Mitt Romney 2016

A certain wealthy man with good hair is doing very well in a meaningless poll.


Mitt Romney wasn’t a very good presidential candidate in 2008 or 2012 and insists he won’t run again in 2016. But, hey, people have heard of him. That’s the result of a worthless new poll.

TPM (“Mitt 2016? Romney Leads In Key Primary State Poll“):

The Purple Strategies poll placed Romney as the 2016 front-runner for the Republican nomination in New Hampshire with 25 percent of the vote. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) followed at 18 percent, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie ranked third at 17 percent.

Romney has emphatically stated that he won’t run for president again in 2016. But that hasn’t stopped the speculation. “You know what a lot of them say to me? I think we need Mitt back,” a GOP operative told BuzzFeed earlier this month of some top Republican donors.

Among the Democratic field, Hillary Clinton sat comfortably in the lead with 68 percent of the vote. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) was the only other candidate who earned more than a 10 percent share at 13 percent.

Traditionally, Republicans nominate the candidate whose “turn” it is. Typically, it’s the guy who came in second or was the vice presidential nominee the last go-round. But Romney won in a runaway in 2012, with Rick Santorum coming in a very distant second, garnering a mere 20 percent of the vote. And Paul Ryan’s stature would seem to have been diminished rather than enhanced by his showing as the second banana.

But Romney redux? That seems impossible in today’s environment. Even if he wanted it and his wife were willing to endure the grueling process yet again—and there’s no evidence or either—those who lose in the general election are damaged goods. Neither party has nominated a failed presidential nominee as second time since Richard Nixon in 1968. And it’s been even longer since a failed vice presidential nominee got a shot at the top spot, unless you count Walter Mondale in 1984; I don’t, since he’d won the first time out and was therefore a former vice president.

Most likely, then, 2016 will be like 2000, when a candidate who’d never run before will emerge as the winner. Indeed, with the exception of desperation runs by Pat Buchanan and Steve Forbes that went nowhere, the whole field were first-time candidates. That could well happen again.


It’s conce

FILED UNDER: 2016 Election, Environment, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Ron Beasley says:

    I don’t think the Romney family would be willing to put themselves through a campaign again. I suspect Mitt has removed being President from his bucket list. Even if he was I don’t think the Republican base would stand for it. Even before his implosion I didn’t really think Christy had much of a chance either. We may have a better idea of where the base is leaning after the midterm primaries. Is the tea party still calling the shots? If they are then I’d place my money on Rand Paul.

  2. Romney’s not running. Putting his name in the poll is really kind of dumb.

  3. James says:

    Whoever wrote this is an idiot.

  4. rudderpedals says:

    Someone needs to tell angry Ann to shut her pie hole if Mitt’s not running.

  5. superdestroyer says:

    As the U.S. becomes a one party state, doesn’t it make sense that the collapsing party will go through a stage where the nominaiton process looks ridiculous before the party finally goes out of existence.

    Given that every Republican candidates is fatally flawed and had zero chance of winning in the general election in 2016, why pay attention to the process. Why not focus on the Democratic party nominating process since who ever emerges (presumptively Hillary Clinton) will easily win the general election.

    It would make more sense to pundits and wonks to ignore the Republicans until the have a candidate who stands at least a 40% chance of winning in the general election. Using that standard, no one would ever pay attention to the republicans again.

  6. al-Ameda says:

    Many Republicans were, and are, hoping for another chance to vote the man who created jobs in the Car Elevator construction industry.

  7. grumpy realist says:

    What, we’re not going to get Round Two of Princess Ann moaning because the peasantry of the US don’t realize what an extra-speclicious wonderful man her husband is?

    Has anyone ever seen another candidate FLOTUS who has such issues of entitlement?

  8. CSK says:

    These kind of polls really are pointless. If you did one in Texas, Rick Perry might emerge as the frontrunner. A recent PPP poll concluded that Sarah Palin was the most popular Republican politician, though she wasn’t even on the list of prospective candidates.

