GOP Presidential Power Rankings

This primary has been crazy. There is a significant portion of the Republican electorate that is determined to make sure that Mitt Romney doesn’t win the party’s nomination. It’s hard to blame them given his frequent position changes and refusal to back away from RomneyCare, which — as I so frequently note — was the basis for ObamaCare.

In the last two weeks, we’ve seen Herman Cain’s campaign implode due to the handling of the past accusations sexual harassment and another series of embarrassing gaffes. As expected, the next candidate in line for conservatives — who have gone through Cain, then Bachmann, then Perry, and then Cain again — is Newt Gingrich, whose campaign was all but dead in the water a few months ago.

The News

The Rankings

Mitt Romney (up): He certainly isn’t making it easy for conservatives to get behind him, but Romney still hanging in there against the latest surging candidate, Newt Gingrich. While a strong showing in Iowa isn’t a must for his campaign, winning South Carolina is a necessity and a blowout in New Hampshire are necessities.

Newt Gingrich (up): If you asked most observers back in May where Gingrich’s campaign would be in November, many would have said that he’d be out of the race. But in this weird primary, Gingrich has managed to become the latest “anti-Romney.” Gingrich is being pounded for his past consulting work for Freddie Mac and supporting Medicare Part D, but there is no sign that it’s hurting him in the polls…yet.

Herman Cain (down): This gaffe-prone candidate seems to have finally talked himself out of the nomination. With his lack of substance and inexperience, Cain is the Republican version of Barack Obama.

Ron Paul (up): Recent polling out of Iowa suggests that Paul may actually be a player for the state. Could that carry over to South Carolina and other primary states? We’ll see, but the prospect of Paul become a real player in this race isn’t something that other candidates and observers on the Right can’t ignore.

Rick Perry (down): There is no sign that Perry is going to be able to come back and be an effective candidate in this race; but, just the same, we said that about Gingrich in May. Perry’s time is running out and his incredibly poor debate performances haven’t helped.

Michele Bachmann (even): She’s done anyway, but it looks like she’s going to stick it out through Iowa.

Jon Huntsman (up): Huntsman has seen somewhat of a polling bounce in recent weeks, but the 3 percent he bringing is far away from what is needed to be effective in the race.

Rick Santorum (even): Just like Bachmann, Santorum is done — or at least should be — after Iowa.

Gary Johnson (even): Johnson managed to get a media bump with his recent FEC/FCC complaint against CBS. Unfortunately, for Johnson those complaints are unlikely to go anywhere. There are rumblings, however, that Johnson may make a third party bid.

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