Monday, December 20, 2010

Romney's Conservative Problem

Mitt Romney's been looking weaker and weaker in our 2012 Presidential polling over the last couple months and it's pretty easy to identify the reason why: he has a major problem with conservatives and there's no evidence it's getting any better.

We've polled eight states, not including Massachusetts, since the 2010 election ended. Romney has the lowest favorability rating of the Republican top 4 with conservatives in every single one of those states except Michigan, where he probably benefits from his dad having been the Governor. And it's not like Romney is just slightly less well liked than the others with conservatives- it's a large gap, particularly when you compare him with Palin or Huckabee. Romney's average favorability is 58%. Gingrich is next worst at 64%, followed by Huckabee at 73%, and Palin does best at 77%.

Here's the data on favorability with conservatives:

State

Gingrich

Huckabee

Palin

Romney

Ohio

62

70

76

54

Wisconsin

61

60

78

58

Minnesota

62

71

75

56

Michigan

60

73

75

72

Missouri

63

81

77

49

North Carolina

72

76

72

53

Montana

63

75

81

61

Virginia

66

76

79

63


Not surprisingly given that they like him the least, Romney also does the worst with conservatives when Republicans are asked who their top choice as the 2012 nominee is. In six of the eight individual states Romney is last with conservatives with the exceptions being Michigan again and Wisconsin, where he narrowly edges out Gingrich to finish third. On average Romney gets just 14% with conservatives in these preliminary trial heats with Gingrich at 17%, Huckabee at 21%, and Palin at 22%. Here's the full data on that:

State

Gingrich

Huckabee

Palin

Romney

Ohio

21

18

24

14

Wisconsin

14

18

23

16

Minnesota

11

15

20

11

Michigan

17

22

20

23

Missouri

15

28

26

13

North Carolina

19

26

20

10

Montana

17

23

22

13

Virginia

22

21

17

13


And because conservatives make up the lion's share of Republican primary voters, it should come as no surprise that his issues with them are now leading to poor numbers for him overall in these early snapshots. Of the last eight states we've polled Romney has led in only one- Michigan- and even there he could only salvage a tie with Huckabee. Huckabee has led in four states overall with Palin ahead in three and Tim Pawlenty ahead in his home state. Romney's average performance has been 15% with Gingrich at 16%, Palin at 20%, and Huckabee at 21%. Here's the full data on that:

State

Gingrich

Huckabee

Palin

Romney

Ohio

18

19

21

15

Wisconsin

13

18

21

17

Minnesota

11

15

17

13

Michigan

15

22

18

22

Missouri

15

27

25

14

North Carolina

17

25

21

10

Montana

16

22

23

12

Virginia

20

21

17

15


It's early but Romney has a lot of winning over conservatives to do in the next year if he's going to get the nomination.

22 comments:

JCordes said...

Conservatives disdained John McCain. But when push came to shove, they voted overwhelmingly for him over Barack Obama.

illinoisguy said...

One thing you fail to mention that I believe to be important: In these exact same polls, Mitt has run the highest against Obama. That's why we need to continue to pay attention to how they run against Obama, not just who people would rather have a beer with, or who has the highest percentage as their first choice.

Democrats had better hope that they knock Mitt out early. If he ends up being the Republicans nominee, he could well be the toughest to beat. If you notice, even with CONSERVATIVES, Mitt runs strongest against Obama in most of these states.

Jonny V said...

I am loving these numbers. I really think Romney is by far the GOP's best shot at beating Obama (unless some really great Republican candidate comes out of the ether in 2011 --- seems unlikely) so I like to see him struggling among Republicans.

I really think the 2010 elections will make the Tea Party people think that compromise is unacceptable and they see Romney as a "compromise" type candidate. A "RINO." These people are not willing to vote strategically.

TexasConservative said...

Well Romney had his surrogate, Kevin Madden, trying to prop him up this past Sunday on Fox News Sunday. Good thing Bill Kristol was there to set him straight, reminding Madden that Romney only won 1 primary in 2008.

http://www.wiserepublic.com/2398/fox-news-sunday-panel-on-2012-mixed-performance-12-19-10-video/

Steve said...

Combination of Mass. health care and Mormonism.

NRH said...

