In this installment, Cain rises, Pawlenty falls and Romney remains strong. Enjoy.
- Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts. Romney continues to lead polls and dictate the race. With Pawlenty’s stock declining (due to his failure to gain support as he is becoming better known), Romney’s chances of being seen as the only candidate with a chance of defeating Obama increase.
- Herman Cain, businessman. Herman Cain’s stock is rising faster than Groupon’s. There are two types of candidates at this stage of the race: knowns and unknowns. The knowns receive better poll numbers for obvious reasons. However, the early unknowns tend to gain support as they attract attention. About 8% of Republicans currently support Cain, but only 37% know who he is. Romney has the support of 17% of Republicans but 83% know who he is. This early in the game, most candidates would probably prefer Cain’s numbers.
- Tim Pawlenty, former Governor of Minnesota. Pawlenty needs to gain support quickly or he risks becoming known as a weaker version of Romney. He cannot afford that status, so don’t be surprised if he lights off some fireworks in the upcoming debate.
- Michelle Bachman/Sarah Palin, Representative from Minnesota and former Governor of Alaska, respectively. It is still unclear whether either of these two will run. Bachman would probably prefer to make her decision based on what Palin does. She can’t beat Palin, so she wouldn’t want to run against her. However, nobody knows what Palin will do. She has recently shown signs of running, and she came in a close second place to Romney in a recent poll. At the moment, Bachman and Palin are both wildcards.
- Jon Huntsman, former Ambassador to China (under Obama) and former Governor of Utah. If the nomination were based on résumé alone, Huntsman would win hands down. He has significant foreign policy, executive and business experience. However, if he enters the race and gains momentum, expect the other candidates to attack him on social issues.
- Ron Paul, Representative from Texas. Paul’s poll numbers remain decent. However, he is unlikely to appeal broadly to the Republican party because of his libertarian leanings.
- Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House. Newt has not yet recovered from his Meet the Press debacle. He probably never will.
- Rick Santorum, former Senator from Pennsylvania. Far too many people know this candidate as Rick “google me” Santorum.
- Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico. Johnson is begging CNN to let him participate in the next debate. That is a bad sign for his candidacy.