Although the election is still more than two years away, and any 2012 polling numbers before the mid-terms should not be taken all that seriously, a couple of recent polls show a few interesting developments regarding the next Presidential contest.
First is from the generally reputable Public Policy Polling, which shows Governor Romney leading the primary field by a strong margin in the traditional early state of New Hampshire. 31% favor Romney in the primary campaign, to 14% for second place Newt Gingrich. Third place goes to Ron Paul with 13%. Huckabee takes 12%, Palin 9%, Pawlenty 3%. If you follow the link, the internals of the poll are fairly interesting, showing Romney running well among conservatives, and those happy with the party.
Considering the latest trend requiring early states to apportion their delegates proportionally, that is no winner-take-all among states in February or March, such an outcome would do well for Romney. He takes more than twice the vote of his nearest competitor. Huckabee and Palin, who would conventionally be considered Romney’s strongest rivals for the nomination would be mired in fourth and fifth, leaving them with only a handful of delegates and decreased momentum. Of course, campaigning in New Hampshire has not even started yet so this race has plenty of development left in it. Still, Romney begins with a very respectable advantage in the widely watched primary state.
The second poll is much more telling, in my opinion. It is a general election poll, done by Zogby Interactive, which shows Romney trailing Obama by two points, 45-43 among likely voters in an hypothetical 2012 election. Of course, it is easy to notice the headline generated by the left wing media, “Obama defeats Romney,” etc…. In actuality though the true story behind this poll is not all that different than the recent PPP poll showing Romney leading the President by three; this is not good news for the administration.
When the mainstream media is done celebrating the fact that Obama is “winning,” maybe they should note that the incumbent President is within the margin of error against a candidate that has not yet even announced a Presidential run…
and that Obama is only at 45% himself…
and that Obama does not break 50% against any challenger…
which in this poll includes Clint Eastwood, Tom Selleck, and Chuck Norris.
Seriously, the media is bragging about the fact that Obama defeats all takers, but has no comment on the fact that he has a clear ceiling of support that is well below 50%. The President does not take more than 48% of the hypothetical vote against any of the proposed candidates and is at only 45 or 46% against five of the seven. The poll shows a great deal of uncertainty about the Republican field. Romney runs significantly stronger than Huckabee or Palin (oddly enough Gingrich and Pawlenty were not considered in this poll), but Obama can’t engineer a majority against any candidate. This indicates that while opinions are fluid on the Republicans as a whole, they are pretty well set about the President. Uncertainty can be overcome through effective campaigning.
The Obama agenda, however, has been thoroughly rejected by the voters. It is odd sometimes how consistently ignoring public opinion will do that. It must be odd, as the administration is consistently unable to realize that fact.
This past week Rasmussen has done some polling to determine the latest trends in the very close race for Governor. Governor Romney has endorsed Karen Handel, joining Sarah Palin, Jan Brewer, Redstate.com, among others. Her primary opponent, Nathan Deal, has Newt Gingrich in his corner – admittedly not a weak endorsement in the state of Georgia. Last Tuesday, before the first round of the primary, Handel was shown as dead even against Deal – each at 25% in the four way race according to a Rasmussen poll of 943 likely voters. Her margin of victory was quite a bit greater than that, as she took 34% of the vote in an eleven point victory over Deal. Nevertheless, the runoff depends on the direction taken by former Johnson and Oxendine supporters. The runoff will be held on August 3.
Regarding the general election, both Handel and Deal narrowly lead the Democrat Roy Barnes. Handel takes a 45-44 lead, this also according to Rasmussen. In a somewhat unsettling sign for the runoff, Deal holds a bit of a larger lead for the general election. Although, should Handel win in the runoff, her narrow lead over Barnes should hopefully increase, as currently divided Republicans unite behind the candidate.
As for Michigan, a Detroit News poll from last week shows Mike Cox neck and neck with Pete Hoekstra, at 26.4% and 25.6%, respectively. Rick Snyder takes 20.2% of the vote, while Mike Bouchard claims 11.6%. Mitt Romney, Michigan’s native son, has endorsed Hoekstra for the primary, also to be held on August 3.
The latest poll by Rasmussen Reports shows Romney endorsee Paul LePage maintaining a small but significant lead in his race for Governor of Maine. The poll shows LePage up on Democrat Libby Mitchell by an eight point margin 39-31; independent candidate Eliot Cutler takes 15% of the vote. Cutler’s share of the vote has increased significantly, more than doubling over the past month. Nevertheless, LePage’s lead has held steadily over Mitchell, possibly indicating that Cutler is taking equally from both candidates. With 12% still undecided in this race and the potential for the third party candidate to influence the shape of the race, LePage is not yet a lock for victory. Still, the continuing lead is not a bad sign.
According to a poll done by Public Policy Polling aka PPP, a reputable, though possibly moderately left-leaning organization, Governor Romney fares best of the Republican field against Obama. The hypothetical match-up shows Romney leading with 46% of the vote, to Obama’s 43% among 667 registered voters. Other top tier Republican candidates are also slightly ahead or tied, with Huckabee over Obama 47-45, and Gingrich grabbing a narrow lead at 46-45.Among independents Romney leads Obama by a significant thirteen point edge, 48-35.
The poll reflects a significant drop in the President’s popularity over the past year. His job approval is quite low with only 45% approving to 52% disapproving. Governor Romney’s favorability meanwhile remains relatively even, with 32% supporting him, 33% against, and still 35% not sure of their opinion of the man. This argues that Romney’s image, unlike Obama’s or Palin’s is not set in stone, and many conservative and independents can still yet be won over by his message.
To me the most interesting question of the poll is the simple question of whom participants supported in the 2008 election. Despite the party identification of the poll that sees a reasonable split of 39% Democrat, 34% Republican, and 27% Independent, the answer breaks down as 46% Obama, 45% McCain, and 9% Someone else/Don’t Remember. That certainly seems quite a bit off of the 53-46 split that the President won, with the difference being a particularly high percentage of people to who neither name seems all that familiar. Now, I know schedules can be busy, but I don’t think it is really that difficult to remember whom you voted for less than two years ago. I certainly doubt that they suddenly ran into a pack of 60 or so disaffected Nader voters.
So then what is it? Conservatives who did not turn out in 2008, uninspired by the McCain/Palin ticket? Or are these unhappy Obama voters, not so willing to admit their 2008 preference right about now… sort of like how the Allies in 1945 had trouble finding anybody in Germany who ever supported the Nazis? Judging from the cross-tabs, I’d guess a little bit of both. Either way it seems right now that those who are excited about getting out to vote in 2010 and 2012 are not of the same coalition that brought Obama to the Presidency in 2008. There is a long path ahead. Let’s hope that it isn’t pretty for the left.
This is something of a decline since the earlier poll that had Romney’s endorsement, Kristi Noem up by double digits over the incumbent Democrat. Nevertheless, the previous poll was taken shortly after Noem’s primary win, and was expected to have been showing something of a temporary post-primary bounce. After stabilized Noem holds a five point lead, and just under a majority of the votes. There is a lot of time left, but this is a very good sign that Republicans can pick up this seat.
Quick link for Saturday – a must read. Noted election analyst Charlie Cook finds himself stunned by the numbers coming through his Blackberry. Spoiler alert: November won’t be pretty for the Democrats. Conservatives are energized through the roof, ready to begin taking back the country.