Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Does the GOP need Romney to win?

A broad theme has been emerging in our state by state Presidential polling over the last couple months: if the Republicans nominate Mitt Romney it's a toss up. And if they nominate anyone else it's 2008 all over again. Our newest Nevada numbers very much reinforce that trend.

Barack Obama took the Silver State by 12 points in his first run. But if he had to stand for reelection today he'd be in a very competitive race against Romney, leading only 47-46 in the state. Pit him against any of the other Republicans there though and the numbers look pretty similar to last time- 9 point advantages over Herman Cain and Rick Perry at 48-39 and 49-40 respectively, a 10 point lead over Michele Bachmann at 50-40, and a 12 point advantage over Sarah Palin at 51-39.

Over the last month we've had similar findings in:

-Pennsylvania, where Obama is tied with Romney but leads all other Republicans by at least 7 points.

-New Hampshire, where Romney leads Obama by 2 points but all other Republicans trails Obama by at least 7.

-Virginia, where Obama leads Romney by 4 but has at least a 9 point advantage over all the rest of the GOP hopefuls.

-Michigan, where Obama has a 5 point advantage over Romney but at least a 15 point lead over everyone else.

-North Carolina, where the disparity between Romney and the rest of the Republicans isn't quite as great. Obama and Romney are tied while Obama leads all the others by at least 3 points.

Taken all together it makes you ask the question: do Republicans have to nominate Romney to defeat Obama next year?

Obama's approval numbers are actually on the rise a little bit in Nevada from where they were when PPP last polled the state in late October. Then 45% approved of him to 52% disapproving. Now it's 47% approving to 50% disapproving. He's actually on positive ground with independents at 52/45 but he's under water overall because Republicans (89% disapproval) dislike him a whole lot more at this point than Democrats (79%) do like him.

Obama's holding his ground against everyone but Romney in Nevada because voters there find the whole GOP field even more unpalatable than him. Romney comes close to breaking even on favorability at 38/43 but the rest of the Republicans are quite unpopular- a -9 spread for Cain at 24/33, a -12 for Perry at 24/36, a -21 for Bachmann at 30/51, and a -28 for Palin at 32/60.

Voters disliking the Republican candidates really is a vital component of Obama's horse race numbers holding up as well as they are even as his approval numbers struggle. It remains to be seen whether he can really get reelected by being the lesser of two evils or if the election will end up being solely a referendum on him regardless of who the GOP puts forward. And one thing's for sure- if voters ever warm up to one of the Republican candidates Obama will really be in trouble, in Nevada and everywhere.

Full results here


Anonymous said...

Likeable candidate, yes. Romney, less so, and he's more vulnerable to criticism and less apt to distinguish himself. "The other guy" only goes so far, and Obama is still quite likeable even if he's a rather abysmal president, so I don't think a net-neutral candidate on policy favors a challenger.

Ironic that the most electable and distinct-from-Obama candidate on the GOP side, IMO, is the guy who use to work for Obama. Romney is too old-centrist for this electorate and most of the rest are too extreme (Bachmann, Perry, Cain, Palin, etc.) or weird (Paul, Johnson).

(I say 'weird' with love -- I'd vote for Johnson in a heartbeat. Paul a little less so, since he's going whole hog on the religious conservative thing these days, and I've never quite understood his goddamn fixation with the gold standard, though I entirely agree re: most of the rest of his monetary policies.)

Needless to say, I can't wait for the primary season to move past IA.

Sophie said...

I suggest you ask Republican primary voters in your next poll "Who do you think is the most electable candidate", to see if voters have internalized that advantage.

Anonymous said...

It might not be enough, but the others are either stale (Giulianit), irrelevant (Huntsman) or wacky.

The Interesting Times said...

Perry could possibly be the worse thing that could happen to the GOP. I think he's a lot less electable than he looks right now. He's a hardcore conservative but his likability is extremely low.

Denis said...

Where are the numbers for Ron Paul? You don't still think he's off the map, do you?

mdhenshaw said...

Romney is the only frontrunner voters really know. Palin is toxic. Bachmann isn't going anywhere. Pawlenty is boring.

