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Presidential Derby

September 15, 2011 - 6:00pm

Located in the heart of the country, Missouri ranks as one of the bellweather states in presidential elections. According to a poll released Thursday from Public Policy Polling, a firm with connections to prominent Democrats, the Show Me State will be up for grabs in the general election. Two of the Republican presidential candidates were beating President Barack Obama in the poll while two trailed him. Former Gov. Mitt Romney led President Obama, 47 percent to 43 percent. Texas Gov. Rick Perry also beat Obama, taking 47 percent, while the president trailed with 45 percent. Obama took 47 percent against former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia with 45 percent. Taking 47 percent again, Obama led U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota who garnered 43 percent ... Quinnipiac University released a poll on Thursday on another battleground state. Looking at Virginia, the Q-poll found Romney beating Obama in the Old Dominion, 44 percent to 42 percent. Obama led other Republican hopefuls, beating Perry by 2 points, Bachmann by 11 percent and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who is still considering entering the race, by 15 percent. While Republican hopes for carrying the White House rely on carrying Virginia, Obama remained vulnerable there, failing to do better than 50 percent against any of the candidates ... Quinnipiac found Perry leading the GOP field in Virginia, topping the pack with 25 percent. Romney placed second with 19 percent. The rest of the field followed in single digits. Texas Congressman Ron Paul got 8 percent and Palin garnered 7 percent. Businessman Herman Cain took 6 percent followed by Bachmann with 5 percent and Gingrich with 4 percent. Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum received 2 percent and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman followed with 1 percent...

Most political observers have ignored the Nevada Republican caucus since Romney, who won it in back in 2008, was expected to easily win it again. But Perry clearly intends to fight for the Silver State. Gov. Brian Sandoval announced that he was backing Perry for president ... Perry is not the only candidate looking at challenging Romney in Nevada. This week, the Paul campaign announced they were sending Steve Bierfeldt, who had been in charge of their efforts in Iowa, over to the Silver State. Bierfeldt helped lead Paul to a strong second-place finish in the Iowa Republican straw poll last month and had helped Rand Pauls campaign for a U.S. Senate seat in Kentucky back in 2010 ... In the meantime, Romney keeps picking up endorsements. He received the backing of former Michigan Republican Party chairman and current Michigan Republican National Committeeman Saul Anuzis last week. Romney also picked up support in Arizona from state Secretary of State Ken Bennett, state Attorney General Tom Horne, state House Speaker Andy Tobin and more than 15 other state legislators. Romney cemented his status as New Englands favorite son, as well, when 33 of the 36 Republicans serving in the Massachusetts Legislature backed the former governor of the Bay State ...

Santorum continues to focus on South Carolina, the first state in the South to hold a primary. On Thursday, Santorum picked up the support of state Rep. Deborah Long and Lancaster County GOP Chairwoman Sandy McGarry ... Former Gov. Buddy Roemer of Louisiana will be hitting North Carolina on Tuesday as he continues his bid for the Republican nomination. Roemer will be speaking to the American Mortgage Conference in Raleigh before heading to Charlotte for a town hall event to focus on jobs ... Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson continues to focus on New Hampshire. On Saturday, he will kick off a four-day tour of the state with campaign stops in Bedford, Durham, Keene, Merrimack and Nashua. This is the 16th time Johnson has visited the Granite State in the last 18 months ...

A Bloomberg News poll released on Friday found that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton remains one of the more popular politicians in America, with 64 percent of those surveyed holding a favorable opinion of her. More than a third of those surveyed -- 34 percent -- thought the country would be in better shape if she had been elected president in 2008, while 29 percent thought that about U.S. Sen. John McCain. Clinton continues to insist that she has no interest in a rematch with Obama for the Democratic nomination ... This week, after he endorsed Romney, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota said he was not interested in being the GOPs vice presidential candidate in 2012. Pawlenty had been a contender to be McCains running mate in 2008 but lost out to Palin ... After backing Perry for president, Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana said he was not interested in being the VP candidate ... Cain, on the other hand, has left the door open to being the vice presidential candidate. At a tea party event in South Carolina earlier in the month, Cain said that he would be open to the possibility, though it depended on who the presidential candidate was.

Reach Kevin Derby at or at (850) 727-0859.

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