After the New Hampshire Primary, Dr. Jason Johnson appears on CNN Political Buzz to discuss the implications for the race. Professor Johnson discussed compared Mitt Romney’s win in New Hampshire to “The Harlem Globetrotters beating the Washington Generals.” Johnson characterized Ron Paul’s second place finish “if you’re nibbling on someone’s heels, you’re still getting stomped on.”
Hiram College professor Jason Johnson was interviewed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation show Connect with Mark Kelley about the South Carolina Republican presidential primary. Dr. Johnson discussed the impact of negative campaigning, citing the research in his book Political Consultants and Campaigns: One Day to Sell.
Click here to watch Dr. Jason Johnson’s appearance on Connect with Mark Kelley. The interview begins at the 36:10 minute mark.
Former Massachusetts governor and frontrunner by default Mitt Romney is going to win the New Hampshire primary. This is not in question, there are no surprises coming.
Move along, nothing to see here.
He’s had an insurmountable lead in the state for months on end that has not changed radically since the Iowa Caucuses and none of his rivals are in a position to overtake him or make a strong run at second place.
So what could possibly be learned from tonight’s polls?
There are a couple of scenarios that could keep the Republican nomination process interesting instead of the 12 month coronation process that it has been thus far.
The Huntsman Rises
Most polls show Romney with anywhere from an 18 to 15 point lead over his next closest competitor Ron Paul. A poll released Monday by Suffolk University and a local news station had Romney at 37%, Ron Paul at 18%, Huntsman at 16%, Santorum at 11%, Gingrich at 9% and Rick Perry representing the 1%.
If Jon Huntsman were to capture a huge chunk of the undecided voters (7%) and perhaps catch a wave of contrarian Republicans in New Hampshire – that don’t want to rubber stamp Iowa – he could catapult himself into 2nd place. Would this make Huntsman the nominee? Of course not. However, the effect of his second place finish would keep him in the debates for South Carolina and all but guarantee that candidates like Rick Perry would be out of the race within two weeks.
Santorum Surge Part 2
Santorum is polling anywhere from a distant third to 4th in the New Hampshire primary and there’s no reason to think that he’ll perform a miracle in a state whose Republican voters are not nearly as conservative as Iowans or South Carolinians. However: similar to Huntsman, if Santorum were to come in second in this primary or at least come within a hairs breath of Ron Paul (who will likely come in second) then he can claim a legitimate Santorum surge and there will be sweater vests for everyone.
Everyone in politics knows that Ron Paul’s ceiling in this presidential campaign is limited by many factors, from his own ambivalence about wanting the job, to the Republican establishment’s desire to shoot him and his supporters on sight.
However, one scenario that would radically change this race would be if he were to precipitously fall in the final polls here in New Hampshire. This is less about placement in the polls (2nd, 3rd, or 4th) and more about what numbers he’s able to pull. New Hampshire is seen as the last primary state where Ron Paul’s non-traditional foreign policy views and criticism of his own party will have any traction with GOP primary voters. Places like South Carolina and Florida will not embrace him politically and the lack of young voters makes his chances of scoring significant numbers even less likely. If Paul doesn’t break 20% of the vote, even if he comes in second to Romney then his campaign, even as a Ralph Nader type spoiler movement will have lost all steam.
Newt has already made it clear that he’s going after Mitt Romney with every ounce of resources he’s got left, and he doesn’t really care about winning the nomination at this point. He scored some points with his King of Bain type attacks against Romney and like clock-work Mittens slipped up and gave the other Republicans and Team Obama one of the most damning quotes of this entire primary season. Newt doesn’t have to win, or even do well in New Hampshire, but he can’t totally fail either. If he earns less than 10% of the vote, knowing that he trails Santorum and Romney in South Carolina and has little or no chance of winning there, his campaign would be reduced to an extended speaking tour and roast of Mitt Romney. Funny, engaging … but not actually relevant to the race anymore.
In just a few hours we will begin the countdown to the end of the Republican nomination race. Hopefully one of the scenarios above will occur, leading to healthier competition down the road. If not, Romney will have wrapped up his nomination sometime in early February.
This article originally appeared online at Politic365.com.
One of the hardest things to get used to this year is the condensed schedules of otherwise regular activities in my life. I’ve done a lot of travelling this fall so my teaching schedule was condensed to twice a week. The NBA lockout gobbled up two months of the season and now there’s basketball every night as the league tries to squeeze 66 games into just a few months.
And now, just as I’m finally processing and adjusting to the results from the Iowa Caucuses we’re really just a few days away from next Tuesday’s New Hampshire Primary.
To give you context, in 1980 there were 36 days between the Iowa and New Hampshire nomination contests, this year: 7 days. Nevertheless there are a few lessons worth sharing from the Iowa Caucuses that are worth reviewing before the next debate and next Tuesday’s contests.
