Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Iowa State University President

Presidential Pick: There's another race for president happening in Iowa that hasn't made national attention. Iowa State University now has a new president. And, while I had no personal connection to either candidate in this two-person race, I must say I think I speak for Iowa broadcasters when I say....WHEW! The Board of Regents chose Dr. Steven Leath.

Here's an email we received from the university news service that should explain our relief:

Despite everyone’s best efforts, there has been some confusion on how to pronounce the names of ISU’s presidential candidates. Please allow me to set the record straight for everyone now.

Dr. Steven Leath’s last name is pronounced LEETH. (As in, if you eat too many HEATH bars you may lose your TEETH.) There has been some tendency to say “LAYTH,” and that is incorrect. It’s LEETH.

Dr. Kumble Subbaswamy’s name is pronounced KOOM-blay SOO-buh-swah-mee. Originally, we were told “KOOM-buhl” by our colleagues at the University of Kentucky, but it is correctly pronounced “KOOM-blay.” Dr. Subbaswamy told search committee co-chair Roger Underwood this morning that his name has been perpetually mispronounced for years at Kentucky, and it never bothered him because everyone calls him “Swamy,” anyway. At any rate, we are going to try to get this right: KOOM-blay.

Thanks for your help and patience with this.

Iowa Senate Leadership Challenge

Update: Senate Minority Leader Paul McKinley won't be around to fight for his job in person when Shell Rock's Bill Dix tries to lead a little capitol coup to take over his job, according to another senator, who wished to keep his name out of this. A senate staffer said McKinley is on vacation in Italy with his wife for their anniversary. I'm curious how this power play with go over with other senators. Jason Clayworth already has a story up on the Des Moines Register that Urbandale's Brad Zaun doesn't like the timing of all of this.

What do you think of it? Wise strategic move by Dix? Or lame attempt for leadership when the current leader celebrates his anniversary?

Iowa Senate Leadership Challenge

Developing: Iowa Republicans may look for a leadership change in the senate. The senate currently stands 25-24 Democrats after Marion's Swati Dandekar stepped aside to join the Iowa Utilities Board. The November special election for her seat has the potential to tie up the senate evenly. Either way, and obviously, Republicans want to up their seats in 2012. Shell Rock's Bill Dix will challenge current Minority Leader Paul McKinley Thursday morning in a leadership challenge vote, according to one Republican senator, who asked not to be named.

The Iowa Republican has the email Dix sent to colleagues this morning.

Monday, September 12, 2011

CNN Tea Party Express

Post Debate: Just a few thoughts as I watch the debate (on the DVR. Sorry but I had to watch my Cardinals' game live tonight, even though they ended up choking in the 8th inning).

Any way, on to the debate...

Debate started with the national anthem. Of the 8 candidates, only Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney sang along.

Was there a dress code? Romney, Jon Huntsman, Herman Cain and Rick Perry all chose dark suits with white shirts and red ties. Michele Bachmann chose a red sweater with a white top.

Romney's body language sure makes it look like he knows Perry is his chief rival. He turns his whole body to Perry when Perry talks. Perry looks over at him from time to time when Romney talks but it's a far different posture.

Perry claimed the president spent $800 billion and created "zero jobs". I assume he meant zero jobs in August? I've not heard anyone claim the stimulus didn't create a single job...?

Gingrich not attacking media this time and not criticizing any other candidate either. I'm curious what role he is trying to play in this race at this point.

Perry seemed to like Romney's joke that this is a smart phone world but president is still jamming quarters into pay phones.

Perry reached out and patted Romney on the back as Romney said Perry does deserve some credit for the job growth in Texas. Not sure what Romney thought of that little love tap.

Paul said Perry has doubled his taxes and he didn't want to criticize Perry now because he would raise his taxes more. I haven't heard this one before. Since Texas has no state income taxes, I assume he talking about property taxes?

Gingrich just took on Huntsman, Perry and Romney. Said when he was speaker, "American people" created more jobs for each of those 3 govs' states than either of those 3 men when they were governor.

Would Huntsman be more effective during these debates if he got to his point quicker?

Santorum is on the "wing" again in this debate. This time it's the far right. The first two debates had him on the far left. How do they decide placement?

Huntsman during his answer to a California teen said young people need to get involved. Key for Huntsman to get heavy youth vote who might like his pro-civil union stance more than older voters?

Romney again talking about his tax reduction plan for the middle class. I don't think I've heard any other Republican candidate talk about the middle class as much as Romney does.

Bachmann and Santorum just teamed up to come after Perry on his plan that required girls in Texas to get inoculated to prevent cervical center (although parents could opt their daughter out of it). Bachmann to this point had kept most of her criticism for the president.

Being the front runner in the polls sure gets Perry a LOT of attention from both the candidates and the moderator.

