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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Christie's Decision, Cain's Surge

Our chapter on elections and campaigns discusses the difficulties facing potential candidates, many of whom opt out. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie confirmed yesterday that he will not run for president in 2012. David Levinsky reports:

Rutgers political science professor David Redlawsk said Christie’s decision, while sound, might end up costing him a future shot at the White House, particularly if a Republican is successful next year.

“The biggest risk to today’s decision now is that any near-term path to the presidency will be blocked if a Republican beats President Obama in 2012. Christie will at best have to look at 2020, when he will no longer be a sitting governor,” Redlawsk said.“Even if he wins re-election in 2013, he will be done by 2018, leaving a couple of years potentially in the wilderness. And if he doesn’t win re-election as governor, he’s toast.”

The Newark Star-Ledger reports that Christie remains critical of the president:

Once the campaign begins in earnest, however, Christie will have to accept a secondary role to let the party coalesce around a nominee, said Brigid Harrison, a political science professor at Montclair State University.

“You can’t have too many voices muddying the waters,” Harrison said.

Democratic pollster Douglas E. Schoen suggests a possible beneficiary:

And the big winner today is Herman Cain. Cain is the winner because he's the only candidate climbing in the in polls. In the Fox News poll released last week and the Washington Post poll released Monday, Cain is surging, more than doubling his prior level of support up to 16 or 17 percent.

Rick Perry has seen his support plummet. and Perry is now in an effective statistical tie with Cain for second place.

The front runner, Mitt Romney is at about 25 %, has been at 25% and shows no signs of being able to grow beyond twenty-five percent.

In plain English, he's stuck.

Another way to put it is that 3 in 4 Republican voters are not considering voting for a man who ran last time and has been the most visible and active and aggressive of the candidates competing now for the nomination.

I had a chance to hear Herman Cain live and in person last night at the Monday Meeting in New York City. He brought the house down -- getting three standing ovations and captivating a crowd that is usually is more hard-headed and analytical than emotional.

Every poll that I've seen suggests that Republicans are looking for fresh faces, new ideas and most of all optimism about our future. Cain offers all of the above.