With no obvious front runner, it is difficult to predict who the GOP will nominate to run against President Obama. Here is Learning About Politics' grades among 7 characteristics that will be important for the eventual nominee. Primary election voters take into account viability (can they win the nomination), electability (can they win the election), likability (how much they like them), and experience (do they have a presidential-ready resume?). Also, voters are less likely to vote for someone if they don't recognize their name, so name recognition is necessary. We have also included likability and name recognition in the general election. The scores are an average of the scores from all four of us on a 1-5 scale, with a 5 representing the highest.
Overall, we gave Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Mike Huckabee, and Tim Pawlenty the best chance of winning the nomination. Romney and Pawlenty (along with Mitch Daniels) also scored the highest on their chances to win the general election. Our scores also suggest that Huntsman will be challenged by his lack of name recognition, and Donald Trump and John Bolton by their lack of likability. Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty scored the highest for their experience to be president, with Haley Barbour, John Huntsman, Mitch Daniels, and Newt Gingrich tied for third in that category. The most discussed potential candidate, Sarah Palin, only scored well in one category--name recognition.
Overall, there is not a lot of variance in the scores, with a couple of exceptions. There is wide disagreement on Newt Gingrich's viability. This is symbolic, perhaps, of Gingrich's enigmatic personality. He sometimes appears to be a level-headed pragmatist, such as when he works with Al Sharpton on education reform, and others times he appears to be a partisan rabble-rouser such as when he claimed that the health-care bill included "death panels" or that Sonia Sotomayor is a "reverse-racist". Napp and Shannon tend to favor senators in the experience column, while Matt and Kevin gave governors slightly higher marks. And, while Napp is high on Huntsman's experience, Matt, Kevin, and Shannon rated him average.
You can see all of our individual scores here. How would you score the candidates? Which of our scores do you most disagree with? Leave your answers in our comment section below.