Perry is a relative unknown to the rest of the country. Being a relative unknown/outsider is going to be a plus in an election against Obama if the prospective nominee is seen as someone with sufficient executive experience.

Anonymous said...

With Gov. Romney's support for Romneycare and his staff reporting support for the OCare Exchanges; support that Climate change has anthropomorphic causes and needs to be addressed and his assertion he can effectively work with Democrats ... have to say ... he shows bold signs of not being my cup of tea. In a dire emergency he may be almost as attractive as McCain ... hope it doesn't come to that

Jim said...

Given the widely disparate "name recognition" of various candidates, it's only logical that voters would be more likely to choose Romney over the others (with the exception of Palin).

Voters know him at least vaguely because he ran in the GOP primaries in 2008.

On the other hand, those voters who are picking other, lesser-known candidates such as Perry, Cain, etc., are essentially telling pollsters that they are voting "Anybody But Obama." They know little to nothing about the candidates themselves as none of them has previously had a national profile, but they're still willing to cast a vote for them anyway.

I'd like to see you do polling on "name recognition" so that it can be better quantified what percentage of voters are just "Anybody But Obama, and I'll say yes to whoever you name including a random name out of a phone book," how many are "I've looked at this candidate side-by-side with Obama, and I still prefer Obama," and how many are "Obama's a known quantity and I don't know who that other person is, so I'll say I'm voting for Obama."

Dustin Ingalls said...

Jim: The favorability ratings are a measure of name rec. These candidates, even Perry, are pretty well-known compared to candidates in a lot of past cycles.

Al Pippin said...

The answer to your question is a resounding NO! Though Mitt Romney is quite capable of beating Obama in 2012, he greatly lacks the ability, on many fronts, to garner the kind of support that Rick Perry does and will ultimately get.

Pew reported on 7/28 that of the Republican / Republican leaning people being polled, 21% preferred Romney, followed by Perry with 12%, Palin and Bachmann at 11% each, Paul at 9% and Cain with 8%.

BUT, of those claiming to have given "a lot" of thought to the 2012 elections, Perry got 22% of the support, with Romney at 15%, Bachmann at 13%, Cain at 12%, Palin at 9% and Paul at 7%.

Then, when asked what GOP candidate these same people have heard most about of recent, Bachmann led the pack with 25%, followed by Romney at 16%, Palin at 7% and Perry at 3%.

Poll after poll after poll, when actually read, then analyzed, are essentially pointing to what, in my opinion, is increasingly becoming more and more obvious to those with half a brain in their heads. Barack Obama will be a one term President - period! Not only will he be defeated in 2012, but he will do so in a virtual landslide - by Rick Perry or, for that matter, any other candidate chosen as the GOP Presidential. nominee.

Charlotte-W MA said...

I would appreciate not hearing anymore about Obama being "likeable!" Voting Citizens of the U.S. owe your country more than this type of opinion and support. Read, become informed, check into bios and results, talk with your friends and neighbors. Liking a person and looking for a strong leader with knowledge who can get along with his fellow government representatives is a far cry from voting for someone who is "likeable." Charlotte Western MA

Dustin Ingalls said...

Al Pippin is back with more lunacy. We missed you, buddy. Now it's time for the return of Christian Liberty/Herbie and Smooth Jazz.

Anonymous said...

Just some food for thought for you Perry lovers. I certainly would prefer him to Obama...but living here in Texas a lot of us think he is kind of a nut job.

Anonymous said...

Ron Paul is consistently polling in the top 4 (now more recent the top 3). The GOP needs Ron Paul to win. how about you start putting Ron Paul in your polls and see what responses you get. Polls are pointless when they are biased. Simply ask "out of all of the GOP candidates, who do you support the most?"
Don't do any name drops, just see what the responses are.

Anonymous said...

Paul is a confused old man who is unable to explain his own positions on varoius matters when interviewed by a competent interverer. He gets confused and and fusses about the queations he is asked...just watch the next time.
Little Rand(y) is the same way. Chip of the old block. That is why he bitched about the press at the beginning of his campaign. His handlers protected him from the press until the election.
Kentucky deserves him and O'Connell, both are incompetent in their own way. O'Connell follows the instructions of the money men who own the Congress.
And KY is loaded with low information voters and the population in general.

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