Political Animal


January 25, 2012 12:00 PM Wednesday’s campaign round-up

By Steve Benen

Today’s installment of campaign-related news items that won’t necessarily generate a post of their own, but may be of interest to political observers:

* In Florida, a new Quinnipiac poll shows Mitt Romney’s lead over Newt Gingrich shrinking to just two points, 36% to 34%, after the former governor led by 12 points a couple of weeks ago. Rick Santorum is a distant third with 13%.

* A new poll from Latino Decisions for Univision News and ABC News shows President Obama with 67% support among Hispanic voters in a hypothetical match-up against Romney. Against Gingrich, the president’s lead is even bigger.

* Gingrich told Fox News yesterday that he won’t compete in additional GOP debates unless audience members are allowed to express approval or disapproval to what the candidates have said.

* Citizens for Tax Justice did a detailed analysis showing the size of the tax cut Romney would give himself if elected.

* Opponents of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) did an extraordinary job collecting ballot signatures to force the governor into a recall election, but as the next phase gets underway, Walker still appears to be the favorite. A new poll from Marquette University Law School shows the governor leading all of his potential Democratic rivals by margins ranging from 6 to 10 points.

* Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) told Fox News this morning will run for re-election in November, but then quickly walked it back, saying, “I believe I’ll be looking at that, very seriously looking at coming back for a fourth term.”

* Speaking of Minnesota, Public Policy Polling found both Bachmann and former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) struggling with low favorable ratings. In hypothetical match-ups against Sen. Al Franken, the Democrat leads Pawlenty by six and Bachmann by 15.

* In Connecticut, former Rep. Chris Shays launched his Senate campaign today, and will take on former wrestling executive Linda McMahon in a Republican primary.

* And in Arizona, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) is departing Congress, and the man she defeated in 2010, right-wing Republican Jesse Kelly, is running to replace her.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


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  • SadOldVet on January 25, 2012 12:04 PM:

    Gingrich told Fox News yesterday that he won't compete in additional GOP debates unless audience members are allowed to express approval or disapproval to what the candidates have said.

    Or, to paraphrase Newt...

    If it ain't a 3 ring circus, the clowns ain't gonna participate!

  • Danp on January 25, 2012 12:10 PM:

    Gabrielle Giffords (D) is departing Congress. Jesse Kelly, is running to replace her.

    Could be interesting if Giffords' husband Mark Kelly runs against the Tea Bagger- Kelly vs Kelly. Astronaut vs space cadet.

  • JS on January 25, 2012 12:13 PM:

    Bachmann has nothing particular to gain by returning to be a backbencher in the House. She doesn't seem to have gained any power from forming the "Tea Party Caucus", and her campaign turned into more of a punchline than a platform. Perhaps this means talent relations at FOX "News" isn't returning her phone calls?

    Did Kelly announce his bid from a shooting range again?

  • T2 on January 25, 2012 12:16 PM:

    speaking of Hispanic voters....I understand FOX News and Propaganda is planning on rolling out a Spanish language version of it's White English speaking network. Actually, its a pretty smart move by the Conservative owners of FOX and their Conservative Republican idealogues...We'll see if the Hispanic community will fall under the same spell as the middle class white people who worship FOX have....i.e. being convinced that unquestioned belief in programs and politicians that intend to screw them royally is actually in their best interests. Naturally the Hispanic FOX will tell the same lies and use the same propaganda their english speaking does. I can't wait to see who the Hispanic version of Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck will be.

  • Dianne Klein on January 25, 2012 12:16 PM:

    I will miss your blog, it is my favorite. However, I love Rachael's show and I am excited for you. Be a guest often.

  • kew on January 25, 2012 12:30 PM:

    Unrelated news item: someone please tell me this will go away!

    (Pres. Obama summoned to appear in court about his citizenship....)


    (my first captcha was dsurge near. hope so!)

  • Texas Aggie on January 25, 2012 12:39 PM:

    Is Jesse Kelly the same one who auctioned off the same type of pistol that shot Rep. Giffords, after the event, as a money raising stunt, and then couldn't understand why people were upset with him?

