Ranking The Top 5 GOP 2012 Contenders

Although Barack Obama has only been in office for a couple of months, this hasn’t stopped the 2012 Republican presidential contenders from jockeying for early position in what will likely be a crowded GOP field, and if the length of the 2008 campaign was any indication, it won’t be long until the race for 2012 will get going. The question is who among the contenders will challenge President Obama?

I have ranked the five most likely contenders for the GOP nomination based on their likelihood of winning the nomination and the degree of difficulty that they would present for Obama in the general election.

Image 5). Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC)

What he’s got: Southern roots, experience as a governor, has been an early and vocal critic of the Obama stimulus

What he lacks: National name recognition, fund raising, appeal outside of the GOP

Outlook: There are going to be some known quantities and rising stars in the 2012 field. Stanford has the look of a candidate destined for an early exit, and possible running mate status.

Image 4). Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA)

What he’s got: Youth, ethnicity, a conservative message.

What he lacks: Charisma, experience on the national stage, fundraising, and luck with volcanoes.

Outlook: Bobby Jindal may have a serious run at the presidency in his future, but I don’t think that 2012 will be his year. The field will be too crowded with candidates who have either more money (Romney), more charisma (Palin), or a base of support (Huckabee). As Jindal’s disastrous Republican response to President Obama’s address to Congress demonstrated, he is not quite ready for prime time. Jindal would be best served by waiting until what is likely to be a non-incumbent presidential election in 2016. He could use the time between now and then to polish his skills and develop a national presence.

Image3). Mike Huckabee

What he’s got: Huckabee has national presidential primary campaign experience, a build in coalition of evangelical Republican supporters, a now known name, and a winning personality. He is also a son of the South.

What he lacks: Strong positions on non-social issues, fundraising, the ability to appeal to non-socially conservative voters.

Outlook: Huckabee will be a player in the 2012 GOP primary because he appeals to the socially conservative backbone that makes up most Republican primary voters. Huckabee has already been hard at work building and expanding his base of support, specifically with evangelical voters. Huckabee is going to find himself in a dogfight with Sarah Palin for the hearts of social conservatives. Palin and Huckabee are the two potential GOP candidates with real personality and charisma, but Huckabee would be labeled as too far right to defeat Obama.

Image2). Sarah Palin

What she’s got: As the running mate of John McCain in 2008, she was given the biggest platform to launch her political star. She is beloved by large segments of the GOP base, and is perceived by many as the heir apparent 2012 nominee. Palin has personality and is one of the few current Republicans that can raise money. Her appeal cuts across the party. She is the candidate most likely to unify the GOP.

What she lacks: Palin has a high disapproval rating with Democrats and Independents. She has yet to prove any sort of competency on the issues. Palin is polarizing and divisive. After giving McCain an initial bump, she hurt the ticket especially with Independent voters. What Palin lacks most is a clean slate. She will come in to the 2012 campaign as a known quantity, but she also brings with her a ton of baggage.

Outlook: Palin could easily find herself in the top slot of future GOP fav 5 2012 rankings, but for right now there are serious doubts about her ability to win a general election. We have also not seen how Palin will hold up in a primary campaign. It is possible that the biggest favor Republicans could do for Democrats would be to nominate Sarah Palin, who unifies them in a way that no other Republican outside of George W. Bush can. Palin is so unpopular that Obama would likely crush her in a general election match up.

Image1). Mitt Romney

What he’s got: Romney has money, experience on the economy, political experience, and national campaign experience.

What he lacks: A personality, the ability to connect with voters, a solid conservative record, and he has a history of flip flops. His Mormon faith hurts him with evangelical voters.

Outlook: Mitt Romney is one of those candidates who if he could survive his own party’s nomination process could pose some problems for Obama. If the economy is still struggling , Romney has the ability to discuss economic policy in a knowledgeable way. Romney has oodles of money so fundraising isn’t a problem.

Romney has the ability to appeal to the middle, and one of his biggest mistakes in 2008 was his shameless pandering to the far right. If Obama looks strong heading into 2012, the GOP would be wise to nominate Romney who at worst would save Jindal or Palin from taking a beating at the polls.

Agree? Disagree? Comment below and let me know.