Lesson #1: Mitt Romney’s Got Issues
I had a pretty fascinating conversation with everyone’s favorite 90’s throwback black Republican J.C. Watts during the Caucuses a few hours before the votes came in. Watts, who was part of the Republican class of 1994 that took over the House after an absence of 40 years, made it very clear that if Romney didn’t get more than 25% of the vote in Iowa it was a victory for conservatives all throughout the party. This is not so much a values issue or Romney being stiff, but according to Watts, on a fundamental level Protestant and Christian Republicans are not comfortable with the idea of a man who believes that any other book besides the bible holds the word of God. This is no small issue to the GOP base, and the press in general has been too squeamish to really talk about it other than as a cultural issue.
Lesson #2: Republicans hate Voting Rights unless it’s Their Turn
One of the consistent stories since the Republican takeover in 2010 has been national GOP efforts to limit voting access. All across the country GOP led state legislatures are trying to force onerous requirements on voters, change voting laws and locations and basically do anything they can to harm President Obama’s base. Here’s the funny part though: The very voting initiatives that Republicans fight against on the state level are standard in their own primaries. The Republican presidential Caucus in Iowa features same day registration with easy access and few if any ID requirements. The South Carolina Primary takes place on a Saturday, increasing the ability of working class and hourly employees to get a chance to vote. I’m not sure if this counts as flip-flopping on voting rights but it certainly counts as hypocritical.
Lesson #3: The Freaks Come Out at Night
Being a part of the press during marathon elections is an experience until itself. Much of your time is spent running around one large building with other members of the press, doing television and radio appearances, writing stories and talking to experts who you didn’t meet 20 minutes ago. I spent a large chunk of the day with fellow Politic365 contributor Lenny McAllister who I will forever nickname “the Haaaardest workin’ man in Media” no slight to Tom Joyner.
Once the day drags past about 12 hours things start to get a bit loopy in the press room. Think about it: most reporters, commentators and anchors have been up since 7 a.m. By 8 p.m. if the votes aren’t counted people are getting antsy. By 9 p.m. you are fighting off sleep with as much 5 Hour Energy as you can gulp and by 11:00 p.m. or so?
Let’s just say there isn’t much difference between the press lounge and a church lock-in for a high-school youth group.
People bouncing balls off the wall, talking loud, throwing popcorn and darn near losing it on air. You have to see it to truly believe it. CNN’s anchors descended into something we are now affectionately referring to as CNN After Dark when Anderson Cooper and the rest of the anchors were so tired and punch drunk they’re singing 70’s porn tunes and making late night calls to local Republican officials just to chat them up on air. Imagine your dorm lounge at 3:00 a.m. during finals week when everyone is going nuts trying to stay awake then combine that with men and women making zillions of dollars a year to inform and entertain you on air. Yeah. It was nuts.
Lesson #4: It Always Feels Like Twitter’s Watching You
An interesting report was released a day after the Caucuses by Qorvis Communications a consulting and communications firm based in Washington D.C. about the value of Twitter during the Iowa Caucus.
“Twitter doesn’t measure votes, Twitter measures momentum,” said Wyeth Ruthven, a senior director at Qorvis Communications and author of the Twitter Valuation Analysis. “The tremendous overnight growth of Rick Santorum and Ron Paul give them a social media bounce heading into New Hampshire. It proves Twitter is a uniquely scalable medium for spreading a political message.”
|Followers at 8am||Followers at 8pm||Followers Gained||Percentage Growth|
The report goes on to show that many of the GOP candidates had been gaining Twitter followers all day, suggesting a real “surge” the likes of which we’ve never been able to assess before.
Does this mean that we can start predicting local elections and results from Twitter followers?
Not necessarily, but it does suggest, as Mr. Ruthven points out, that momentum is now measurable in ways we didn’t know before. It is rather telling that on a night that was all about him and his first major contest Mitt Romney actually gained fewer actual Twitter followers than President Obama. Where was that enthusiasm gap again?
There are of course other lessons from this first electoral contest. The Republicans might learn another lesson in electoral failure if they do not find a way to fix the fact that the top three candidates on their ticket, Romney, Paul and Santorum, all have horrible racial bugaboos. Another lesson might be that we have all learned that Rick Perry has solidified himself as the Ryan Leaf of presidential politics. But overall, there just aren’t enough days between Iowa and New Hampshire to draw too many lessons. It’s much better to just watch the weekend’s debates and see how this all plays out. Trust me: there will be bigger lessons to learn once the field is thinned even more after the next contest.
This article originally appeared online at Politic365.com.
In a late night filled with surprises, Dr. Jason Johnson spoke with the Katty Kay, Washington Correspondent for BBC World News America, about who the real winners and losers were from the Iowa Caucuses. Mixing in pop culture and political science strategy Dr. Johnson breaks down the race in a way that brings politics to the expert and the layman.