We are now less than a year from the 2012 General Election. Right now, the polls stand where there’s essentially a three-man race between Herman Cain, Mitt Romney, and Newt Gingrich. Never say never, but I have serious doubts on there being a President Bachmann, Santorum, Huntsman, or even Paul. However, any one of those folks would be better than the current occupant of the White House, but my fellow Republicans shouldn’t get too cocky about winning in 2012.
In discussing the 2012 race with a co-worker a few months back, he noted that the Republicans basically had a lock on the White House because of President Obama’s unpopular policies. The only problem with that thinking is, Republicans aren’t still exactly the most popular folks either. Looking at the RealClearPolitics polling averages, a “generic” Republican beats the President, but when you replace “generic” with the candidates, the President runs away with the win in most cases. Not to mention, the Generic Congressional Ballot gives Democrats the advantage (as of earlier this week).
Although it’s nice to see that the GOP has a slight advantage heading into 2012, “Generic” won’t be running for President any time soon. In fact, I could bet that most folks see “Generic” as the cousin of “None of the Above”. I hear that he won’t be running in 2012 either.
2010 was a banner year for Republicans. Most were predicting similar results come 2012 especially with redistricting. Unfortunately, it looks like Republicans won’t be benefiting too much from the decennial reapportionment process. We might increase our majority a little bit in the House, but I don’t expect huge wins come Election Night 2012. I expect the Senate to shake out around a slight Republican majority of about 53-47.
Let’s be real on two fronts. First, this is November 2011. Most folks aren’t even thinking about Christmas 2011 let alone Election 2012. Things could start to shake out better towards the Republican side and we could still see the potential for large wins. Second, let’s keep reality in sight as we talk about 2012. I’m optimistic about 2012, and I plan on working hard for the eventual Republican candidate, but let’s be realistic in our expectations. We’re facing an incumbent presidential candidate who is still able to raise a pantload of money, who is still popular among the younger people, and who has a political campaign machine behind him. Just remember, it’s still hard to beat an incumbent…even if he does have less than 50% in public opinion polls.
It’s not fun throwing a bucket of cold water on the face of your party, but I believe it’s something that Republicans should keep in mind. We, as Republicans, have a lot of work to do in 2012.