23 Replies to “Ranking The Top 5 GOP 2012 Contenders”

  1. Sorry, but you are way off base where Sarah Palin is concerned. The reason that she is unpopular with Democrates is that they fear her – they know she has the potential to defeat Obama. She has the star quatlity without the haughtiness and arrogance. If you haven’t noticed, there is an organized effort by the liberals to destroy Sarah Palin’s chances in 2012. The “baggage” that you mention is nothing more than the attacks of her opponents, who have done everything in their power to spread smears and representations against her.

    What they don’t want the American public to know is that Sarah Palin is another Ronald Reagan. She has the same communications skills, charisma, and conservative values that made Reagan one of our greatest Presidents. Sarah Palin is brilliant (although her critics would have you to think otherwise), tough but gracious, and has more executive experience than either Obama or Biden. In spite of her detractors, those who know Sarah Palin best believe that she has all the qualities needed to make an outstanding President. She definitely has my vote in 2012!

  2. …but then, Reagan wasn’t exactly the brightest bulb on the chandelier either. Although she has your vote, if Ms.Palin is going to run for president, she’s going to have to answer difficult questions. To this point she hasn’t convinced most Americans she has the intellectual depth to be president; it’s been quite the opposite, and she’s going to have a difficult time overcoming the image forged during the ’08 campaign.

  3. The Cheney camp locked him out and it cost the election.

    Dr. Ron Paul has been 100% right on every issue and was personally endorsed by Reagan multiple times on video and in print.

  4. The problem with Palin’s popularity doesn’t involve Democrats. Democrats aren’t supposed to like her. The problem is that Independents can’t stand her, and Republicans can’t win a presidential election without the support of Independents. Oh and Obama would crush Palin, unless she demonstrates some knowledge of the issues.

  5. Dr. Paul will be pushing 75+ by the time 2012 rolls around. I highly doubt that he will take another shot at it.

  6. Right now, I don’t think anyone can beat Obama in 2012, but there is still time.

    Every list of potential nominees is filled with losers and also-rans….I am not against them, but the GOP needs new leadership to get moving….One of these will run and lose in 2012 and then in 2016 we will find someone new…

  7. I know Palin’s image was damaged by the drive by media and some self inflicted wounds during the 2008 campaign but she could recover nicely if she becomes more knowledgeable, polished, and, confident between now and 2011 when her campaign would need to enter full swing. If she prepares diligently for the spotlight she could be a major suprise. She is not stupid but she had some bad moments in 2008. She was just not ready for the big time yet.

    Having said that the most qualified candidate in the GOP is Newt Gingrich. He is the only Idea guy in the GOP that also has the communication skills to articulate a powerful conservative vision for America. If Gingrich runs (I think he most certainly will) and if he is in the running after the first couple of primaries he could very well win the nomination and defeat Obama. Obama will be vulnerable because the economy is not going to recover by 2012.

  8. I’d agree with you a lot here. Sarah Palin and Bobby Jindal should definitely wait for 2016. And I think Romney might actually have none too bad of a shot this time around. One of his big problems in the primaries was his recent flip-flopping on a lot of issues and such. Now that he’s got four years to better clarify what he is, the thought of a Romney candidacy might not be so scary of a thought to the Republican Party. And I saw a recent poll matching Romney and Obama prospectively, and it was a good tie, even now. Could work.

  9. ==

    No! — We Democrats would absolutely be overjoyed if Sarah was the GOP nom’…

    Afraid? Nope..!
    Laughing at the RightWing antics? You betcha’…!

    John McCain had a good chance at winning the POTUS since he appealed to a wide diversity of Americans, that is until the neocons convinced him to choose Palin as his running mate. She did such a good job of slashing the good work of McCain at every media event (every time she opened her mouth), that the Democrats absolutely adored her. Pointing out Palin’s next foible or gaff became our daily entertainment.

    Sarah may be the hero of the extreme right, but she will never be the hero of the majority of America, especially middle class America. She really doesn’t have a clue how stupid she sounds when she makes her off the cuff commentary about world affairs.

    But hey, I can see Russia from my toilet seat too (at least pictures of Russia in a magazine), but do I fear the Red Iron Curtained Russia Bear is about to Nuke the USA? answer = No!

    Well folks, that is exactly the “Fearmongering” Palin was trying to prey upon minds of us all with. Definitely not Presidential, but her warmongering speeches appeals to fanatics of the Dr Strangelove type.

    But hey, we already know mankind can be stupid;
    “- If man has the chance to choose between War or Peace, Sadly he will always choose War.- ”

    But the good news is, at least we will get to see Tina Fey again! – yay!

