is not so electable.

Romney +10% -- With Pawlenty out, only Christie and Huntsman can seriously argue they are as electable as Romney. Christie may not run, and Huntsman may not run very hard.

Santorum -- Try as he might, Santorum cannot appear on anyone's radar, and that's no way to win an election.