Minnesota's in the Middle

All things Minnesota politics

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Bloomberg versus Perot

With it looking more and more like Michael Bloomberg will enter the presidential race it seems like we should review the success of Ross Perot's run in 1992. If you recall Perot briefly got out of the race, and then explained that he was worried about his Daughters wedding when he reentered the race. Clearly this hurt his momentum not to mention it made many otherwise supporters question if he had the stability to serve as president. Still his results were very good capturing 18.91% of the vote nationwide with 23.96% in Minnesota and a 2nd place finish of 30.44% in Maine. The possibility of Perot winning at least one state had he not dropped out seems to have existed. So the question is can Bloomberg match or exceed Perot's 1992 success?

Lets start by stating that there are about 2% of Americans who will always vote for the strongest new third party candidate be it Ralf Nader or Ross Perot, and that # only grows as the candidate becomes more competitive so we'll call Bloombergs base that he doesn't have to work for 3%. After that he has to win the battle of ideas, convince people he will not spoil the election (come on Democrats give us instant run off voting and you'll never have to worry again) and find and maintain momentum.

Perot while a much stronger small government candidate still saw his success in the more liberal northern states like Minnesota, Oregon, Maine, along with Nevada and outside of his home state of Texas was not at all competitive in the gulf states where he only received 8.72% in Mississippi and 10.09% in Tennessee. So while it seems that things like smoking bans and gun restrictions will make it tough to match Perot's success that might not be as true as those voters have no reason not to stick with the Republican. Bloomberg will be able to match Perot on economic issues where straying Republicans won't care much about smoking and guns. And of course the fiscally wise Democrats along with Independents will be there for the taking.

The biggest key for Bloomberg will be who the other parties put up against him. On the Democrat side he's safe with Hillary Clinton leading the way, while he will need someone other then McCain or Guiliani on the Republican side, best case scenario Fred Thomson. If he gets the right match up then he very well might pick up a few states, and as soon as that possibility becomes clear the media will pick up on it, and last minute Ventura like momentum can happen.

I predicted about a week ago he would finish somewhere around 6%, but the way the media is picking up on him I think he's closer to 10%, winning is a huge long shot but he may be able to do more for the centrist independence movement then Perot did. In Minnesota and New York he has Independence Parties that are ready to endorse him. Unity 08' will also be a resource for organization, but in large part the organized efforts will start out of Bloomberg's campaign and might not show up in full until 2012 much like the Reform Party developing for Perots second campaign.

I have a tough time saying he will hit 30% in any state, but at the same think he can run a better campaign then Perot. So was Perot simply the right candidate at the right time, was Perot a much better candidate then Bloomberg, or is the gap between the Democrat and Republican support ready to explode again?

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