Gallup tracking poll for January 2012
(click for larger version)
Nearly everyone agrees that national polls have little meaning, but Gallup - bless their very traditional hearts - does tracking polls every damn day, which give us the chance to see a cool jagged line graph like the one above. The red and orange squiggles that have now flat-lined are Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman, respectively. Perry had a big bump when he got in, but when he showed himself time and again not to be George W. Bush's intellectual equal - and possibly not even Sarah Palin's peer - the bloom was off the rose and he limped back to Texas. Huntsman didn't even have a time in the sun. Besides not having much name recognition, Huntsman is way too moderate for today's GOP. The fact he took a job in the Obama administration is tantamount in Republicans' eyes today to selling nuclear secrets to Iran.
The big stories of the month were the alleged inevitability of Mitt Romney after New Hampshire, the voters giving Gingrich a second surge to take South Carolina and Romney's return to front runner status after a big win in Florida. While the numbers are interesting, it's the characters that make this reality show such a riveting train wreck. Even Republicans are astonished at tone deaf Mitt's latest number one smash on The Gaffe Parade "I'm not concerned about the very poor." When your best candidate is so damn clueless, no wonder None Of The Above is almost never lower than third place and refuses to dip below 15%. Some network should let None Of The Above show up at a debate, just an empty podium with a slideshow of Republicans who either declared they wouldn't run or dropped out before we got to this Not So Fab Four.
I'll put up a similar graph at the end of each month until someone sews up enough delegates to win the nomination. That means at least through February and I wouldn't be surprised if there is still some action in March and possibly beyond. November is a very long way, but I have a hard time seeing one of these guys actually beating Obama. Obama is going to have to beat himself, and so far in his career, that isn't his style.