- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 20, 2014

‘Some emerging Republican sentiment about a certain governor would not much surprise the Utah-based “Draft Mitt” grass-roots effort. A new poll of likely GOP primary voters from Zogby Analytics shows Mitt Romney outpolling and outdistancing his nearest rivals for the nomination by a two-to-one margin.

Romney places first in the 2016 race for the nomination with 20 percent,” says pollster and Forbes contributor John Zogby, who notes Mr. Romney has strong support across the board, leading all his Republican rivals among men, women, moderates, conservatives and evangelicals, the poll found.

Romney’s showing is no doubt due a lot to name recognition — after all he has been out campaigning for two full cycles already. But it also shows that he has not really hurt himself among the GOP base,” Mr. Zogby says, noting that in the aftermath of the 2012 election, Mr. Romney distinguished himself, but has “maintained a restrained dignity,” and remained outside the dysfunctional political realm.

“What is most impressive to me is the 23 percent support he receives from self-described born again voters. His closest rival among this group is Mike Huckabee with 14 percent. This was the group that was most troubled by Romney’s leadership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints,” Mr. Zogby says. “They alone represent almost half of GOP primary voters and their support is vital.”

The numbers indeed are promising for Mr. Romney, who still insists he has no interest in the White House derby. Among Republicans overall, the findings reveal New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in a distant second place with 12 percent, followed by Sen. Rand Paul (11 percent), Sen. Ted Cruz (9 percent), Mr. Huckabee (8 percent), Jeb Bush (6 percent), Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Sen. Marco Rubio both with 4 percent, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (3 percent), plus Govs. Susana Martinez, Nikki Haley, John Kasich and Sen. Rob Portman all with 1 percentage point — or under.

PAUL RYAN’S REPRISE


SEE ALSO: Business as usual: Rick Perry in Washington this Thursday, then it’s on to New Hampshire


“Sign me up for Mitt mania. Absolutely. I’d drive his bus if he asked me to.”

— Rep. Paul Ryan about his former 2012 running mate Mitt Romney, to Bloomberg Politics managing editor Mark Halperin.

Meanwhile, the pair are together again, and appear ready for a new buddy movie. Or something. Fox News host Megyn Kelly got the big “get.” She has a joint interview with Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan at 9 p.m. Thursday on the network.

ONLY TEPID ABOUT A ROMNEY RE-RUN

And of course, another survey always lurks around the corner.

“There’s no appetite for another Romney presidential campaign,” says William Jordan, an analyst for YouGov, where a new poll finds that 53 percent of Americans don’t want Mitt Romney to give a White House run another try.

Oh, but it’s complicated, and there are always more numbers. The YouGov poll also found that 34 percent of Republicans said Mr. Romney should not run; 34 percent were also undecided while 32 percent said he should just go ahead and run. And there are some ideology-based gaps as well. The survey found that 41 percent of conservatives wanted Mr. Romney to stay out of the race; 30 percent were unsure and 29 percent gave him the nod.

“If Romney ran again, he would not be the first modern president to run after having lost in a general election. Richard Nixon ran against John F. Kennedy and lost narrowly in 1960, but went on to defeat Hubert Humphrey in 1968,” Mr. Jordan notes.

THE 65 PRESIDENTIAL ‘MIGHT RUNS’

A tough list to assemble, but somebody had to do it. There is a veritable battalion of potential White House contenders on both sides of the aisle — 23 Democrats and 42 Republicans. So says Bob Cusack, editor-in-chief of The Hill.

“There are 65 prominent people who might run for president in 2016,” he says. “The Democratic and Republican fields contrast sharply. Hillary Clinton is the clear front-runner while there is no front-runner on the Republican side.”

The choices among Democrats includes, yes, Al Gore, plus Howard Dean, Secretary of State John F. Kerry and former Sen. Jim Webb among many assorted officials. Among Republicans, Mitt Romney, Ben Carson, Allen West, Herman Cain, Jeb Bush, John Bolton, Newt Gingrich and even Donald Trump appear on the roster, alongside all the GOP governors and lawmakers who are already busy striking a presidential posture.

And of course a certain former first lady, senator and secretary of state figures prominently.

“Hillary Clinton. Will she run? Of course she will,” Mr. Cusack observes.

KERRY UNLEASHED

“There is evil in this world. ISIL = ugly, savage, inexplicable, nihilistic, valueless evil.”

— Secretary of State John F. Kerry, in a tweet Wednesday afternoon.

AND IN SUMMATION

“With every day that passes, as the world continues to be engulfed in turmoil, Barack Obama proves he’s not really a president, he just plays one on vacation. America needs a commander-in-chief, not a golfer-in-chief.”

Brent Bozell, chairman of ForAmerica, a grass-roots group supporting traditional values, liberty and small government.

THE PERRY PRESS

With considerable ado, trailed by cameras, and likely a few murmurs and shouts from reporters.

That is basically how Texas Gov. Rick Perry will arrive in the nation’s capital for a Heritage Foundation forum Thursday that’s supposed to be about immigration and the border crisis. But Mr. Perry has drawn the attention of the nation and the nation’s media following his indictment for abuse of power, a police mugshot and a Friday court appearance — and his vigorous defense against it all.

“We are beyond capacity for audience and media We’ve just gotten a ton of calls, particularly from broadcasters. All the major ones will be present,” a Heritage spokeswoman tells Inside the Beltway. “Governor Perry will stay on the immigration and border topics, as far as we know.”

C-SPAN will carry the event live at high noon; it can also be viewed live online at Heritage.org.

POLL DU JOUR

59 percent of Americans oppose local teachers using the Common Core State Standards in their curriculum; 76 percent of Republicans, 38 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of independents agree.

33 percent of Americans overall favor the use of the standards; 17 percent of Republicans, 53 percent of Democrats and 34 percent of independents agree.

56 percent overall say that local school boards should have the greatest influence in deciding what is taught in public schools; 68 percent of Republicans, 44 percent of Democrats and 55 percent of independents agree.

28 percent overall say the state government should have the greatest influence in deciding what is taught in public schools; 28 percent of Republicans, 26 percent of Democrats and 28 percent of independents agree.

15 percent overall say the federal government should have the greatest influence in deciding what is taught in public schools; 3 percent of Republicans, 28 percent of Democrats and 16 percent of independents agree.

Source: A Gallup Poll of 1,001 U.S. adults conducted May 29-June 20 and released Wednesday.

Ideal scenarios, clever plans to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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