Right Turn readers know that I am not a fan of early national polls in presidential races. Four years ago, Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson were leading the pack of presidential GOP hopefuls. Enough said.
The Post’s polling expert Peyton Craighill provides another reason to be skeptical of the polls. He tells me that Texas Gov. Rick Perry “is much stronger in the South than elsewhere. In our September Post-ABC poll, he is ahead of [Mitt] Romney 40 percent to 20 percent in the South among Republicans and GOP-leaning independents. Romney is more competitive in the rest of the country: 24 percent to 19 percent for Perry outside the South.”
Consider now that the early primary polls, with the exception of South Carolina, are all outside the South. More illustrative of the candidates’ standing therefore may be the polling in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, Michigan and Florida (an atypical southern state). Perry will need to show strength in these locales to build the momentum necessary to win the nomination. Moreover, after South Carolina and other early-state contests, the race — if not already decided — moves to diverse states such as Virginia, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Tennessee and Arizona.
It’s noteworthy that today Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), a staunch conservative who opposes a hard-line stance on immigration, endorsed . . . Romney. Huh? Well, the press release says: “Mitt Romney has the experience and vision to get our country on the right path again. Whether it was his time as governor or as a successful businessman, Mitt Romney has shown that he has the economic knowledge to create the environment for businesses to start hiring again.” Or put differently, Perry is not so impressive outside Texas and the deep South.