Ideological Locations of 2012 Republican Presidential Candidates (Updated 11 November 2011)

Below we update the ideological locations of the candidates for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. For those candidates who are currently serving in Congress (e.g., Michelle Bachmann and Ron Paul), we use their Common Space DW-NOMINATE first dimension scores, which permit direct comparisons of the ideological ideal points of members of Congress across chambers and across time. For other candidates (Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, and Jon Huntsman), we show the ideological distribution of members of Congress who have endorsed them, showing the average of their first-dimension DW-NOMINATE scores as a proxy measure.

We have updated Romney’s (“R”) and Perry’s (“P”) locations with the additional endorsements they have picked up (Romney’s endorsement count now stands at 38, Perry’s at 14). We also add Newt Gingrich’s six endorsements. Herman Cain and Jon Huntsman have each been endorsed by one current or former member of Congress (Tom Ridge for Huntsman, Rep. Dan Benishek (R-MI) for Cain).

Though we only have one data point from which to impute Herman Cain’s ideological location, our analysis suggests he is to the right of the other major contenders (Romney, Perry, and Gingrich), but to the left of Ron Paul. Newt Gingrich also strongly overlaps on Rick Perry’s ideological territory, which helps explains why he is a likely beneficiary of Perry’s and Cain’s recent troubles.

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