    So this Democrat says (for now)
    Palin/Limbaugh 2012…FTL
    (For the lose!)


  10. The Former Speaker of the House known for his ability to unite the Republican Party in 1994 with his Contract with America can make a strong run in 2012. The Republican’s are fractured by the strong social conservatives in Palin and Huckabee and the economic conservatives in Romney. Newt would be a unifying factor for the party as he can attract votes from the far right; however he is also able to win votes among moderates. He is also strong on national security an issue that I feel will reemerge in 2012, while standing for conservative reform in his economic and social agendas. If Newt runs in 2012 he will have a strong turnout in the primary elections.

  11. Palin is not skilled in any manner. She is a “C” student at best, with a pretty (somewhat) face. She is the best representative of mediocrity, and I can see where she could rack up alot of votes with uneducated, middle class housewives and other generally unintelligent people.

    I would like to see the GOP back in office, but if Palin is representative of America, I would be ashamed of my citizenship and the only path were on is that of a true idiocracy.

  12. @Fay,

    You say that the democrats are afraid of Palin? I think we are all afraid of Sara Palin, as if she does win 2012, the world as we know it will come to an end. It was prophesied that the world would come to an end. Heck, there was even a movie made about it, where neutrinos were symbolic of her political rise.

    She, like most, embodies absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    Please take a breather, and know that all will be right when she looses, and if she wins, please migrate north to Canada, that way she can make it North Montana. LOL

  13. Oh, by the way, Ronald Reagan’s presidency gave way to the extreme waste that we are experiencing today. Look at his supposed conservative financial policy and you will see the considerable DE-REGULATION that led to the default credit swaps and financial disarray that we had today.

    I’m not trying to smear this name, however, his policies were a little unbalanced for his tenure. That said, he’s not alone when it comes to bad decisions, as EVERY administration since (democrat and republican) has led to the the situation that we are in now.

    We all need to stop drinking the punch and start working together. We have the voice, and we should all use it. Just VOTE and our voices will be heard. I am not naive to the fact that it’s not the Executive branch alone, we need to let the Executive and Legislative branches know what we all want, as well as the Judicial branch know that we do not like it when they spontaneously pic past decisions and reverse them all.

    Palin may be a good candidate if she would actually educate herself on our history, past, and circle herself with people that wouldn’t necessarily agree with everything she said and gain a perspective from all sides. Until then, she’s simply going to be a conservative television personality that quit her responsibilities with her Public JOB (Governor) in Alaska.

  14. Sarah Palin is a quitter in terms of executive experience. We don’t need a quitter for a leader when the going gets rough. Sarah Palin is good at attacking verbally and then playing victim. This nation can’t survive on the world stage with that as a game plan. She has fans because she is a political celebrity. Her work is to show up, throw out some verbal jabs against Obama, give out some misleading information, look good, wink, and then retreat until the next camera or Facebook moment! And her fans love it. That’s all fine and dandy but I’m sorry to inform you, that does not make the grade for the President!
    And at this point, you have to stop using the line that Sarah Palin has more executive experience. In case you had not noticed, Obama has been for the last year and a half the President of the United States of America and leader of the free world. I think he qualifies as having executive experience!

  15. I am an Independent and an educated female. I would never vote for Palin. I did like McCain and would have voted for him even though I disagree with the stance of most (R). I have alot of respect for our military men/women.

    You are going to have a tough battle ahead as the (D) party represents a persons rights to make choices and the (R) party represents having a group tell you what to do. (That was not aimed at just pro-choice/pro-life issues.)
    Good luck and I hope you find a decent runner.

  16. Romney/Huckabee wins the race! Strengths of each candidate counters the others weaknesses. I honestly like Huckabee as the Pres. nom, but think Romney as the Pres. gives a better chance for victory in 2012. I also can’t imagine Romney agreeing to run as V.P.

  17. Palin is a farce with a pretty face and clothes. She’s an unprecedented quitter because she loves to campaign and make speeches (to APPEAR) but cannot sit down and do the work. She could’t even figure out the budget of little Wasilla, Alaska. Then she quit. Nixon also quit, but was brilliant, so don’t make that a comparison.

    I’d much rather have Ellen deGeneras or some other brainy type for our president. If Palin were elected, the Brits and the whole planet would have the biggest laugh fest in the history of the planet.

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