  • Holly W on January 25, 2012 12:39 PM:

    TPM points out the Quinnipac poll was conducted before and after the SC primary. Romney was up 11 before, Newt up 6 after - a 17 point swing in Newt's favor.

  • SadOldVet on January 25, 2012 12:40 PM:

    re Danp...

    Giffords' husband has said that he is not interested in running for the seat.

    Regarding your astronaut vs space cadet comment...

    I was in my very early teens with the space race began and my interest in space started to peak. It was only a few years later when I discovered maryjanewanna that I decided that I really wanted to be a spaced cadet. Still working on it in my 60's.

  • Sgt. Gym Bunny on January 25, 2012 12:49 PM:

    @ kew:


    Here's hoping that Obama's people can arrange for an "involuntary commitment" hearing for Taitz and her birther ilk... Batshit, mad-hatter crazy, says I. So sad, though.

  • exlibra on January 25, 2012 1:01 PM:

    [In Florida] Rick Santorum is a distant third with 13%. -- Steve Benen

    And not a peep from Ron Paul. I suppose that's due to the demographics. All those retirees, and not enough 18-25yr olds willing to be bamboozled and flim-flammed.

  • mellowjohn on January 25, 2012 1:14 PM:

    "Gingrich told Fox News yesterday that he wonít compete in additional GOP debates unless audience members are allowed to express approval or disapproval to what the candidates have said."

    shorter newt: since callista won't do it anymore, i need the debate crowd to fellate me.

  • OKDem on January 25, 2012 1:16 PM:

    An interesting point about that Wisconsin poll. The Governor's race margin of error is 7%, not 3.8%.

    The questionnaire is very long, leads in with a lot of national questions and always reads Walker's name first, which is a known bias. The practice is to rotate the names in match ups.

    "The poll interviewed 701 registered Wisconsin voters by both landline and cell phone January 19-22, 2012. The margin of error is +/- 3.8 percentage points for the full sample. The Republican subsample had 309 respondents and a margin of error of +/- 5.7 percentage points. The Democratic subsample had 322 respondents and a margin of error of +/-5.6 percentage points. The margin of error for the size of the lead in the governorís race is 7.0-7.2 points. The entire questionnaire, full results and breakdowns by demographic groups are available at http://law.marquette.edu/poll."


  • June on January 25, 2012 1:22 PM:

    Re: Walker - from the link Benen provides:

    "For his own part, Walker has been raising and spending millions of dollars in the race. He has been aided by a key aspect of the state fundraising law for recalls: Until the election is officially triggered, the targeted incumbent can bring in unlimited donations.">/b

    Gee, I wonder who could be providing the "unlimited donations."

  • SadOldVet on January 25, 2012 1:25 PM:

    re June...

    Is June sarcastic, naive, or unKoched?

  • jjm on January 25, 2012 1:26 PM:

    "Gingrich told Fox News yesterday that he wonít compete in additional GOP debates unless audience members are allowed to express approval or disapproval to what the candidates have said."

    Newt's 'wins' have been entirely due to his bloodthirsty audiences responding (as he knew they would) to his red meat. Like ham actors that used to hire claques to applaud them even when they were awful--to make him seem 'popular' to use the old high school term.

    But if any of his answers had appeared without the applause-o-meter, they would have immediately been seen for the shallow, self-contradictory, mean-spirited, and rather stupid answers that they actually are.

  • g on January 25, 2012 2:28 PM:

    It's not surprising that Gingrich is in favor of allowing "audience participation," since it's been to his advantage, but what happens when "winning the debate" becomes just a matter of getting your supporters' butts in the seats instead of the other guys' supporters? I can see already opportunities for grift and fraud and payoff here.

    Let Gingrich pass on the debates - the organizers should call his bluff. Let's see how well he does against Romney without that showcase - he'll have only ads and on-the-ground campaigning.

    And then let him try to debate the President (if it ever comes to that), because the ground-rules for Presidential debates have been clear for decades - no audience applause.

  • June on January 25, 2012 2:49 PM:

    Er... Sad Old Vet, that would be:

    A. Sarcastic


  • John sherman on January 25, 2012 4:30 PM:

    The Democratic senator whumping Bachmann and Pawlenty in the polls is Klobuchar rather than Franken, though Al would probably kick ass too.