The business of politics has become an entertaining spectator sport. People love to watch, dissect, and opine on the competition that is political campaigning.
Rick Santorum and Ron Paul are still in the race; however, it is becoming clear the republican primary is a two person race with Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich as the front runners. As Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute has said, “Florida is essentially a dead heat and a two-man race between Romney and Gingrich entering the last week of the Florida campaign.”
A Quinnipiac University poll of likely Florida voters, conducted January 26, showed Romney leading Gingrich by a margin of nine points with Romney at 38 percent and Gingrich at 29 percent. An American Research Group poll, conducted January 23 to 24, showed Romney leading Gingrich by a margin of seven points with Romney at 41 percent and Gingrich at 34 percent. A Time magazine/CNN poll showed Romney at 36 percent and Gingrich at 34 percent.
By any reasonable evaluation politics is big business. There is enough money raised during presidential party primaries and presidential elections to make a significant impact on state budget deficits and a sizeable impact on the federal budget deficit, if the money was used for that purpose as opposed to funding ads, media time, etc.
Political action committees (PACs) have raised and spent more than $10 million combined on TV ads in Florida alone. As of Thursday, January 26, PACs have spent $42 million on the 2012 elections. From OpenSecrets.org, a representative list of some PAC spending is as follows:
• Restore our Future (pro Romney)
• Winning Our Future (pro Gingrich)
• Make Us Great Again (pro Perry)
• Endorse Liberty (pro Paul)
• Our Destiny PAC (pro Huntsman)
• Red, White and Blue (pro Santorum)
• American Fedn of St/Cnty/Munic employees (anti Romney)
• Republic Majority Campaign (anti Obama)
• DNC Services Corp (pro Obama)
• Citizens for a Working America PAC (pro Romney)
• 9-9-9 FUND (pro Cain)
• Priorities USA Action (anti Romney)
Part of the business and sport of politics, especially with the two front-runners, is being played out through policy and opinion on the economy, job creation, immigration, health care, Bain Capital, off-short accounts, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, consulting, lobbying, tax rate fairness, infidelity, fact bending & twisting, blind trusts, abortion, occupy wall street, ethics violations, and audience participation/reaction at debates.
Political campaigns are too often carried out in sound bites, negative ads, perception and manupliation of facts with little time spent on specific details and plans. These sound bites and perception can be good for entertainment but offer minimal substance.
The number of delegates needed to win the republican nomination is 1,114. From the Associated Press, the current delegate count is: Gingrich 23, Romney 19, Santorum 13, and Paul 3. Tuesday, January 31, 2012, is the date for the Florida republican primary election which carries 50 delegates. The campaigning and debates have spanned nine months and there are 47 more state primaries ahead. After the republican primaries the presidential campaign takes front stage. Florida is next in line, but the spectator sport of presidential election politics has 10 long months to go.
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