WASHINGTON -- The Republican establishment inside the Washington Beltway may be pining for new candidates to enter the race for president, but two-thirds of influential local Republicans surveyed by The Huffington Post and Patch in the early primary and caucus states are satisfied with their choices. And while Sarah Palin is gearing up for a major speech in Iowa, just 8 percent want her to run.
Sixty-three percent of the 169 influential Republicans surveyed in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina in our second HuffPost-Patch Power Outsiders poll say they are satisfied with the candidates now running for president, while just 36 percent say they want to see more candidates get into the race.
When asked which individuals, if any, they would like to see join the race, our Power Outsiders were most likely to mention New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (31 percent of respondents), followed by Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan (17 percent). In the midst of our survey, Ryan announced Monday that he will not run for president next year.
While many would like to see either Christie or Ryan run, far fewer named former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (8 percent) or former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (4 percent), even though our question prompted for all four names. Nearly as many volunteered Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (4 percent) or former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (4 percent), both of whom declared earlier this year that they would not enter the race.
Roughly 12 percent said they were satisfied with the current crop of candidates and still offered the name of someone they would like to see enter the race. While only 36 percent said they were not satisfied with the announced candidates and would "like to see more candidates," 48 percent named at least one noncandidate they would like to see run. Their views are best summarized by the New Hampshire Republican who said, "[I'm] satisfied, but the more options the better."
The results come from the second in a series of weekly surveys designed to tap the deep reporting resources of the AOL Huffington Post Media Group in the three early GOP voting states. These nonscientific samplings of Republican party leaders, elected officials and political activists in the early primary and caucus states are an attempt to cover the "invisible primary" among party insiders that typically has great influence in the presidential nomination contests. While the surveys are not representative of a larger population, they constitute an extensive and systematic effort to monitor the opinions of Republican activists and party leaders in the early voting states.
We're looking to expand our list of influential and elected members of both parties in the three early states and across the country. If you fit the criteria and would like to participate, email John.Celock@huffingtonpost.com, and we'll connect you with the appropriate Patch reporter.
This week, we reached out to roughly 240 influential Republicans in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina and received responses from 169, including 34 from Iowa, 63 from New Hampshire and 72 from South Carolina. (We asked respondents to allow us to publish their names as participants, and those names appear below, but we will report results in aggregated form only.)
We also gave respondents an opportunity to respond in their own words, and those satisfied with their choices seem impatient with those pining for a "perfect" candidate and eager to get on with the campaign:
I don't think there's anyone (whether a declared or a potential candidate) that's going to completely unite the GOP this year. Wishes for a hypothetical candidate who could unite the party aren't helpful since such a person does not exist.
The current field of candidates, while not perfect (Who is? Except Barack Obama - and even the Democrats are wondering about him.) is very strong. They are experienced and successful political and business professionals. Men, women, younger, older, black, white, Governors, Senators, Congressmen, what more could you want?
The problem is when you have a polarized environment is that you have individuals who will only be satisfied with a "perfect" candidate and there is no such thing. People need to look at the record and listen to what they say and get behind the BEST candidate.
We have a very strong field of GOP candidates now. While each may have some flaws, any one of them could make a very capable president.
Tired of the rampant speculation, endless drama. Given the current state of our Nation and the current candidates putting forth plans, to further dilute the attention of the electorate would likely muddle the decision making process along with continuing to make vetting candidates a more difficult task.
While many GOP Power Outsiders would welcome the entry of a Christie or a Ryan, most we talked to are satisfied with the choices before them. The inside-the-Beltway Republican establishment may differ, but most of these influential Republicans at the grass roots are ready to choose from the candidates now in the race.
The HuffPost-Patch Power Outsiders
All of the individuals listed below have agreed to participate in the Power Outsiders surveys, although not all responded to this week's questions. Update (1:46 p.m. EST): The list has been corrected from the original version.
