Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Wrapping up the 2012 GOP polls

The 18 state level polls we released over the last week on the 2012 GOP nomination contest confirmed what we already knew- this thing is about as wide open as it could be.

Averaged across the states we looked at Mitt Romney gets 19.5%, Sarah Palin gets 17.9%, Mike Huckabee gets 17.1%, and Newt Gingrich gets 15.7%. That's about as close as it could be among the front runners, and the fact that the biggest winner with 19.6% was someone else/undecided makes it clear that there's plenty of room for someone outside the current top tier of potential candidates to become the GOP standard bearer.

In only 3 of the states we looked at did anyone manage to post a double digit lead- that was Romney in Connecticut, Nevada, and New Hampshire. In just 2 of them did one of the contenders manage to crack 30%- Romney in Nevada and New Hampshire. All of those things taken together point to a Republican nomination fight that is very unpredictable.

A couple other takeaways:

-The interest in a John Thune 2012 bid is pretty clearly confined to inside the Beltway- he averaged less than 1% across these 18 polls. He never got a level of support higher than 2% and the number of states where he got that- 5- was smaller than the number of states where he registered at 0%- 6. He will almost literally have risen from nothing if he somehow snags his party's nomination.

-Tim Pawlenty hurts Mitt Romney. The three states where Pawlenty had his highest levels of support were also the three where Romney had his lowest level of support. In Minnesota where Pawlenty got 19% Romney was at just 11%, in Wisconsin where Pawlenty got 8% Romney only got 12%, and in Illinois where Pawlenty got 8% Romney also got only 11%. Romney already struggles in the South (other than Florida) and it looks like the Midwest could pose trouble for him as well. I'll be interested when we start polling Iowa to see if Pawlenty hurts Romney there as well.


J said...

Pawlenty is just like Romney without the flip floppery or the health care baggage... Red elected in a blue state, boring, uncontroversial.

ARealSenator said...

These results seem on par with what I thought they would be. If Mitch Daniels is in he could hurt Romney and Pawlenty as well especially in the Midwest. Barbour could hurt Huckabee in the South. If John Thune runs, it's a long-shot and most likely only to get his name out there for a future bid to be president (2016 if Obama wins re-election).

Anonymous said...

The Thune thing just makes me crazy. Pawlenty? Don't get what he brings to the table at all. We've already vetted Mittens and said no. I'm from Iowa. They are all dead except to the handlers who need a new job now that this cycle is put to bed.

Where were they during this whole battle we just went through? We now can sense when a candidate is being pushed by the professionals looking for their next gig and have to find a product-candidate to market.

I won't vote for anyone who wasn't in the trenches helping us fight for the survival of the United States and sat home and played it safe - til after the election.

Sarah was the fiercest and most courageous. She manned up while everyone else played it safe.

Anonymous said...

You left out a discussion of the next nominee--Gov. Gary Johnson (NM).

Anonymous said...

I actually think Gary Johnson has a shot at the nomination albeit a long one. He is the only true fiscal conservative on the list.

BG said...

And, of course, PPP once again leaves out one of the most viable candidates:

Election 2012: Barack Obama 42%, Ron Paul 41%
"Pit maverick Republican Congressman Ron Paul against President Obama in a hypothetical 2012 election match-up, and the race is – virtually dead even."

Anonymous said...

Where is Chris Christie in your GOP polls? He is leading in Zogby (yeah, I know, Zogby), winning straw polls, and leading in Internet buzz (see Nate Silver). Stop with the 2008 re-treads!!!

NRH said...

Pawlenty and Romney both are hampered by having had to be governors in states where Republicans aren't a natural governing party. It meant they both had to compromise, and the Republican Party isn't willing to tolerate compromise these days. They can hold up their performance in office as a sign that they'd be able to get things done as President, but that just means they're splitting the same already-small political ground.

The two contrasts to those two are Palin and Huckabee, also both former governors. Palin has made herself into an icon of the radical right, and she could win if the field is fragmented enough or if the 2012 Republican primary is teahadist-dominated, but would then be obliterated by President Obama in the general as poll after poll has demonstrated. Huckabee, though, would be the dangerous one. He governed in a conservative state where Republican political ideology goes over well, even with a Democratic state legislature. He gets to claim both having been able to work across the aisle (with Southern Democrats, anyhow) and to have stood on principle (since those Southern Democrats didn't send him too many things he found very disagreeable).

It's far, far too early to be saying 'favorites,' but I think Huckabee is the Republican candidate with the most potential to take over the primary race. Then again, I thought he was best positioned in 2008, too, but he got into a brawl on the right and left McCain to sneak away with the relative-moderates.

Marvin said...

It seems obvious to me that Romney is actually doomed.

I see the other three as splitting the nutter vote. So when one of them goes down (or if one of them doesn't enter) it seems like most of their votes will be going to one of the other crappy candidates rather than Romney.

I see Romney as the only GOP candidate who could actually beat Obama in '12... luckily enough I think the Republican primary voters are too dumb to hand him the nomination.

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