I agree with most mainstream pundits that only Romney and Perry can win the nomination. Both have lovely hair which is a key attribute in a presidential candidate. My preference is Romney because he is a highly effective leader in both government and business- and he can win the votes of moderates and even disgruntled liberals. Also Perry's record of cronyism and lack of concern about executing innocent people are disturbing.
For the last two years Romney's strategy has been to run as the candidate of economic competence for a general election that would be about the dismal record on jobs and growth by the Obama administration. Against the presumed candidates up until now- Huckabee, Palin, Pawlenty, Huntsman, Gingrich etc- he could reasonably claim to be far and away the most plausible man to turn around the US economy.
Rick Perry is the one candidate who Romney cannot play the economy card against with much success for the simple reason that Texas has an incredibly successful economy compared to the rest of the United States. There is a question of how much that has to do with Perry personally or how much he could apply Texan policies to the USA as a whole but politics is partly about being in the right place to take credit for good things that happen. He is also a better campaigner than Romney.
However I am going to predict a Romney win because:
- Bachman will take more votes from Perry.
- Romney is a more attractive candidate outside the South, support for him will be strong in the North East of course but also in the Mormon heavy Western states around Utah and the Mid West where his father was a successful governor.
- He has a campaign network in place from 2008 and will probably out organise Perry.
- The Republicans tend to nominate from the more moderate wing of the party.