Cory Adams (Story County GOP chair), Leah Adams (Co-Chair, Johnson County Republican Women), Chad Airhart (Dallas Co. recorder), Skye Alison (Insurance Sales), Roger Anderson (Member, Johnson County GOP Executive Committee), Shane Blanchard (Waukee City Council), Carmine Boal (Former Congresswoman, now works for governor), Steve Boal (CFO, Accu-Mold), Irene Chalmers-Neubauer (Republican precinct captain), Mike St. Clair (Lobbyist), Arleigh Clemens (Co-Chair Johnson County Republicans), Jeremy Davis (Councilman), Tyler DeHaan (IT Services), Debra Derksen (PR person for Johnson County GOP), Mike Elam (Organizer, Dallas County GOP), Paul Fell (Santorum supporter), Amanda Freel (State House Repub Staff), Natalie Ginty (Chairwoman, Iowa Federation of College Republicans), Rick Hermann (Sales Manager, WeatherTech Automotive), William Keettel (Former head, Johnson County Republicans), Kevin Koester (Congressman), Marilyn Krocheski, Jon McAvoy (Head of Dallas County Republicans), Isaiah McGee (Owner, McGee strategies), Chris McLinden (Axis Capital), Cynthia Michel (Precinct Captain), Mike Nolan (Republican Party noteable), Bill Peard (Waukee Mayor), Rick Sanders (Republican Supervisor), Chad Steenhoek (Member, Strong America Now), Wade Steenhoek (Ankeny City Council ), Ronald Stenstrom (Romney Supporter), Karen Svede (Former statewide candidate), Rob Taylor (Running for Iowa House Seat), Mike Thayer (Editor/Publisher Coralville Courier), Deb Thornton (Worked in Republican administrations), Robert Wennerholm (Precinct Captain), Randy Yontz (Director Leadership Institute)
Chris Tremblay (Activist), Laura Foote (Activist), Shari Demers (Activist), Mark Cookson (Alderman-at-large), Jim Costello (American Government teacher), Kathy Benuck (BCTV Host/Blogger), Patrick McDougall (Budget Committee), Mark Vincent (Chair of Amherst Republicans), Gary Ellmer (Chairman, Porsmouth Republican Committee), Stephen E. Ludwick (Chairman, Supervisors of the Checklist, Ward 9), William Smith (Conservative Blogger), Tom Walker (Conservative Republican), Tom Rath (Consultant), Jamie Burnett (Consultant), Dick Hinch (Current State Rep), Pam Tucker (Deputy House Speaker), Dan St. Hilaire (Executive councilor), Frank Ferraro (Exeter Selectman), Matt Quandt (Exeter Selectman/State Rep.), Robert Washburn (Former City Councilor), Russell Bridle (Former Hampton Fire Department captain/State Rep.), Joel Maiola (Former Judd Gregg Chief of Staff), Ed Brooks (Former ME selectman, town councilor), Jim Rubens (Former Republican State Sen.), Bianca Garcia (Former Salem GOP Victory Office mgr), Amy Perkins (Former State Rep. - Seabrook), Eric Anderson (Former State Rep/Chair Bow Board of Selectmen), Kris MacNeil (Former State Senate candidate), Harry McClard (Freelance writer), Tom Linehan (GOP Activist), John Lyons (Lawyer), Rick Paige (Loan officer), Ken Jones (Member of Amherst Republicans), Brian Griset (Member of local political committee), Gary Krupp (Member of the School Budget Committee), Chris Buda (Merrimack GOP Chair), David Hurst (New Hampshire Young Republicans chairman), Maureen Mooney (Past State Rep), Ed Declercq (Planning Board), J. Christopher Williams (Pres. Nashua CC), Pete Silva (Rep - Nashua), David Bates (Rep- Windham), Chris Buck (Republican activist), Jerry Delemus (Republican activist), Tasha Olsen (Republican activist), Jennifer Horn (Republican activist), Michael Lambert (Resident), Mauri Foster (Retired), Lisa Hansen (Romney supporter), Diane Bitter (Rye Republican activist), Jeff Hatch (Salem Romney Town Chair), David Garcia (Salem Town GOP Chair), Marie Lopez-Reyes (Sales), George Markwell (School Board Member), Sheila Francoeur (Seacoast Republican Women member), Juanita Dangel (Secretary Hillsborough County GOP), Pat Hargreaves (Selectman), Julie DiCarlo (Small business owner), Ron DiCarlo (Small business owner), Steve Landry (Small business owner), Brandon Stauber (Small business owner/recent Exeter transplant), Eduardo Lopez-Reyes (Software engineer), Chris Christiansen (State Rep), Lenette Peterson (State Rep), Kathy Stroud (State Rep), Peter Hansen (State Rep), Gary Daniels (State Rep), Keith Murphy (State Rep - Bedford), Ken Hawkins (State Rep - Bedford), Andrew Manuse (State Rep - Derry), Lee Quandt (State rep.), Tim Copeland (State rep.), Gary Azarian (State Rep.), Bob Elliott (State Rep.), John Cebrowski (State Rep. - Bedford), John Graham (State Rep. - Bedford), Jim Waddell (State Rep. - Hampton), Fred Rice (State Rep. - Hampton), Michele Peckham (State Rep. - N. Hampton), Lawrence Perkins (State Rep. - Seabrook), D.J. Bettencourt (State Rep., Maj. Leader), Raymond White (State Sen. - Bedford), Jim Luther (State Senator), Gary Lambert (State Senator), Sen. Nancy Stiles (State Senator - Hampton), Tony Zore (Tea Party member), Zac Johnson (Technical writer), Bill Boyd (Town Councilor), Bill Modis (Vice Chair of Amherst Republicans)
