Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The rise of Huntsman?

I just did an interview on the possible entry of former Utah governor Jon Huntsman into the GOP presidential race. Now, he's not a candidate I've been following particularly closely, but I found it interesting that he managed to hire Whit Ayres as a pollster. Ayres is a major player in the world of Republican pollsters, and as I said in the interview, while I don't think it's a big deal to hire a pollster, hiring this one sends a signal to the rest of the field that Huntsman is someone to take seriously. To be sure, Huntsman has some issues -- he currently works for Barack Obama as the U.S. Ambassador to China, for one thing, and also he's currently pulling sub-Bachmann numbers on Intrade. But surely the hiring of Ayres helps a bit. Of course, Ayres did work for Lamar!...

It remains fascinating to me that for all the unserious GOP candidates out there, there have been very few confirmed serious candidates entering the race, and we're just a human gestational cycle away from the Iowa Caucus. Romney is almost certainly in, as is Pawlenty, but a lot of other folks who would normally make for very solid presidential candidates are either staying out or being very tepid about entering. Is it because they think Obama's a shoe-in and they're waiting until 2016? Because the economy's shaky enough that they want to wait and see just how strong the recovery is? Because the Tea Party folks have thrown a wrench into the invisible primary signaling game and it's harder to tell if you have the support to run a reasonable campaign? Because technology makes it easier to organize and fundraise on the downlow without publicly committing?

No comments: