Posted by | November 12, 2010 12:47 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

Yeah, it’s early.  But the first Republican presidential debate is scheduled for the spring so it is time to start the meaningless analysis.  Nate Silver says that there are four clear favorites:

Based on the objective indicators — which is to say, the polls — you have four clear front-runners: Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich. Each has comfortably over 80 percent name recognition among Republicans, and they are about 10 points ahead of any other candidates in trial heats that have tested various combinations of the candidates against one another. Each is also pretty well liked among Republicans. All have strong television presences and the makings of a campaign infrastructure. They all have pretty distinct brands.

Silver says it would be foolish to bet on anyone besides these 4, but I think he oversimplifies things.  First of all, three of them (Palin, Huckabee, and Gingrich) are going for the same voters.  One of them will emerge as the favorite among the “base.”  The other two will fade quickly.  That will leave a base candidate (I say Gingrich) against an “electability” candidate.  I think Romney is fatally flawed as the alternative to the base candidate.  Therefore I think someone else will emerge (Thune, Daniels, Barbour, Pawlenty) as the alternative and have a reasonable shot at the nomination.

The Republicans better hope so.  Obama will crush any of the big 4.

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Copyright 2010 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.