Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Romney In

Mitt Romney "entering" the race for the nomination isn't exactly news; he's been running for president for years now, and running for 2012 since about the time that the last votes were counted in November 2008. Or earlier. His change of status is important to accountants and lawyers, but it's not important politically.

That said, I've been using these announcements as an excuse to say something, so I might as well continue. Romney's a fascinating candidate, because there are so many reasons why he shouldn't get the nomination (in increasing order of importance, in my judgement: health care, religion, abortion), but yet here we are. He's obviously a serious candidate with a real chance of winning.

Moreover, since I said basically the same thing about Tim Pawlenty's chances about three weeks ago, little has changed. There are still only three candidates actively running with a realistic chance of winning (those two, and Haley Barbour). At that point, I identified five others (Huck, Daniels, Perry, Jeb Bush, and Palin) who could plausibly still get the nomination. But every week that goes by without any real action on their part makes it just a little harder.

I suppose I could add that every week that goes by also makes it even more unlikely that some other dark horse will emerge. On the margins, it's probably also true that every week without one of the other five moving close to active candidacies makes it somewhat more likely that one of the implausible current candidates (Newt, Bachmann, Santorum, etc.) winds up winning, but again, we're talking about very small chances here.

At least, that's how I see it. Intrade doesn't agree. When I first said there were eight plausible candidates remaining, Intrade gave those eight a combined 72% chance of their market. That's down to about 65% today. So I continue to think that collectively my group of eight is seriously undervalued.


  1. Agreed. As far as Intrade, I'll buy low and sell high during the campaign (when the inconceivable candidates start to drop out). Thanks.

  2. Is Intrade that far off?
    I mean, you can't use the price as your guide, because it sets a "price" even when there aren't any sellers meeting any buyers. So, I've never fully understood what Intrade's "price" means when the market isn't functioning. A lot of these political markets have next to no activity in them, and buyers are far from sellers. So, what does a "price" mean in such a context?

  3. I'm curious why you, like so many others, think the field is essentially closed this early, especially in the first post-Citizens United election.

    Bush didn't announce for the 2000 campaign until June 1999, and there's lots of big money players (notably Rove and his Crossroads organization) still on the sidelines for the 2012 race.

    I wouldn't be surprised at all to see a new name appear in May/June/July with lots of firepower already lined up behind him.

  4. Darren,

    I do think that Daniels, Palin, and Huck, none of whom are fully active candidates now, could still get all the way in. Of the rest, the only two I believe could come in this late are Perry and Jeb.

    But Bush didn't start in June 99; I'm not sure when he really got started, but he was certainly actively running in 1998.

  5. >But Bush didn't start in June 99; I'm not sure when he really got started, but he was certainly actively running in 1998.

    He was also the front-runner very early on.

    Even without any heavy campaigning outside of Texas, and even with his insistence that he will not think seriously about a Presidential race until well into next year, the 51-year-old Mr. Bush routinely tops polls in which likely voters are asked to survey the prospective Republican field. (NYT, May 25, 1998)

    And there is evidence he was preparing for it as early as '97:

    House Speaker Gingrich is among names being floated, although his high negative ratings and his ethical lapses earn him the title of "Candidate the Democrats Would Most Like to Face." A more plausible possibility has a familiar name: Texas governor George W. Bush. Son of the former president, Bush tested the presidential waters August 23 at a gathering of 2,000 GOP activists in Indianapolis. While his plodding style didn't earn him an ovation, it may be just the ticket to avoid any pitfalls to the White House.

  6. If you ask me, the GOP list is presently something like Dozy, Dopey, Crazy, Lazy, Loony, Fatty and Romney.


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