This last week has not been a good week for Tim Pawlenty and Herman Cain if one only gets opinions and news from those inside Washington, D.C.
Pawlenty’s fundraising totals were underwhelming.
Cain lost staffers in Iowa.
And before anyone has even cast a vote, many in the chattering class are using superficial metrics such as fundraising numbers or the number of key operatives a candidate is able to collect to predict how candidates will do.
Much of this is due to laziness, boredom, or a lack of imagination.
While Cain may have lost a few staffers, he again had the greatest positive intensity score among all candidates in the latest Gallup survey. Even buzz-generating Michele Bachmann‘s score dropped by 17 percent, so, in this context, it is remarkable that Cain’s positive intensity score has remained consistently at the head of the pack for a good couple of months.
What this means is that the more people hear Cain’s message, the more they like him. In addition, in the Gallup survey, Cain was the only candidate that had a score of “0” in the “strongly unfavorable” column.
Yes, Cain’s campaign needs to be better organized on the ground and make sure the candidate delivers more disciplined answers. But there is plenty of time for the campaign to do both. What Cain has — that other candidates would pay millions of dollars for — is a personal, business background, and a message that at least gets people to want to give him another look upon hearing him for the first time. It is why Cain should not be counted out this early in the game.
On the other hand, Pawlenty has the organization Cain needs but lacks Cain’s sizzle.
And while Pawlenty will need to work on fine tuning his message and what he and his campaign is going to stand for, there is still room for him to exceed expectations in Iowa.
Say Romney decides not to play in Iowa and Bachmann fizzles. If that happens, Pawlenty is in a perfect position to take advantage of his organization and savvy advisers to capitalize on any momentum that will come his way.
Cain and Pawlenty may not be rational choices to place a wager on at this point in time.
But both candidates are certainly far from being taken off the board.