The “Galaxy” of 2012 GOP Stars

posted at 1:30 pm on February 5, 2011 by Jazz Shaw

Nate Silver, in his role as New York Times political poll analyst, has generated a graphical analysis of the various Republican contenders for the 2012 nomination. Clearly we’re still the better part of a year away from the primaries, but what else did you really have to do this weekend aside from arguing over election predictions? Let’s take a look at the graph and then spend a moment discussing how it was crafted.
The GOP Galaxy
We can skip over the relative merit of the chances assigned to each candidate (at least until the comments begin) since Nate took each person’s prospects for winning from their Intrade betting profile. Even the author doesn’t agree with all of them, but simply uses those values as a baseline. I’ll let Nate explain that part himself.

There are two more kinds of information embedded in the chart. First, the area of each candidate’s circle is proportional to their perceived likelihood of winning the nomination, according to the Intrade betting market. Mitt Romney’s circle is drawn many times the size of the one for the relatively obscure talk-radio host Herman Cain because Intrade rates Mr. Romney many times as likely to be nominated.

(I should note that there are several cases in which I am in considerable disagreement with the bettors at Intrade about the viability of each candidate. But using their figures as the basis for drawing the circles at least lends some objectivity to the assessment.)

If we ignore the size of the relative circles – which nobody is going to agree with anyway – the more interesting aspect of this chart is the placement. The further “north” a candidate falls, the more they are considered to be a Washington “insider.” A southerly position indicates a Beltway outsider. The further left they fall, the more “moderate” they are considered, (*cough* RINO) while a position more to the right indicates a perceived traditional conservative ideology.

Recent conventional wisdom would say that Washington insiders are distinctly out of favor, and traditional campaign strategy for the GOP tends to indicate that it’s better to be considered more conservative in the primary race. By that logic, placement in the upper left quadrant – where we find Giuliani, Huntsman and Pataki – would have the absolute worst chance. Landing in the lower right quadrant, as did Palin, Bachmann and Cain, would lend one the best chance.

If we then combine placement with the size of the bubble, indicating odds for victory, we find that Sarah Palin is clearly the next Republican presidential nominee and George Pataki should begin knitting sweaters for the residents of Hell if he plans on winning. But the alternate school of thought is that you need to be able to cast the broadest net for the most supporters, so getting closer to the center of each axis offers the best path to victory. By that rationale, Tim Pawlenty is clearly the next President of the United States and we may as well just skip the whole election.

So, have at it. Whose placement or relative odds is correct on this chart and which ones are totally outside of reality? Do any of the positioning choices surprise you?


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Allen West has the potential to be one of the greatest Presidents in the history of this country. I have shown his speeches to my parents and grandparents and their friends during the past two years and they were all so they cried because he his the complete package that could lead this country out of hell this global collectivist post-industrial hell… then again both sides of my family has served in every war since the Revolutionary. The left of center friends of mine are ready to fight for this man. Hell, that speech with over 2 million hits that I’ve played for Progressives seemed to relight that Proud American fire that burns inside all of us.

The game changer in the 2012 race is the Northern Africa and Middle East flare up that could wind up erasing borders and slapping us with an oil embargo.

Once American progressives are presented with the documented historical evidence of an Islamist-Marxist alliance for the past 5 decades, they are forced to get off the fence and pick a side. Most choose America.

Allen West is a bigger threat to Obama than Palin. Palin has been way over exposed by all sides and that is a major problem. It would be hard to over expose Allen West because conservatives love him and the left wants to hide him and pretend he does not exist. He is Commmie Kryptonite.

Herman Cain/Allen west would be an unstoppable ticket and that spells trouble for the establishment Republicans and Democrats. Hell, Whoever wins the primary would be a fool not to tap Allen West as VP.

Watching_Cloward-Piven on February 6, 2011 at 4:28 PM

watching rugby to pregame for the Superbowl so sorry about the awful typos.

There is so much talent I think it would be wise for the GOP candidate reach out to the other talent and leak/name their Cabinet. It would show the country they are ready to hit the ground running to heal and unify our constitutional republic.

Watching_Cloward-Piven on February 6, 2011 at 4:36 PM

That’s not true.

