Do you remember who had the lead in the Republican presidential race four years ago this week? Of course you don’t, because you know it doesn’t matter who is ahead in the odd-year September.
That said, jar your memory. Remember who the favorite was?
The then-sitting Texas governor had surged to the lead in the polls beginning with an Aug. 21 Gallup survey that had him at 25 percent, with Mitt Romney a distant second at 14 percent.
Perry would register a 36-17 lead over Romney in a Sept. 1 George Washington University poll, and had a 28-21 lead on Romney as late as a Sept. 25 CNN poll, before fading in advance of the now-famous November debate gaffe that derailed his campaign thereafter.
Romney took the lead back from Perry in an Oct. 2 ABC News/Washington Post poll, which registered the first signs of the Herman Cain surge that saw Cain take the lead in a Nov. 9 GWU poll.
Then before the end of the year, it was briefly Newt Gingrich’s turn, then Romney’s again. As the primary season began to actually unfold after the first of the year, Rick Santorum had a brief lead, before Romney climbed back atop the ladder.
Keep this in mind the next time you turn on your favorite cable news channel for the latest breathless report on who’s in first and by how much.
To analogize the GOP primaries to a football season, we’re still in OTAs looking ahead to training camp before the preseason games before the season opener, with nobody blocking or tackling full-speed for another four months.
– Column by Chris Graham