Romney's advantage for now is that he runs better than the other Republican potential candidates in blue states and swing states. His disadvantage is that he has to win over the conservative vote if he wants to win. Either he'll have to tack right in the primary (and be forced to loudly and publicly take stances that will hurt him in those same blue and swing states), or he'll hope the conservative vote is split and try to win the middle, which results in disappointed conservatives and hold-your-nose voting, which John McCain demonstrated so well is not a Republican strength. Theirs is a party based on faith, not reason; if they don't believe in the Romney, he's crippled from the get-go.

Dustin Ingalls said...

"If you notice, even with CONSERVATIVES, Mitt runs strongest against Obama in most of these states."

That's true. This post was entirely about his tough road to win nomination, not to win the general.

illinoisguy said...

TC, I hope you see what they are saying here. They like the fact that Mitt could get beat in the primary because they see him by far the hardest to beat. And they are right. Sarah shows by far to be the weakest. That's who they LOVE to see leading the GOP primary polls.

Gary said...

Romney will never be the nominee. He couldn't beat John McCain or Elmer Gantry Huckabee in 2008. That was the worst field the GOP fielded in my lifetime.

This time he's going to have to get around Sarah Palin, who seems to be leading the pack in almost all of these state polls.

Past that, the nation is looking for a real leader. Plain is, Romney is anything but. They will also want a Conservative. Mitt doesn't even grasp the concept.

Sarah also matches up well against Obama in the state polling. Remember, we don't elect a President nationwide.

Instead we elect a President state by state. With the census, and blue states losing electoral votes, with red states gaining them, Obama would have a hard time against anyone.

I've asked around, and no one can tell me exactly which states George W Bush won in 2004 that Sarah Palin won't win in 2012.

The fact is, she'll be competitive in a lot of blue states that others would not be. And unlike the others, she'll actually work to get those votes.

No one is better at retail politics.

She's also the only one who will take on Obama and take him on hard. She isn't impressed that he is "historic" She's going to be pretty "historic" herself when she's sworn in on January 20, 2013!

Craig said...

Exactly, Dustin ; 0

IG just wanted to change the subject. He likes to do that.

Anonymous said...

Mitt Romney has a huge problem, much greater than his lack of credentials with conservatives. His failed health care plan is like an albatross around his neck and it will surely cause him to sink....

Anonymous said...

The fact that Mr. Romney might do a little better among Independents and Moderates in the General election is of little use in the Primary. Conservatives may be sick and tired of Mr. Obama, but we are not prepared to support Obama lite. I for one do not like the idea Of supporting a guy who gave us MAcare, TARP and backed the wrong horse in NY-23, not once, but twice! Being opposed to the new tax deal is a good first step, but he needs to prove that he can actually promote Conservatism. It would be better to have 8 years of Mr. Obama than to have 4 years of Mr. Romney and have the GOP be blamed for scewing up the country further. The country is to important to experiment with Mr. Romney, Mr. Obama was bad enough.

OHIO JOE

Anonymous said...

Reject Romney - you will make the Dems and Obamabites so Happy! They know he is the only candidate that can beat them. Conservatives need to give up on wanting their personal cheerleader who is no more qualified to be President than Obama even though we really really like her. I have to laugh, Mormons are make fun of for being so very "old fashioned" and conservative in their behavior and thinking but the one Mormon running for office is a closet "liberal". You people will get what you deserve, 4 more years of the current mess.

Dustin Ingalls said...

"Sarah also matches up well against Obama in the state polling."

Huh? What polling have you been reading? Also, she's been leading the primary in some of the states we've done recently, though never by much, with Huckabee or Romney usually close behind. But Romney still has a giant lead in important first-primary New Hampshire, last we polled there. If Palin and Huckabee are neck-and-neck in IA and SC, and with Romney also doing well in FL and NV last we polled there, it could come down to him and Palin or Huckabee down the stretch, and that's where Romney will get into trouble when the conservative base has a choice, even in some of the big blue states where he now does well in the larger field in which conservatives are divided.

"Instead we elect a President state by state. With the census, and blue states losing electoral votes, with red states gaining them, Obama would have a hard time against anyone."

It's not like it's going to be a massive shift. He won by such a wide margin last time that just the shift in electoral votes is not going to make much of a difference in his electoral vote total if he were to win the same states again. Also, some of the states that could gain, particularly in the west, are states he could win again, so then his total would actually be boosted to offset losses in states like NY and OH (and if the GOP wins in OH, it won't be as large a coup for them as in the past).

