Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Chart of the Day

Matthew Yglesias at Think Progress mulls over a chart breaking down how different religious blocs within the GOP view the field of possible 2012 candidates. Interesting highlights:

  • Among Evangelicals, Huckabee's way out in front. Bubba has yet to throw his hat into the ring. Running a distant second and third are Palin and Romney, respectively.

  • Among "mainline" Christians, Romney is the fave over Gingrich by about 6%, followed by Huckabee and Palin

  • Catholics also prefer Huckabee over Romney or Gingrich by over 10%

  • Other religious blocs (or those with no affiliation) like Romney best, with "None/Don't Know" as their next best choice. Mitt bests Palin in this category by more than 2 to 1.

  • Tim Pawlenty, who with Newt is the only real candidate at this point, failed to do better than 5% among any religious bloc.
Given how dominated the GOP is by Evangelical and other Christian groups, Romney is going to have a very hard time securing the nomination. If Huckabee doesn't run, that leaves Newt, Palin, and Romney to try to outdo each other among the loony fringe Tea Party bloc, which is almost exclusively white, Christian, and socially conservative. That further hurts Mitt's chances, and most certainly puts Newt's three marriages and other moral failings in sharp contrast. Andrew has said it before, and it bears repeating: this race is truly Sarah Palin's to lose. If she sits it out, she could either be squandering a very good opportunity, or simply holding off until 2016 when there won't be an incumbent sitting in the White House. My bet is on the latter, which makes her all the more dangerous because so far I see absolutely no one on the Democratic side who looks more centrist than the President or who looks like a liberal firebrand who can really energize the party. Hillary will be too old by then, and Newark Mayor Cory Booker could not overcome the idea of back-to-back African Americans in the White House. Retiring Virginia Senator Jim Webb is too conservative (though very appealing to middle America). Still, there's time for someone to rise to the surface and surprise us all.

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