The race for the Republican presidential nomination has been going on for months and is seemingly inescapable, as almost every media outlet in the country has covered it. Despite the constant coverage of the race, it is almost impossible to keep up with who is currently the favored candidate and who is ahead in the polls.
In the past week, long-shot candidate Rick Santorum received 24.5 percent of the vote in the Iowa Caucus, almost tying with somewhat consistent front-runner, Mitt Romney. This surge of support for Santorum shocked the media, especially after receiving only 9.8 percent of the vote in the Iowa, Ames Straw Poll in August.
Every month there has been a new Republican front-runner; it seems as though party members simply cannot make up their minds. Michele Bachmann was in the lead with 28.5 percent of the vote in the August, Ames Straw Poll, and in the days following her poor showing in the January Iowa Caucus, she announced that she would end her campaign.
After Bachmann’s success in August, Rick Perry became the new favorite in the succeeding months, until his poll numbers experienced sharp drops in September and October after several embarrassing slip ups during debates and after the politically incorrect and highly criticized “Strong” ad campaign
Herman Cain was next in line after Perry’s fall from grace and it seemed like he had a legitimate chance at winning the Republican nomination. With his 9-9-9 tax plan and his Washington-outsider appeal, Cain was the real deal for many voters. When allegations of sexual harassment emerged, Cain’s poll numbers began dropping. When his thirteen-year long extramarital affair with Ginger White was revealed, the public had apparently had enough and in early December, Cain suspended his presidential campaign.
On the heals of Cain’s retreat came Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the house, who is ironically well known for a colorful personal life, not unlike that of Cain’s. During the month of December, Gingrich was the favored Republican, but in the Iowa Caucus, he came in fourth with only 13.3% of the vote and it became clear that he was no longer the frontrunner.
Now it is Santorum’s turn to hold the spot light and soon, his turn will be over. Jon Huntsman was just recently thrust under the spotlight in the New Hampshire primaries and it looks as though he will be the next flavor of the month.
Throughout the campaign it seems that only two candidates have had consistent poll numbers, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. Paul has a base of loyal followers, but they may not large enough to get him the nomination.
The Republicans will be forced to make up their minds soon as primary season is already upon us. It is almost impossible to determine who the next golden child will be, but with all the twists and turns that it has taken, it could be anyone.