Thursday, February 17, 2011

Only Romney seen as presidential material

Part of the reason all of the GOP's leading contenders to face Barack Obama next year currently trail him is that voters see them more as running mates than as presidents.

Yesterday's release showed that Obama is vulnerable to an empty-vessel generic Republican and even trails a specifically moderate Republican by two points while only leading a Tea Partier by four. Yet in that same poll, the closest any of the flesh-and-blood, well-known Republicans tested against the president could get was Mike Huckabee's three-point deficit, narrowly ahead of Mitt Romney's five-point gulf. Newt Gingrich and Tea Party hero Sarah Palin were way behind (by nine and 14 points, respectively).

A clue to this discrepancy is not only that all but Huckabee have negative favorability ratings.

Another is that when asked whether they view these candidates as more suited to be Commander in Chief or Numero Dos, voters see only Romney as more presidential than vice-presidential material (30-20). And even then, half of voters aren't sure.

For Huckabee, that is 22-27, with 51% unsure. For Gingrich, 16-27 (57% unsure). And for Palin, last election's GOP VP nominee, the divide is 16-32 (52% unsure).

Tuesday's release showed that among even Republicans, only Romney and Huckabee are viewed as more fit for the Oval Office than for a warm bucket of spit. If you can't convince your own base that you're ready for the task, you'll be hard-pressed to not only get the nomination but convince swing voters that you are.

Since Palin turns off Democrats more than anyone else except maybe George W. Bush, you'd think they were the ones driving sentiment against her. But interestingly, while Palin does unsurprisingly worst overall, Democrats actually give her better marks (7-16) than they do for Huckabee (8-21) or Gingrich (4-18). Romney nearly breaks even across the aisle, 13-16.

Rather, it's independents who most strongly slot Palin at the bottom of the ticket, 13-34. Palin also turns off independents far more than the others do. By contrast, unaffiliated voters break almost 2:1 (37-19) for Romney's White House ambitions and respective 21-32 and 15-28 against Huckabee's and Gingrich's.

And lest anyone suggest sexism, women are even more fine than men with keeping the glass ceiling in place for Palin, saying by a 12-30 margin that she's better off for the job McCain picked her for; that compares to men's 20-33. Those are the worst marks of anyone with the female gender. They say Romney is fit for president by four points, and they give Huckabee only a -3 and Gingrich a -13. Romney is also the only one with positive marks from men (35-18), versus 24-30 for Huckabee and 19-29 for Gingrich.

It's pretty safe to say that whoever wins the nomination, even Romney, is going to have to do a better job when taking on an incumbent president of more definitively staking out an image that suggests to voters that he or she belongs at the Resolute Desk in front of those yellow curtains. The hard thing for these frontrunners is that they're all already so well-known that it'll be harder for them to change their image than it will be for a newcomer to arrive on the scene and claim the "presidential" mantle.

Full results here.


vp said...

Do you have comparative data from four years ago? It would be interesting to see how, say, Obama and Clinton fared in response to the same question.

Hillary's team obviously thought Obama vulnerable on this front, hence the 3AM ad.

Anonymous said...

Yes but the negatives Romney brings with him are deal breakers. He showed without a doubt in the past that he does not have the simply most important quality a President of these United States should have - and that's honesty.
Romney is not a man of his word, and that is the deal breaker. You people who take polls without asking yourselves this crucial question - well its criminal. Americans could not forget that Romeny said on Tuesday what he denied on Thursday. He started in life a leader of a cult, the Mormons, and his favouurite reading is Scientology. First he was Pro-Life as a Mormon. Then he was the most Pro-Choice Governor in America, Massachusetts, where he brought in Romneycare, and now he says he's Pro-life again when he runs federally. These were, he said, his cherished, most sacred beliefs - flipping them according to where he runs: thus he is untrustworthy. His company, the Los Angeles Times revealed, was registered in the Caymans to avoid taxes! Then look what it did for a living - it lived on taking over other companies, stripping them of their assets and pocketing the cash. What allowed it to make its first purchase: pooled Mormon money.
So next time you recommend someone to the office of President of the United States, please see if they say what they mean and mean what they say, where as Commander-in-Chief, our boys who put their lives on the balances, can trust the Commander in Chief. For Romney's word cannot be trusted...

Anonymous said...


I think you mean 12-point deficit for Palin, not 14.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps next time you poll whether candidates are Pres or Veep material, include the third option of "suited for neither." With the current setup, it's difficult to figure out if being described as VP material is good (in that they think you're at least qualified for that) or bad (in that they don't think you're presidential enough.)

Rev Trask said...

How is Morman Romney going to win the oogedy-boogedy crowd in key GOP primary states like Iowa and SC?

WD said...

Dear "Anonlymous":

I just hope you actually talk to someone who knows the private equity world (especially someone who knows and understands Bain Capital), speak with someone who actually knows the ins and outs of the healthcare bill originally proposed in Massachusetts by Romney (and its disparates from Obamacare), and engaged in dialogue with a Mormon. If you have done so honestly, you may see things a little differently.

I've done all three in addition to critically reading his book, and being Mormon and an accountant. I would just hope you look into both sides of the story. There's more than MSNBC out there.

Anonymous said...

I'm interested to see how these polls would shape up with a 3rd party. While no candidate has given any indication that it is a possibility, how would Palin or Paul, as a third party, fare in that scenario?

I recall there may have been one conducted last year but I am not too sure.

Dustin Ingalls said...

"Do you have comparative data from four years ago?"

No. Amazingly, this is only PPP's third even-year cycle polling nationally.

"I think you mean 12-point deficit for Palin, not 14."

Yeah, you're right. My bad.

The Interesting Times said...

I like the Anonymous commenter's suggestion to include a third "suited for neither" option next time you poll this question.

Also, next time you do a national poll, would you consider polling respondents' third choice for 2012 Republican nominee, if their first two choices decline to run?

I'm mainly asking this because, among the four best known candidates, only Romney is considered very likely to run. One or all of the other three are likely to decline to run. I'd like to see what would happen if, say, both Huckabee and Palin declined to run, if both Huckabee and Gingrich didn't run, or if both Palin and Gingrich decline to run.

Dustin Ingalls said...

We've polled both Bloomberg and Paul as third-party candidates, and they both only helped Obama increase his lead.

Anonymous said...

Will you consider polling Wisconsin again soon to see if the chaos has more support for Democrats or Republicans? Do the Wisconsinites really think the teachers are underpaid - when the average teacher salary (for 9 months of work) was $52,644 in 2009-20010 compared to the per capita income of $39,138? (and that doesn't include the benefits)

What is Gov. Walker's approval rating? What is the approval rating of the Republicans who showed up for work compared the the Democrats that ran away to Illinois to avoid the controversy?

Has anything changed in the 2012 race since you last polled there in Dec. when Palin was leading?

Anomalous said...

Time to poll wisconsin?

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