Politics 2012: Of sweaters, apps and polls

By NICOLE DEBEVEC, United Press International
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum sporting his signature vest while campaigning in New Hampshire last week. UPI/Kevin Dietsch
1 of 3 | Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum sporting his signature vest while campaigning in New Hampshire last week. UPI/Kevin Dietsch | License Photo

You too, can have a sweater vest like the one Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum wears. Better voter targeting through technology. Some comic relief in a poll. No love lost for Iowa, New Hampshire.

A warm and fuzzy


Donate a Benjamin (or two!) and a sleeveless sweater vest just like Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum's could have been yours.

"Donate $100 or more to Rick's campaign between now and Jan. 11, and we will send your very own official Rick Santorum For President sweater vest," hawks Web site for the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania. "Perfect for demonstrating solidarity with true conservatives, this vest is a great way to show your support for Rick."

The Web site said the 100 percent cotton sweater was made in United States and came in one color -- gray.

As Santorum told CNN recently, the sweater is his Second Amendment vest -- you know, the (groan) right to bare arms.


Alas, the offer has expired.

App-tly tracking the conservative vote

Conservative leaders say they're hoping a smartphone application will help boost conservative turnout.

FreedomWorks for America, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey's mega political action committee, plans to use the app to help canvass voters, Roll Call reported.

The mobile canvassing application developed by Texas-based Political Gravity uses a smartphone's GPS feature to help volunteers identify voters the campaign wants to target, officials said, explaining it's another way technology makes it easier for political campaigns to organize outreach and better use collected data.

"In election campaigns you can't work any harder, so you've got to find a way to work smarter," Roy Magno of Political Gravity said.

Magno said the application -- created in partnership with the conservative American Majority Action -- is available only to conservative campaigns and organizations.

Armey's super PAC FreedomWorks for America plans to debut the app across the nation in the coming weeks. The PAC purchased lists of conservative voters it hopes to target ahead of Senate races in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia this fall.

FreedomWorks for America's Chief Operating Officer Ryan Hacker said the group plans to use the canvassing tool as part of a larger mobile app designed to empower individual activists.


"This is the sort of cutting-edge stuff that will help Republicans win," Hecker said in an interview.

Funny in an uncomfortable kinda way

Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert would poll better than Republican presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman in the South Carolina primary, a recent Public Policy Polling survey last week indicated.

Not that either the late-night comic or the former Utah governor would draw any great numbers -- Colbert got 5 percent compared with Huntsman's 4 percent. Colbert finished 2 percentage points behind Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Huntsman skipped the Iowa caucuses to focus on the New Hampshire primary where he finished a distant third to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas.

PPP also checked the public's pulse on Colbert's proposed ballot referendum that would ask voters whether they think corporations are people -- taking a dig at a comment Romney made in August. Thirty-three percent said they believe "corporations are people," while 67 percent said "only people are people."

Where's the love?

Less than one-fifth of U.S. voters like Iowa and New Hampshire always kicking off the presidential process, a Rasmussen Reports survey indicated.


Besides a scant 18 percent saying the like the idea of Iowa having the first-in-the-nation caucus and New Hampshire having the first-in-the-nation primary, 39 percent said they thought it was bad for the selection process.

Most, the survey said, thought regional primaries are the way to go.

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