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At Tuesday’s Election Watch event, the fourth in a series at AEI, a panel of experts provided insight into the close and still raging GOP primary battle between Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul. Karlyn Bowman referenced recent polls showing highly unfavorable ratings for Republican frontrunners Romney and Santorum. According to Bowman, the polls likewise indicate that Americans do not like intrusive government in the health care realm. Henry Olsen explained that Romney is losing rural voters, using the locations of sports franchises as an analogy. All in all, Romney is not effectively connecting to many Republican voters — whereas he has been carrying the “somewhat conservative” vote in most states, Santorum has been thriving in the areas that voted for Mike Huckabee in the 2008 GOP primaries. Michael Barone elaborated on the topic of Romney, claiming that wealthy voters are kindred spirits with the candidate. Moreover, the categories from which Republicans draw their electoral strength are changing. Norm Ornstein concluded the discussion by saying that the Republican Party is suffering from having veered too far to the right, and highlighted the GOP positions on minimum wage and illegal immigration as two examples of this phenomenon.
Rick Santorum's pair of wins in Alabama and Mississippi not only bolsters his run for the Republican nomination, but also further fuels the argument that many Republicans are unhappy with the prospect of a Mitt Romney candidacy. Does Santorum's recent spate of primary victories firmly establish him as the conservative alternative to Romney? What could happen in Illinois and the other upcoming contests? And what does the future hold for Newt Gingrich?
Join AEI’s Election Watch team for a reflection on the races that have already taken place and a look ahead to the contests to come. Celebrating its 30th anniversary, AEI's Election Watch series is Washington's longest running election program for a reason: serious historical commentary and insights that can't be beat.
Registration and Breakfast
MICHAEL BARONE, AEI
HENRY OLSEN, AEI
NORMAN J. ORNSTEIN, AEI
KARLYN BOWMAN, AEI
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Michael Barone, a political analyst and journalist and a resident fellow at AEI, studies politics, American government, and campaigns and elections. The principal coauthor of the biennial “Almanac of American Politics” (National Journal Group), he has written many books on American politics and history. Mr. Barone is also a senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner.
Karlyn Bowman is a senior fellow at AEI. She compiles and analyzes American public opinion using available polling data on a variety of subjects, including the economy, taxes, the state of workers in America, the environment and global warming, attitudes about homosexuality and gay marriage, the North American Free Trade Agreement and free trade, the war in Iraq, and women's attitudes. In addition, Ms. Bowman has studied and spoken about the evolution of American politics resulting from key demographic and geographic changes. She has often lectured on the role of think tanks in the United States and writes a weekly column for Forbes.com.
Henry Olsen, a lawyer by training, is the director of AEI's National Research Initiative. In that capacity, he identifies leading academics and public intellectuals who work in an aspect of domestic public policy and recruits them to visit or write for AEI. Mr. Olsen studies and writes about the policy and political implications of long-term trends in social, economic, and political thought.
Norman J. Ornstein is a long-time observer of Congress and politics. He writes a weekly column for Roll Call and is an election analyst for CBS News. He also served as co-director of the AEI-Brookings Election Reform Project and as a senior counselor to the Continuity of Government Commission. Mr. Ornstein led a working group of scholars and practitioners that helped shape the law known as McCain-Feingold, which reformed the campaign-financing system. He was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004. His many books include “The Permanent Campaign and Its Future” (AEI Press, 2000); the co-authored “The Broken Branch: How Congress Is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track” (Oxford University Press, 2006); and, most recently, “Vital Statistics on Congress, 2008” (Brookings Institution Press, 2008), also co-authored.