Conservative Samizdat on February 6, 2011 at 4:28 PM

I was actually talking about someone to be the face of the party when Palin and others were being beat up on actually. Wasn’t aware his PAC did so much.

hawkdriver on February 6, 2011 at 4:44 PM

If we hold the houses, we can neutralize Obambi as POTUS. Put in a squish RINO, and we’ll slide even more as the GOP scrambles to the pork trough.

AH_C on February 5, 2011 at 4:27 PM

Yeah, it’s not like who gets put on the Supreme Court matters.

Vote Obama for conservatism!!! Yeah!!!

mockmook on February 6, 2011 at 4:46 PM

I haven’t seen this posted anywhere – don’t know if it is
true – heard on the radio thatJohn McCain stated that for the first time in his career he will not endorse anyone for the presidential primary.

Amjean on February 6, 2011 at 4:50 PM

I need to see a real conservative or as others have said, I won’t vote the top of the ticket. I voted for W twice and I didn’t care for most of his policies and I voted for Capt Amnesty.

I will not vote for a liberal again.

dogsoldier on February 6, 2011 at 5:15 PM

Mitt would have boosted his chances enormously just by coming out and condemning the media and left after the Tucson shooting. Instead we heard nothing.

darwin on February 6, 2011 at 9:03 AM

That’s not true.

Conservative Samizdat on February 6, 2011 at 4:28 PM

If Mitt had ever been out in front on ANY issue, there wouldn’t need to be blog posts convincing us that Mitt has been out in front.

ddrintn on February 6, 2011 at 5:56 PM

If Mitt had ever been out in front on ANY issue, there wouldn’t need to be blog posts convincing us that Mitt has been out in front.

ddrintn on February 6, 2011 at 5:56 PM

He has been out on issues. Pay attention to the news.

Conservative Samizdat on February 6, 2011 at 6:47 PM

But please, be my guest and go on bashing President Obama without being critical of our own candidates. That doesn’t improve narrowing down the “Conservative” field for me though.

Am I supposed to call you a moron again now? Not sure how much insult is appropriate. I appreciate you schooling me though in it.

hawkdriver on February 6, 2011 at 8:13 AM

It’s too early to narrow the conservative field beyond eliminating Trump, Paul, Santorum, Barbour, Rudy, Thune, DeMint, Bachmann (whom I love) and Cain (because of his age).

What’s hilarious is that we both liked Romney last time and if I’m correct we both like Sarah now. BTAIM, anyone who stays home because they don’t like the GOP nominee is a moron. I would take Cliff Claven over Obama. And if you need me to spell out why go to American Thinker and read what Clarice Feldman has to say about the worst president in American history and she’s just scratching the surface. He’s on the wrong side of every issue facing the country.

As lame as Rino McCain would be, the country – and the world – would be infinitely better off if he had had the courage and skill to take on the poseur.

In politics the perfect is indeed the enemy of the good.

Basilsbest on February 6, 2011 at 7:09 PM

If you want to know who will be effective, ask yourself: who is catching the most flak?

Why?

You are hitting something vital if they are willing to expend time, energy and vitriol on that person. The more energy the enemy expends, the greater the vitality of the target.

If the candidate you like isn’t catching flak, they are not where they should be and aren’t leading you to some place vital to the enemy. You want to be where the enemy doesn’t want you to be… and against these big government types it should be very easy to catch lots of resistance and yet so very few actually are…

ajacksonian on February 6, 2011 at 7:56 PM

The race for the white house has always been a popularity contest. That said, the personalities that are in favor in the republican party are Palin and Huckabee. That said, they are two rather poor choices for obvious reasons.
According to a recent poll, the only republican capable of beating Obama today will not even run. As bleak as it looks for us all, I think it is time to hunker down for another four years of autocratic statism from Mr. personality.

paulsur on February 6, 2011 at 9:17 PM

Gary Johnson a RINO? Uh. No. He is a libertarian.

MSimon on February 6, 2011 at 10:32 PM

According to a recent poll, the only republican capable of beating Obama today will not even run. As bleak as it looks for us all, I think it is time to hunker down for another four years of autocratic statism from Mr. personality.