"I've asked around, and no one can tell me exactly which states George W Bush won in 2004 that Sarah Palin won't win in 2012."

I can: NC, VA, OH, FL, NM, NV, CO, IA.

"The fact is, she'll be competitive in a lot of blue states that others would not be."

I'm not sure how you conclude that, because right now, she's the least competitive in the blue states.

Anonymous said...

I have been active in the Tea party-my local county chapter, virtually all of us, will not vote for Romney-he made his millions selling out ordinary Americans and he is no better than Obama-we will all stay home and the polls showing that he will be the best against Obama are too premature.
As BO systematically destroys our country Americans better wake up and think outside the box, otherwise we will not prevail against BO.

BYEMAN said...

Romney is No Conservative, I presume what the Tea Party, Constitutionals, Conservatives, and Independents call: RINO (Republican In Name Only)

Romney made his $100's of millions starting BAIN CAPITAL a corporate raiding firm. Over the past 25 years Romney and BAIN have destroyed a vast amount of companies through different financial schemes such as Golden Parachutes, buyout, sell-offs, shaking every nickel out of over-funded pensions, shipping those 100,000's of jobs out of the country. Romney in his profiteering has been a huge factor in destroying the American economy.

The there's Massachusetts, that proves, Romney is pondering liberal in the crone state heath care fiasco while lining the pockets of the industry's corporate donors.

Mitt Romney is worse than many Tax & Spend Democrats!

el said...

Let's face it: the ONLY reason that possible Republican voters feel that Sarah is unelectable is because SOONER OR LATER she will have to face Barry in open debate three times or more: and they fear that she will get slaughtered.
To which I say: Pish-Tosh!
By the time 2012 rolls around the work that Palin is doing now, social networking, tweeting, reality Tv, will stand her in good stead; she will take on and beat Barry because the only response he'll have will be to be hoity-toity and condescending, and that won't help him!
Sarah has the support and the popular votes to beat ANY DEMOCRAT in 2012. Nevertheless I would like her to take second spot on the Ticket, as VP to Victor Davis Hanson.
Then let's see who'll be running scared of public debate!
Hanson/Palin/Hanson 2012!

Anonymous said...

It's hilarious to see conservatives bashing Romney for being a capitalist. Do you really think the GOP or any of the other candidates are really populists, for the little guy instead of corporations? That's the Democratic Party's mantra!

Anonymous said...

Ron Paul will mop the floor with Romney.

Stephen Monteith said...

Tex, what on Earth are you talking about? Romney won at least a dozen primaries and caucuses before he dropped out of the race. And even after he dropped out, he still managed to walk into the 2008 convention with more delegates under his belt than Huckabee did.

Romney has lower numbers than the others because they're more visible than he is, right now. In the next year, though, all the senators, representatives, governors, and state officials who got elected with his help are going to stand up and say "Look at who you have to thank." He endorsed Gov. Branstad in Iowa and Gov. Haley in SC before Sarah Palin even knew who they were, and both of whom Mike Huckabee actually opposed. You think they're going to forget that, or let their states forget it? You think Senator Jim DeMint is going to forget that he actually endorsed Mitt Romney in '08 over the tax-hiking Huckabee? You think conservatives are going to forget that Gingrich endorsed Scozzafava in NY-23rd last year?

Conservatives know who they have to thank for their electoral victory this last year, and if they don't, then they'll hear it from one end of the primary season to the night we elect our new president: it's Mitt Romney.

Anonymous said...

Romney is the logical choice.Palin is a joke,and not a very funny one at that.Conservatives need to grow up!We have to start thinking stratigically about these elections.Mitt gives us a real chance to end this nightmare of Obama.We also should remember that the great Ronald Reagan signed the nations most liberal abortion law as gov.of California so lets knock off the stupid childish rino talk.

Jonny V said...

I am absolutely giddy reading Gary's post. These Sarah Palin supporters are absolutely out to lunch! They are totally unmoved by reality! No matter how obvious it is that she is going to get destroyed by President Obama in the general election they push on. Man! It's almost too easy. I love it.

I'm telling you: The fastest way towards real progress in this country is the self destruction of the Republican Party and the way to make that happen is to get Sarah Palin as the GOP nominee in 2012.

I know I'm voting for her in the GOP primary ... I suggest all other liberals do the same. Operation Chaos FTW!

 
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