It’s nearly 22 months till the 2012 election, and the polling is in full gear.    Focus seems to be shifting to Iowa and New Hampshire, as pundits are counting the number of trips potential candidates have made to the Midwest and Northeast.  Does any of that mean anything?  Maybe, but not likely.

Today New Hampshire held a straw poll of 500 party faithful.  And not at all surprising, the neighboring ex-Governor Mitt Romney came out on top.  And what does this tell us?  Absolutely nothing.  Former Massachusetts Governor Romney has been a favorite of the New Hampshire Republican Party for some time, however he is far from a favorite across the country.  If I were to predict, I’d say Romney won’t even make the top 3 in the upcoming campaign.  The failed Massachusetts healthcare law is far too close, in many respects, to the grossly unpopular Obamacare, which is likely to be a major issue in the campaign, putting Romney is the position of arguing against a law not too different from what he approved in Massachusetts.  It’s an argument he can’t win.  If beating Obama is the goal, Romney is not the person to do it.

Surprisingly, or perhaps not, Rep. Ron Paul, father of the Tea Party favorite Rand Paul, who himself has run before, came in second place with 11 percent.  My dog has a better chance of winning the nomination than Ron Paul.  Rep. Paul is not a bad guy.  Hell I’d trade him for Obama in a second.  However Paul’s strong Libertarian leanings make him distasteful to the main-stream Republican Party.  And you need them to get the nomination.

I like Tim Pawlenty.  I was surprised to see that he came in 3rd place.  I think the former Governor would make an excellent member of the next President’s cabinet.  I just can’t see him winning.  Again, nice guy.  This coming election is going to get very ugly, and will take a fighter.  I just don’t see that in Pawlenty.

In 4th place was former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.  Of course she’s also former candidate for Vice President on the 2008 Republican ticket.  I like her.  I like her a lot.  But I do at times have problems listening to her.  It’s nothing about her politics that I disagree with.  In fact, I probably agree with her on 99 out of 100 issues.  It’s more of a presentation style than substance.  She’s got plenty of substance, however American politics often have more to do with style than substance.  That’s how we got Obama in the first place.  I think if she wanted the nomination, she could have it.  But she’s been so demonized by the media and left-wing extremists, she’d become the rallying cry for the libs.  She’s a smart enough woman to realize that her nomination would only serve to be the greatest get-out-the-vote operation in Liberal/Progressive history.  I hope she continues doing what she’s doing and makes 10 billion dollars.  She and her family don’t need the hardship of another Presidential campaign.

In 5th place was Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, immediately followed by Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina.  I actually like both of them very much.  Whether they are going to run, and whether they can garner the funds necessary for the grueling primary season is impossible to say at this point.

Now, on to the surprises. 

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich earned only 3 percent, as did Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.  Maybe it’s a Northeast kinda thing, but those are 3 powerhouse candidates.  All 3 would likely be able to out fund-raise the top 3 (Of course Romney tends to self-fund.)  Gingrich is a personal favorite.  He gets a lot of grief because of a past marital indiscretion.  Daniels is a proven manager, both in private and public life.  His performance in Indiana has been well noticed.  He doesn’t seem likely to run, however he is well thought of.  I find him a little stoic for my own tastes.  The surprise of the 2008 elections on the Republican side was a little-known Governor, probably best known as the guy who followed Bill Clinton in Arkansas, Mike Huckabee.  Huckabee is now quite well known.  He’s proven to be a very good candidate, and he may turn out to be very strong, should he run.  The rankings of these 3 potential candidates makes me question whether the New Hampshire Repubs have any clue about what will or won’t sell across the country.

Trailing the pack were former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani with 2 percent and Donald Trump with 1 percent.  This isn’t that surprising.  I love Rudy.  I don’t agree with all his politics, however I think he’s a superior manager.  I could see him as a Vice President.  And that brings us to Donald Trump.  The fact that Trump got 1 percent of the vote is amazing.  It’s amazing he even got 1 vote, let alone 5.  Odds of him running have been about 99:1 against.  That is, up until his interview with Neil Cavuto this week.  Had that not occurred, I’ll bet he wouldn’t have received a single vote.  If in 4 days he went from 0 to 5, I wouldn’t rule this guy out.  In fact, as I stated in a prior posting this week, I think Donald is for real.  Say what you will about this guy, but if you want us to be the number 1 economy, can you think of someone better suited to knock off the competition?

So, all this being said, don’t give it any creedence.  It’s a straw poll.  We’re still quite a ways away from knowing who is going to run.  It will likely flip around 2 or 3 times before we get to this fall.  It’s kinda fun to chat about the next election (hell, anything that lets me think about a post-Obama era is entertaining to me) and we’ll see where things go.  For now, neither celebrate nor complain.  It’s a lot of nothing.