What got YOUR attention?

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Republican Presidential Debate

Debate, Day After: Which Republican presidential candidate won the debate last night? Apparently, almost all of them did. I got emails from Santorum, Romney (a million of them), Perry, Bachman and Cain telling how great they did. Nothing from Paul, Gingrich or Huntsman, in case you wondered. (UPDATED: OOPS, I just found something from Paul's people criticizing Perry). Although, I don't think I've ever received one from Huntsman. I am in Iowa, you know. But the candidate who got his nickel's worth from the debate was Romney, according to the Iowa Electronics Markets.

Romney's price jumps post-debate on Iowa Electronic Markets' GOP nomination market

Mitt Romney was the big winner in Wednesday's GOP presidential candidate debate, according to traders on the Iowa Electronic Markets, as his price jumped 5 cents on the IEM's recently opened Republican nomination market.

The price of the former Massachusetts governor's contract as of 9 a.m. Thursday was 39 cents, which means traders believe he has a 39 percent probability of winning the GOP nomination. Before Wednesday's debate, his contract was trading at 34 cents.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is still the likeliest GOP nominee, according to traders. The price of his contract is 41 cents, the same price it was selling for before the debate began.

The IEM is a real money futures market operated by the University of Iowa's Tippie College of Business. The IEM gives traders the opportunity to buy and sell contracts based on what they think the outcome of a future event will be. Contracts for the correct outcome pay off at $1, all other contracts pay off at zero. As a result, the price of the contract at any given time indicates the probability that the traders assign to the event's occurrence.

Other contracts on the GOP nominee market include Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann, both of whom were selling for 2 cents before the debate started. Post-debate, Paul's price increased slightly to 2.6 cents, while Bachmann's slumped to 1.6 cents.

The Rest of Field contract -— which represents None of the Above -— was selling for 18.2 cents Thursday morning, which means traders believe there is an 18.2 percent probability that another candidate will win the nomination. That price is down slightly from the 20 cents it was selling at before the debate.

The current prices on the IEM's Republican nomination market can be found at http://iemweb.biz.uiowa.edu/quotes/356.html. More information on the IEM can be found at tippie.uiowa.edu/iem.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Pawlenty's Iowa Strategy

Hawkeye Hangover: Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty went "all in" in Iowa before his failed presidential run ended following a distant, disappointing 3rd place finish in the Iowa Straw Poll. Pawlenty never said he was all in during his campaign, at least I never got him to say that. However, now that he is no longer a candidate, he is all but saying he regrets his Iowa efforts. He added he thinks he could have skipped the straw poll. Here's what he had to say on MSNBC's Morning Joe...

Grassley: Palin Won't Run

No Palin for Prez: Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley just told me he doesn't expect Sarah Palin to run for president. Grassley said with a smile, "She sure is acting like a candidate. But I believe she will not be getting in." When I asked him why she won't run, he replied, "She hasn't staffed up for it."

Grassley said he will wait until early October to see what the Republican field looks like and determine whether he will endorse a candidate. He said he will be watching for two things tonight during the Republican presidential debate. He wants to see how Rick Perry performs after shooting to the top of the polls. And he said he wants to see how Mitt Romney handles not being the front runner now. Grassley said he will watch to see if Romney gets more aggressive after "rising above the fray" previously when he was still on top.

Perry Favoritie Among Investors

Pick Perry: Texas Governor Rick Perry took over as the front runner in Iowa in a new Rasmussen Poll and he is now also leading in the University of Iowa's Electronic Markets. Former Mass. Gov Mitt Romney and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann finish out the top 3.
Here's the release:
Iowa Electronic Markets traders give Iowa caucus edge to Perry

Traders on the Iowa Electronic Markets' recently opened Iowa caucus market have given Texas Gov. Rick Perry the highest likelihood of finishing as one of the top two vote getters on caucus night.

Traders also give an equal probability for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann finishing in the top two.

As of 9 a.m. Wednesday, Perry's contract was selling for 75 cents, which means traders believe he has a 75 percent probability of finishing in the top two. Bachmann and Romney were both selling for 47 cents, which means traders believe there is a 47 percent probability that either of them will finish in the top two.

The IEM's real-money Iowa Republican caucus market opened Aug. 31. The caucus market differs from other IEM markets in that contracts will pay off if the candidate they represent finishes in the top two vote getters. In other markets, only the contracts for the winning candidate pay off.

Contracts are also trading for Texas Rep. Ron Paul, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and business executive Herman Cain. Paul was trading at 29.9 cents, while both Gingrich and Cain are trading for 1 cent.

The Rest of Field contract, which represents a candidate for whom no individual contract has been issued, is selling for 26.2 cents.

