Friday, December 3, 2010

Montana Republican Numbers

On the Montana poll that we released a couple weeks ago we also had some numbers on who Republicans in the state wanted as their candidates for President and Senate in 2012 and we just never got around to releasing them. So here goes:

Steve Daines is the most eager GOP Senate candidate in the state but at this point only 5% of Republicans there say they want him as their nominee. Most would like to see either Marc Racicot (40%) or Denny Rehberg (37%) end up with the nod. Rehberg has near universal popularity with the Republican base (75/14) and although he gets a lot of 'not sures' 10 years removed from the Governor's office pretty much all Republicans with an opinion about Racicot like him (58/12 favorability). It's hard to imagine anyone else winning the nomination if either of them end up running. That said, Daines has just 24% name recognition with Republican voters right now and Livingstone only 12% so either of them could certainly pick up some steam as they become better known.

There is a bit of an ideological division in who Montana Republicans would most like to see as their nominee. Conservatives narrowly favor Rehberg by a 39-38 margin, but moderates would rather have Racicot by a 49-30 spread. That greater appeal to the center is why Racicot polled somewhat better than Rehberg in a hypothetical head to head with Jon Tester.

Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee are the top choices of GOP voters in the state to be the Presidential nominee in 2012, earning support levels of 23% and 22% respectively. Among the other front runners Newt Gingrich is at 16% and Mitt Romney 12%. Leading the second tier contenders is Ron Paul with 9% followed by Tim Pawlenty and John Thune at 3%, and Mitch Daniels at 2%. Although Thune's 3% is not particularly impressive it is the highest level of support PPP has found for him in any state so far.

In a departure from what we usually see in these polls, Huckabee actually has a slight lead with conservatives at 23-22 but Palin's small overall advantage comes because she beats him out 25-18 with moderates. In another interesting twist Huckabee has a 3 point advantage with women while Palin has a 6 point lead with men. That's becoming a bit of a trend in our polling, as the last national poll also found Huckabee first with women and Palin first with men. That's not the normal sort of gender gap you see but is reflective of the kind of folks each of them appeal to.

Full results here


Steve said...

Explain to me how Romney is 4th with 12% in a GOP primary and leads Obama by 11 in the same polling data whereas Palin and Huckabee are tied and Palin is only up 12? Something not right.

Dustin Ingalls said...

Palin is only up 2 on Obama, not 12 (your finger might've slipped). I don't see what's confusing. The story is pretty much the same everywhere: Palin and Gingrich are hated by Democrats and independents, so they don't do as well against Obama as do Huckabee and Romney. Even in red states where the Republicans just love Palin, she can't ride to a strong showing in the general on GOP love alone.

Steve said...

You are correct, my finger did slip.

Illinoisguy said...

Dustin, your explanation is not supported by the data, not even close. The data shows that people like her, but do not want her to be president. Even amongst conservatives and Republicans, Mitt Romney almost always beats her when running against Obama. So does Huckabee for that matter.

Dustin Ingalls said...

Wrong. Palin is almost always the least liked candidate overall but one of the best liked, along with Huckabee, by Republicans. In Montana specifically, she is the best liked by Republicans but the second least liked overall after Gingrich because she is by far the least liked by Democrats and the second least liked by independents after Gingrich. In the horse races, therefore, she does the worst (by one point over Gingrich) with independents against Obama, losing them by 18. And she is the second worst (again, after Gingrich) with Democrats and, despite how much Republicans in the state love her, she does worst with them against Obama too. So, yes, Republicans love her but don't want her to be president. But independents and Democrats hate her, and they CERTAINLY don't want her to be president. That's what's really holding her back.

Steve said...

I guess another explanation we'd like to know is why is Romney 10 points down to Huckabee, but polls one point better (within margin of error) against Obama in a matchup.

Dustin Ingalls said...

Montana Republicans don't like Romney as much as the other three, but he's the second best liked by Dems and indies after Huckabee. He's the opposite of Palin: while she is well liked by Republicans, they're not pledging to actually vote for her in as high numbers as she needs. Romney almost unanimously locks them up, leads by 5 with independents (as does Huckabee), and ties Huckabee for the best of the four with Democrats.

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