We've always been told that the race for the White House is a marathon, not a sprint so a fast start is not a good indication of where you will finish. Just ask Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani or Hillary Clinton how their 2007 poll numbers worked for them. It's also easy to forget that among the current crop of GOP hopefuls, Herman Cain was peaking as he was nearing double digits in polls a few short months ago while the spring's front-runner, Tim Pawlenty is sitting on the sidelines, a beaten man.
Now we have a new rising (lone) star in Rick Perry who is nearly doubling up contestant number 2, Mitt Romney, in most polls and pulling away from the former Tea Party flavor of the month Michele Bachmann.
But lost in all the hype and hysteria is the one man who knows a little bit about endurance races; the former 2 term NM Governor Gary Johnson who is an accomplished tri-athlete and was all but written off when he tossed his hat in the NM race in 1994. Gov Johnson, who has been excluded from most national polls and has been persona non grata in the last 2 GOP debates, with a pending snub for the Sept 7 NBC-Politico debate, is slowly gaining ground.
In the newly released CNN/ORC poll Gov Johnson comes in at 2%, ahead of establishment candidates Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman while being tied with Herman Cain. It may not seem like much but you need to crawl before you can walk and with the big names slugging it out, Gary Johnson is building momentum. You also need to realize that most Americans haven't even begun to think about the 2012 race with the Iowa Caucus still 5 months away.
With this in mind, the Johnson campaign understands that in order to win in 2012 you need to still be in the race and their strategy to build grassroots support may, in the end, be the winning formula.