    @Ron Beasley: The Tea Party wants Ted Cruz. Paul seems to alternate between being a hero and a villain to them.

  9. gVOR08 says:

    Lincoln once said that once the presidential bug bites you, it never let’s go of you. Romney’s been making a fair amount of noise lately trying to rehab his image. I would not be surprised if he takes another shot. The ending of his last campaign showed he’s prone to optimistic delusion. Ann seems to think that her self-absorbed ramblings are somehow helpful. He doesn’t seem to have anything else on his plate. Why not go for it?

  10. PJ says:

    Christie is gone, so who is the GOP establishment going to support? The rest are all crazy or semi-crazy and would never win in the general election.

  11. Mr. Replica says:

    Gov. Romney spent a year or so the last election running away from his accomplishments as Governor of Massachusetts and his (retroactive) time at Bain Capital. Maybe this time, in 2016, he will be running back towards all those things?

    (Who has heard of Youtube, amiright?)

    Granted…maybe in 2016 it will be different for Romney. Maybe in 2016 he will actually want to be POTUS?

    I say run Mitt. Run.

    Even if you have to quit step aside halfway through the campaign(for the greater good of course), it will only help your book sales later.

  12. CSK says:


    Possibly Mike Pence, Scott Walker, John Kasich, or Jeb Bush. There are probably others, but those names are the ones I’ve heard mentioned most frequently. Whoever the ultimate choice is, the Tea Party will work actively against him or her.

  13. Barfour says:

    The last time a failed vice presidential nominee got the top spot was Bob Dole in 1996, am I right? I don’t think we can write Chris Christie off just yet. If anything happens to Christie, Jeb Bush will be the favorite to win the nomination if he decides to run.

  14. RJK516 says:

    Romney is the only one who can save America , and this time he will be a shoe in .
    We don’t want Killary in the Whitehouse . The people who didn’t vote for him last time
    around now want to vote for him due to obummers lies ! Mitt Romney is a Great Man !

  15. Scott says:

    @RJK516: One, America doesn’t need “saving”. It is muddling through quite well right now. Second, even if it did need saving, there is no one man who could do that, let alone Mitt Romney. It takes a lot of people and no one is indispensable. The Hero theory of politics is not borne out by history.

  16. edmondo says:

    And it’s been even longer since a failed vice presidential nominee got a shot at the top spot, unless you count Walter Mondale in 1984;

    Or ex-Viagra spokesman, Bob Dole, in 96

  17. HarvardLaw92 says:


    The horse is dead. You can stop beating it now.

  18. HarvardLaw92 says:

    The takeaway from this is that the GOP really has no frontrunner for the nomination, and the base is bounding back and forth among a slate of bad potential candidates.

  19. anjin-san says:

    @ edmundo

    Or ex-Viagra spokesman, Bob Dole, in 96

    You mean war hero Bob Dole?

    Guess what dickweed, every man over 50 who is still getting laid gets a little chemical help these days. Dole is a good man who did his best by his country. I did not want him to be President, but I certainly don’t make jokes about him. I know that probably makes no sense to you.

  20. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @Ron Beasley: Have Christie’s chances improved since he’s been invited to speak at the next CPAC (according to Yahoo News)?

    Follow-up question: are Conservatives “doubling down” with the Christie invitation since one of their own (at least sort of) has been attacked in the media ?

  21. James Joyner says:

    @Barfour: @edmondo: Yes, I forget about Dole. But I suppose a 20 year hiatus will do that: He was Ford’s running mate in 1976 and was the nominee in his own right in 1996. He wasn’t a spokesman for ED until after the 1996 loss.