The Iowa Electronic Markets is operated by the UI's Tippie College of Business as a real-money futures prediction market. Begun in 1988, the IEM is a research and teaching tool that has achieved an impressive prediction record, substantially superior to alternative mechanisms such as opinion polls. Such markets have been significantly more accurate than traditional tools in predicting outcomes ranging from political election results to movie box office receipts.

The IEM can be found online at www.biz.uiowa.edu/iem. The Iowa caucus market prices can be found at http://iemweb.biz.uiowa.edu/quotes/355.html.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Perry Returns to Iowa

Perry Back: I haven't seen this announced by Rick Perry's campaign yet, but he is apparently making his return to Iowa next week. Perry will speak before the Iowa Credit Union Conference, according to a news release. This will be his first trip back since becoming the party's new front runner in Iowa, at least according to the most recent Rasmussen Poll.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Perry Leads Iowa Poll

Poll Power: It looks like Iowa Republicans have a new front-runner, at least according to a new Rasmussen Report. The field's newest candidate, Texas Governor Rick Perry, has taken a sizable lead in his first poll since he entered the race.

Here's a portion of the report...

"Perry is the first choice for 29%. Essentially tied for second are Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann at 18% and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney at 17%. Texas Congressman Ron Paul picks up 14% of the vote...As for the other candidates, four percent (4%) support former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum; four percent (4%) back Georgia businessman Herman Cain; three percent (3%) favor former U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman, and two percent (2%) support former House Speaker Newt Gingrich."

What does it mean?
Perry has catapulted past the other candidates who have been campaigning in Iowa for months.
Bachmann's front-runner status seems to have evaporated almost overnight since her win in the Iowa Straw Poll in Ames.
Romney still holds a following in the state. Enough to convince him to campaign more here?
Paul shows he still has strength. But doesn't he need a 1st or at least a really strong 2nd place finish in the Iowa Caucuses to be taken more seriously nationally?
Santorum and Cain? How can they find much optimism here? Santorum has campaigned in Iowa more than nearly anyone else. But his numbers remain near the bottom with Huntsman, who isn't even competing in Iowa, and Gingrich, who makes only token campaign appearances in Iowa. Cain had already all but disappeared in Iowa any way.

Having said all of that, the caucuses are still 5 months away. Or 4 months. Or 3 months, depending on what happens with those other states who might still try to jump ahead.

We'll see how Perry's standing holds as other candidates start turning their criticism toward him more, along with the media's increased scrutiny of his past and future statements.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Palin in Iowa

Palin for President: You didn't really think Sarah Palin would announce her presidential run in Iowa today during the Restoring America rally, did you? Tea Party of America organizers pumped that possibility the past 2 weeks but they seemed to be the only ones pushing a possible Palin announcement that seriously. The group's website even asked people to vote on when Palin would make her announcement. At last check, more than 1,400 people voted. Much to the organizers delight, the most people voted that Palin would announce on the day of the rally. Although, that was just about 33%. Coming in right after that in 2nd place were people voting that Palin wouldn't run at at all (29%). Perhaps, 2,000 people came to the rally at the Indianola Balloon Field on a soggy football Saturday. It's a far cry from the 10-15,000 predictions we've heard during the week. And it seems unlikely the crowd was big enough to cover the organizers' $100,000 investment, especially since it was free to get in and $5 to park.

Palin did seem to offer a few more specifics in her speech than we've heard from her in the past. She called for repealing Obamacare, much like every other Republican out there. She also called for eliminating all of the federal corporate income taxes and helping to offset the lost federal revenue by eliminating corporate loopholes and ending bailouts. Palin mixed in a "dog gone" or two and poked fun at President Obama by criticizing his "hopey, changy stuff that didn't create one job in August". She questioned the national polls, saying polls "are for strippers and cross-country skiers". The crowd had fun with that one, as you might imagine. While Palin's smaller government, shrink the deficit and lower taxes talk sounded the Republican themes, she also seemed to try to separate herself by talking like a third-party, outside Washington possible candidate. She referred to the "permanent political class" in Washington. She said that class fails to bring change because "change doesn't happen because there's nothing in it for them".

As for the tea partiers, Palin said, "This movement isn't simply a political awakening. It's an American awakening." She challenged people to question all candidates' records, including Republicans. She asked people to ask the candidates, "What if anything do their donors expect in return?"

The speech did have that one moment where an announcement seemed like it could come through. At one point, Palin asked the crowd, "Are you willing to unite?" She continued talking about replacing Barack Obama. She asked, "Who or what will we replace him with?"

Almost on cue, the crowd then began its chant of "Sarah, Sarah, Sarah". Palin let the chants go on for a bit, but didn't acknowledge them. She then continued with her speech. No announcement. Not on this day. Will there be one later this month? Or will Palin use today as a way to launch herself as the "face" of this new loosely organized tea party movement instead and save the rigors or campaigning to the rest of the field?