Aubry Alexander (Charleston City Council - District 9), Thomas Alexander (State Senator), Dean Allen (Tea Party Activist), Charm Altman (President Sea Island Republican Women), Patrick L. Arnold (Campaign and fundraising consultant), Rep. Nathan Ballentine (SC House Dist. 71), Bill Banning, Sr. (Vice-chair, Lexington County Council), Bob Barnwell (Richland Co. GOP Spring Valley), Joseph Bates, Jr. (Committeeman/ Richland Co. GOP Dutch Fork ), Eric Bedingfield (State Rep/Congressional Staffer), Lin Bennett (Chair, Charleston County GOP), Rich Bolen (Chair, Lexington County GOP), Andrew Boucher (Business consultant and political advisor), Phillip Bowers (Chairman, Pickens County Republican Party), Dan Bracken (President/ The Auction Co. & Real Estate Inc.), Edward Britt (Engineer), Joe Bustos (Former town councilman), Jay Byars (Dorchester County councilman), Bob Call (Berkeley County Councilman), Tim Callanan (Berkeley County GOP Chairman), Ed Carter (Small business owner), M. Todd Cullum (Lexington County Council member), Rep. Joe Daning (Statehouse rep.), Smokey Davis (Lexington County Council member), Carroll S. Duncan (Dorchester GOP Chair), Dana Eiser (Lowcountry 9.12 president), Linda Eiser (9/12 conservative), Linda Estep (wife of Pastor at First Baptist Church of Columbia), Chip Felkel (Political Consultant), Will Folks (Editor, fitsnews.com; spokesman for former Gov. Mark Sanford), Chris Godbey (Political Consultant), Randy Halfacre (Mayor of Lexington), Dan Hamilton (State Representative), Carla Hardee (President, Dutch Fork Chapter of the S.C. Federation of Republican Women), Larry Hargett (Dorchester County Council chairman), Val Hutchinson (Richland County Council), Johnny Jeffcoat (Town of Lexington Economic and Community Catalyst; Lexington County Council member), Jim Jerow (Georgetown GOP Chair), Debbie Jones (9.12 Board Member), Joanne Jones (Republican activist), Grayson Kelly (Fundraiser), James Kinard (Banker, Chair, Lexington County Council), Todd Kincannon (Lawyer/former executive director of SC Republican Party), Bob Kouvolo (President/ MaxPt), Mickey Lindler (Chairwoman for Republicans of Lexington and Richland Counties), Chris Mann (City Councilman), Karen Martin (Organizer/Spartanburg Tea Party), Larry Martin (State Senator), Taft Matney (Conservative Political Consultant), James Metts (Lexington County Sheriff), Matt Moore (Executive Director for SC GOP), Susan Morris (Nonprofit executive director), Mike Murphee (Charleston Tea Party chairman), Brent Nelsen (Professor of Political Science/former candidate for Supt. of Education), Don Nye (Bank employee), Allen Olson (Chairman / Columbia TEA Party), Randy Page (President,South Carolinians for Responsible Government), Gregory Pearce (Richland Co. Councilman), Adam Piper (SC GOP 3rd Vice Chairman & political director for Huntsman campaign), Zach Pippin (GOP Media Consultant), Tony Pope (Insurance agent), Barbara Pulicicchio (Political activist), Rick Quinn (S.C. Rep. Dist. 69), Dennis Raines (Mayoral Candidate), Jeff Reuer (Vice Chair Goose Creek 9-12), DeLinda Ridings (SC GOP State Secretary / Huntsman campaign), Robby Robbins (Lawyer), Emily Rudolph (Sea Island Republican Women), LaDonna Ryggs (Spartanburg GOP Chair), Michael Sally (Hanahan City Councilman), Dennis Saylor (Chair, Aiken GOP), Bill Severns (Rep. for Beaufort Republican Men), Katrina Shealy (Candidate for SC Senate from Lexington), Lanneau Siegling (State Executive Committeeman), Billy Simons (Conservative activist), Garry Smith (State Rep), John Steinberger (Fair Tax activist), Mary Ann Taylor (Charleston County Republican Women/Charleston County School Board), MacLain R. "Mac" Toole (S.C. Rep., Dist. 88), Frank Townsend (Lexington County Council member), September Wellborn (State GOP Delegate), Knox White (Mayor of Greenville), Jennifer Willis (County Councilwoman/ V.P. One Tree Hill), Henry Wilson (2011 delegate, S.C. Republican Convention), James David Woodard (Professor of Political Science, Clemson University)