With over 6000 ballots cast, we have results. Monthly Presidential chart is below. Then I’ll go into some of the hard realities facing Hot Air’s front runner. Send your questions and comments to me here.
Sarah Palin has returned to almost her highest vote take since the survey began, at 36.94% of the vote. Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry run closely together, coming in second (19.95%) and third (18.91%) respectively. Herman Cain takes fourth at 6.68%, continuing his downward movement since his May highs. Mitt Romney takes fifth, at 6.3%.
Palin may still be on top of the overall results, but she is in major danger of being eclipsed in the primaries by Bachmann and/or Perry. The following pie chart should make Palin supporters very, very uneasy.
(Palin beats Perry by 10 points, with unaffiliated voters breaking roughly 3-to-2 to Perry. The situation I lay out below is the more serious situation of the two for Palin.)
Hot Air is a site that, as these surveys consistently show, has a very strong and organized Palin following — and Hot Air tilts toward the Grassroots Right anyway — yet from her baseline vote to her head-to-head vote against Bachmann, Palin ekes out only a four point win, gaining 16 points from her baseline vs. Bachmann’s 28 point gain. If Bachmann takes that sort of ratio of unaffiliated voters in a head-to-head primary, I don’t see how Palin overcomes Bachmann, let alone overcomes whoever makes it out of the establishment primary of Romney, Pawlenty et al. If Palin’s overall Hot Air numbers again drop back to 32% or so, she will likely lose to Bachmann in the Hot Air head-to-head match-up.
There’s a protective instinct in play here, too, and it appears that even grassroot-ers see Bachmann as a safer option to Palin. The 2nd choice Perry vote hammers this home pretty clearly.
But Bachmann’s pathway to the nomination is not a cakewalk and is complicated by Perry’s candidacy: Perry is not only the second choice for Palin, but for Bachmann as well.
Whoever emerges between Perry and Bachmann will have the electoral advantage on Palin, who it appears has serious electoral maneuvering problems even among the base. Palin’s strength is the excitement of her supporters and the high commitment of those supporters to her. Her weakness is, simply, that there won’t be enough of them to carry her through the current field of primary candidates. I wrote back in 2009 that Palin’s most likely role in the 2012 cycle would be as a coronator. I still believe that’s basically right.
Two other tidbits: The new Hot Air leader for the vice presidential nomination is Michele Bachmann, unseating Allen West from his long-running spot atop the VP results.
The new Hot Air second choice for president leader is, also, Michele Bachmann.
Lots here. Feedback welcome.