  22. Sirkowski says:

    Run Mitt, run! lol

  23. superdestroyer says:


    How can it be a dead horse when it is obvious that the Republicans currently have no candidate who looks like they can even be competitive in 2016? How can it be a dead horse when a large number of charlatans and hucksters use the primary process to promote themselves, their media products, or their books? How can it be a dead horse when every demographic trend is helping the Democrats to the point that the Democrats do not even bother to do anything but depend upon demographics for future success?

    Having Republicans supporting failed candidates or candidates that have zero chance of even being nominated, let alone be competitive in the general election should be taken as a sign that the Republican Party is continuing to collapse. There has been no savior come along to lead to the Republican Party back from extinction. It should be obvious that there is not one Republican politician who has the skill set to lead a conservative party. Also, there still has been zero sign that any of the current Democrats is dissatisfied enough to walk away from being part of the dominant party.

    It is not a dead horse when virtually everyday there is another indication that the U.S. is on a path to being a one party state. However, I guess those who refuse to face reality and who refuse to think about the future would still believe that a conservative party can be competitive in the U.S.

  24. James Joyner says:

    @superdestroyer: The Democratic Party, at least as a presidential party, was in exactly this position at this point in the 1992 cycle. They’d lost five of the last six presidential elections, most of them by absolute landslides. The GOP had a “Electoral College lock,” with California safely in their camp. The Democratic field of 1992 was bereft of quality candidates, with all the big names declining to run against the wildly popular George H.W. Bush and the ones running dubbed the “Seven Dwarfs” by the media.

  25. Bob4683 says:

    @Ron Beasley: I think Ann wants Mitt to be President a lot more than Mitt himself wants to be.

  26. Bob4683 says:

    Huntsman was the more electable candidate in 2012 and would be again.

  27. al-Ameda says:


    As the U.S. becomes a one party state, doesn’t it make sense that the collapsing party will go through a stage where the nominaiton process looks ridiculous before the party finally goes out of existence.

    I wish you were right … that we were actually becoming a one party state, that the Republican Party was going out of business, that the House of Representatives was going to become a legitimate non-dysfunctional part of our government again – but, I see no signs that that’s the case.

  28. Matt Bernius says:

    @James Joyner:

    The Democratic field of 1992 was bereft of quality candidates, with all the big names declining to run against the wildly popular George H.W. Bush and the ones running dubbed the “Seven Dwarfs” by the media.

    To that point, I vividly remember a Sunday Kudzu comic strip that ran around 1991 where the final panel has the preacher, finishing a prayer for lost causes, ask God for a viable Democratic candidate. The fact that was the punchline (and could work today if you switched it to Republican) is further evidence to this argument.

  29. Pinky says:

    @Bob4683: Jon Huntsman has a lot of fine attributes, but electability isn’t one of them. He’s won two elections, both for the Utah governorship, overcoming the state’s legendary bias against Mormon Republicans. He’s never polled higher than 10% for anything outside of that state, as far as I know. I don’t think he’s ever polled much stronger than that against a Democrat, because he’s largely unknown outside political activist circles.

  30. grumpy realist says:

    To all the people who downvoted my comment: I take it you DON’T think that Ann Romney comes off as someone with entitlement issues?!!

    There’s a reason why she’s been nicknamed Princess Ann, you know. And contrary to all the huffing and puffing about work vs. mommyhood, the fact is that she’s never had to worry about where her next paycheck will come from in her life. She’s never had the experience of having to go out and sell her skills to a potential employer. Daddy and Mitt have taken care of her the entire time. And sorry, but trying to say “oh, we’ve had the same income problems ordinary people have!” when your cash flow consists of selling off an extremely large stock portfolio…..

    No. It doesn’t work. This woman has never had to act as an independent adult in her life.

  31. Pinky says:

    @grumpy realist:

    From the Hoffman thread:

    andrew e.:
    @bill: I’ve always believed there’s a distinct empathy gap, in a general sense, between liberal and conservative types.

  32. grumpy realist says:

    @Pinky: She certainly doesn’t seem to have any empathy for those who decided Mitt wasn’t their flavor of POTUS.