December 8, 2007

Romney in Iowa: Rattle rattle thunder clatter boom boom, ka-boom?

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:31 am

Monday Morning Clacker (aka Chris Stewart), who blogs from New Hampshire at greenmountainpolitics1, covers something that will require some time to absorb:

We don’t like polls.

Especially Iowa Caucus polls with margin of error of 7 points.

But this new Iowa poll is worth pointing out.

Is it ever (bold is mine):

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee has vaulted over his major GOP challengers to take a commanding lead in the race to win the Iowa caucuses …..

The most dramatic result to come out of the poll, which is based on telephone interviews with 1,408 registered Iowa voters on Dec. 5 and 6, is Huckabee’s emergence from the shadows of the GOP race into the front runner’s spot in just two months. The ordained Southern Baptist minister now leads Romney by a two-to-one margin, 39 percent to 17 percent, among likely GOP caucus-goers. In the last NEWSWEEK survey, conducted Sept. 26-27, Huckabee polled a mere 6 percent to Romney’s 25 percent, which then led the field.

That’s a 41-point swing. Just nine days earlier (Nov. 26-27), in a Rasmussen poll, Huckabee led Romney by only three points (28-25).

Note that at least some poll respondents must have stated their preferences after hearing “The Speech” on the morning of December 6.

So much for “Romney’s –Objectively– Great, Great Day.” Heh.

The disintegration just described is a better explanation for the timing of “The Speech” than anything else, doncha think? A serious crumble was speculated on a few days ago by yours truly:

As to Romney, it seems to me that he probably had “such a speech” planned for the GOP convention upon accepting the nomination, or perhaps shortly thereafter. But I suspect that, like a heavily-favored football team caught looking ahead to next week’s game against a hated rival, but down in the fourth quarter to Podunk U, he’s having to pull the speech — his “big play” — out from under the wraps much earlier than he anticipated. It may be that the campaign’s internal polling shows the SS Romney taking on water much more quickly and forcefully than in the info we get to see.

As speculations go, I’d say that was a pretty good one.

Back to the Clack (bold again mine):

Team Romney has to be in a full blown panic.

Full. Blown. Panic.

….. The very talented and smart Marc Ambinder asks if this Newsweek poll is really a gift for Mitt Romney because “it’s always easier to beat expectations when you’re expected to lose”.

Marc raises a fair point.

If Mitt Romney hadn’t already outspent Mike Huckabee 2,431,674,273,193,124,686 to 1 in Iowa.

And if Mitt’s path to the nomination wasn’t built around coming in 1st in the Iowa Caucus.

If Mitt loses Iowa to Huckabee it will be an unmitigated disaster for Team Romney.

I don’t think it’s out of order to ask if all of this, along with similar and frankly stronger contributions from others over a period of several years, is finally making a difference.

__________________________________________

UPDATE: One of the difference-makers, Gregg Jackson of Pundit Review, weighs in on “The Speech” post and the cause of the disintegrating poll numbers –

Apparently, the voters are not as ignorant as the conservative elites think they are.

He specifically calls out the elites, as he should.

UPDATE 2: A Mason-Dixon poll noted at RealClearPolitics has it 32-20-11-5-7 for Huck-Romney-Fred-Rudy-McCain.

Positivity: Cell Phones for Soldiers

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:01 am

I heard about this on the Laura Ingraham Show yesterday, and was blown away by what the two teens, a brother and sister, have accomplished.
From Norwell, Massachusetts (Cell Phones for Soldiers home page):

Updated 10d ag0 (Nov. 27)

Teens help troops phone home

At the holidays, for a soldier at war, there’s nothing like a phone call home. Brittany and Robbie Bergquist have provided more than $1.4 million worth of them — 24 million precious minutes.
The Bergquists are teenage siblings who didn’t even own a cellphone in 2004, when they heard that an Army reservist faced a $7,600 bill for making calls home from Iraq.

They founded Cell Phones for Soldiers based on three ideas: Most people have an old, inactive cellphone lying around; they’d probably donate it to the right cause; and they’d agree that, as Brittany puts it, “Everyone has a right to call home.”

In three years, an effort that began with a piggybank raid and a car wash has turned into a booming home front charity — one that has turned its founders’ lives upside down and won them devoted friends throughout the military and beyond.

Cell Phones for Soldiers solicits unwanted cellphones, sells them to a recycler for about $5 each and uses the money to buy pre-paid phone cards that are shipped to the war zone.

“We take for granted our ability to call home and speak to our families,” says Brittany, 16. “The troops don’t do that. They appreciate what we’re doing. That’s what sparks us to do more.”

During the past three years, CPFS has given out more than 400,000 phone cards, many in envelopes its young founders addressed, stuffed and licked themselves. “A lot of tongue paper cuts,” says Brittany, who appeared with her 15-year-old brother Monday on ABC’s daytime talk show, The View, to tout the program.

Their bottom-up initiative typifies how home front Americans support troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, says Morton Ender, a U.S. Military Academy sociologist who has studied how troops communicate with home.

In past wars, the government engineered support. Now it’s mostly informal and decentralized, he says: “The things that have been most successful” — such as CPFS — “have just bubbled up.”

CPFS collects at least 50,000 phones a month, more than all but a few companies in the nation. The 7,000 drop-off locations range from AT&T retail stores and Liberty Tax Service offices to Fabulous Freddy’s Car Wash in Las Vegas and Fine Line Auto Repair in Anchorage.

The organization sends about 25,000 one-hour phone cards overseas each month. This holiday season the Bergquists are working toward a bold goal: a phone card a month for each of the more than 185,000 U.S. servicemembers in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf. That would cost about $750,000, half of all they’ve raised in three years.

But Bob Bergquist, the youths’ father and CPFS overseer, says that with hundreds of millions of cellphones sitting in Americans’ drawers and attics, “We haven’t even scratched the surface.” …..

Go here for the rest of the story.