Polls tsken now are utterly useless. Polls taken in 1979 and early 1980 showed Ronald Reagan trailing Jimmy Carter by 25 points as the enlightened told us Reagan was unelectable, was divisive and had high negatives. How’d that turn out?

Polls taken now are part of the state-run media’s plan to select the weakest possible GOP candidate, to drive down support and discourage anyone supporting a conservative candidate. It didn’t work in 1980 and should not be allowed to work now. Too much is at stake.

pdigaudio on February 7, 2011 at 8:59 AM

Remember “Washington is broken”? That was Romney’s line.

Lori on February 5, 2011 at 3:10 PM

And every other politician, including Obama…

dominigan on February 7, 2011 at 11:42 AM

I get the part that Huckabee is an Outsider. But where do they get that he’s Conservative? Or more Conservative than Mitt Romney?

Let me put this in perspective for those of you non-elephants that have short memories:
1. Huckabee was Governor of Arkansas. BTW–So was former-President Clinton.
2. Huckabee was only the THIRD Republican to EVER take that office since Reconstruction. Let me put that in terms you can understand. It’s not a Republican stronghold even if you think it’s filled with Southern Rednecks. Their TRADITIONAL Redneck. That means DEMOCRAT.
3. Huckabee, also, had the THIRD longest term as Governor of that state. Which means that DEMOCRATS had to REALLY like him.
4. Just because you’re a Minister or religious doesn’t necessarily dictate that you’re a Conservative. Example: Rev. Al Sharpton, and Rev. Jesse Jackson.
5. Okay, I give him that he’s pro-life but he’s “reluctantly” for the death penalty and issued more clemency than Clinton did…
6. He’s for prayer in school and home-schooling but he’s all for federally funding school and liberal education programs. I remember that Pres. Reagan wanted to abolish the Dept. of Education. Reagan’s a Conservative.
7. Huckabee is all for Conservation and Global Warming and taxes Americans up the ying-yang for it. Ummm.. So does John McCain.
8. Huckabee, even though he “opposes” ObamaCare (any Conservative who wants political expediency HAS to have that view) has the same views on healthcare as Mitt Romney. Mitt’s ideas opened the door for ObamaCare. It makes Republicans look like they agree with the arguments on this issue with Democrats. True Conservatives do NOT agree with any of it. Free market place is free market place. Government involvement at any level including Medicare/Medicaid have lead to where we are today.
9. Huckabee believes illegal immigrants should be given a pathway to citizenship because they pay MORE taxes than they RECEIVE in benefits. He’s all for the guest worker program as well.
10. He’s against same-sex marriage…

Look: Huckabee is a religious yokel who promotes RELIGIOUS issues like PRO-LIFE, PRAYER IN SCHOOL, AND ANTI-GAY MARRIAGE. Past these standard religious issues he’s anything BUT Conservative. Conservationism is not a RELIGIOUS MOVEMENT it’s a political philosophy. Just because some issues Conservatives agree with religious people doesn’t mean that they agree on everything. That’s why they’re referred to as Religious Right. I liken them to former Southern Evangelical Democrats who cannot agree with Northern Agnostic Democrats on certain social issues but basically, they’re Democrats. They like taxes. They like to tell you how to live your life. They aren’t for free markets, and liberty of actions. They’re religious nanny-staters. But make no mistake about it, they’re NOT Radical Right-Wingers!!

Sultry Beauty on February 7, 2011 at 1:33 PM

Let’s just nominate Ron Paul; sigh. Bachmann would just be too many gaffes and the rest disgust me. By the way, who thinks Paul is a moderate? He’d go on a department eliminating bender that’d make Jefferson blush.

Levinite on February 7, 2011 at 4:00 PM

Let’s just nominate Ron Paul; sigh. Bachmann would just be too many gaffes and the rest disgust me. By the way, who thinks Paul is a moderate? He’d go on a department eliminating bender that’d make Jefferson blush.

Levinite on February 7, 2011 at 4:00 PM

No, Ron Paul is an isolationist. He’s also prone to gaffes that are worse than George W. Bush or Bachman. Ron Paul is not a moderate. He’s just nuts.

He shouldn’t run for POTUS. EVER.

Conservative Samizdat on February 8, 2011 at 11:53 AM

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