Saturday, February 5, 2011

Romney tops in Arizona, Kyl probably safe from Tea Party

Jon Kyl is one Republican Senator who doesn't appear to be at serious risk of a Tea Party challenge, but our polling about such a prospect says a lot about the Republican electorate the party's candidates have to contend with now.

Kyl is very popular with GOP primary voters in Arizona, 70% of whom approve of him to only 16% who disapprove. Beyond that 68% think that ideologically he is 'about right.' Only 9% think that he's too liberal, actually smaller than the 10% who think he's too conservative.

So you would expect that when asking Republicans whether they want their candidate to be Kyl or someone more conservative next year that he would be around 70% on that question, right? Wrong. Only 46% of primary voters commit to supporting Kyl in that instance while 30% say they'd take someone more conservative. Even though all but 9% think Kyl is conservative enough, 30% still want someone more conservative. For about a third of the GOP primary electorate, no matter how conservative you are, if they can find someone to the right of you they'll trade you in. Kyl himself probably won't have to deal too much with that reality but many others in the party will.

If there's one region where Mitt Romney seems to be the strongest of the Republican candidates it's the west. Our polling has consistently found him with a large lead in Nevada and he has the top spot in Arizona as well. 23% of Republicans say he'd be their top choice to take on Barack Obama next year to 19% for Mike Huckabee, 15% for Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin, 5% for Ron Paul, 4% for Tim Pawlenty, 2% for Mitch Daniels, and 1% for John Thune.

Arizona is emblematic of one of the core problems for a prospective Palin candidacy- popularity does not equate to support for the Presidency. She has the highest favorability with primary voters at 66% to 62% for Romney and Huckabee, and 59% for Gingrich. But despite that she still finishes in a tie for third eight points behind Romney when it comes to who people actually support for the nomination.

Arizona is a rare state where not only is Romney ahead, but he's ahead with both conservatives and moderates rather than having a huge lead with moderates allow him to survive a poor standing with conservatives. Suffice it to say he'll need a lot more of those states that put him tops with conservatives because he's found himself in fourth place with those voters a lot more in our polling so far this year than first.

Full results here


Unknown said...

It's a bogus question. As your poll says, 70% of the voters believe themselves as conservatives. Regardless of what they believe. Almost every politician has flaws. So you're saying they can replace Kyl with someone who perfectly aligns with their views, they'll choose the fantasy senator.

Ask Democrats whether they'd replace Obama with a more progressive President if they could. Progressives have numerous complaints with Obama, so many would. That doesn't mean they'd vote for someone else instead of Obama in a primary or would prefer Obama to not run for a second term.

Tom Jensen said...

We asked Democrats in Wisconsin and Ohio, right after many liberals were outraged by the tax deal, if they wanted the nominee in 2012 to be Obama, someone more liberal, or someone more conservative. 7% in Ohio and 9% in Wisconsin wanted someone more liberal. Not exactly 30%.

Anonymous said...

Surprised you didn't comment on today's numbers compared to your April 2010 poll.

Huckabee (+7), Palin (+2), Romney (-4), Gingrich (-4)

Romney also showing downward trend in FL, NC, TX & other states

might be a good analysis to make in a separate blog...

Anonymous said...

Did you also poll the 2012 GOP primaries in SD and CA ?

If yes, when will you release them ?

Anonymous said...

Romney is GOP's best bet. He would struggle in the South but will win the Northeast and the West (including CA) and win the nomination. Barring a major event that requies foreign policy expertise, he has a good chance against Obama. People may not like what I am going to say but inspite of having a lack of charisma speaking to large crowds, he has the potential to overwhelm Obama in a debate. Also, he would look a thousand times more authentic talking economy than Obama.

sacman701 said...

A fair portion of the conservative Republicans in Arizona are Mormon, so it doesn't surprise me that Romney does well with conservatives there.

Unknown said...

Was your wording the same?

Even if it was, I'm guessing your question was interpreted as "do you want someone more liberal to beat Obama and be the next nominee?" People would be scared that liberal might lose. But if they could replace Obama themselves without an election the number would be higher.

Have you asked Democrats whether Obama is too liberal, too conservative, or about right?

NRH said...

Rather grimly apropos that a Republican in Arizona has a name that looks like 'Kyl.' It's what they want to enable, after all.

Dustin Ingalls said...

DBL: The wording was different, so the question was probably interpreted differently, but you can't necessarily say that a lot of people, when we ask questions like we did about Kyl, wouldn't also interpret that if they voted for someone other than Kyl, it may mean a lesser shot at winning the general election if that person is nominated.

In our latest Kos poll, only 14% of Dems think Obama too conservative, 10% think he's too liberal, and 73% think he's "about right."

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