GOP Base’s 2012 Pick: None of the Above

May 27th, 2011 at 4:00 pm | 6 Comments |

| Print

The Iowa caucuses begin in 254 days. Not only do Republicans not have a clear favorite, but polls routinely show considerable support going to candidates who haven’t even thrown their hat into the ring. Case in point, a CNN poll released Friday puts Rudy Giuliani at the head of the pack of potential 2012 candidates.

16% of likely GOP voters said they would support the former New York City mayor. One point behind is the probable nominee, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who picked up 15%. Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin finished third in the poll, picking up 13% despite being undecided on whether she will enter the race.

You can be forgiven if you were unaware that Mr. Giuliani was a “candidate,” since Giuliani himself seems not to know whether he is indeed running for president. Indeed, CNN says it was informed by a Giuliani adviser that the former mayor is not taking active steps toward getting in the race. The extent of Giuliani’s campaign activity is a single trip to New Hampshire.

John Avlon, a former speechwriter to Mayor Giuliani, candidly summed up the broader meaning of the CNN poll:

It speaks to the serious vacuum in the current Republican field.  I don’t know if Rudy will run – I take him at his word, that ‘the door is open.’ But the elephant in the room is that this is a weak crop of candidates, especially among the conventional wisdom front runners.  And I think we will see draft movements emerge in the coming weeks and months.  The key question for the GOP is what candidate can win a general election – and that means connecting with independent voters, who now make up more than 40% of the electorate.

There are two things to take away.  First, Mitt Romney is probably the frontrunner. The poll finds that if Giuliani doesn’t run, Romney emerges with a four point lead over Sarah Palin (gulp) and a six point lead over Ron Paul (double gulp). Perhaps more importantly, Romney also leads in the “second choice” category. 15% of the polled voters said if they didn’t get their first choice, they would vote for Romney (second place goes to maybe-candidate Rudy Giuliani).

The second, and perhaps more important takeaway from these numbers is that unless some dynamite candidate whom we don’t know yet gets involved in this race, the GOP’s nominee isn’t going to inspire much enthusiasm from the base’s voters – something they will need to contend with Barack Obama’s grassroots army. Only 16% of GOP voters reported being very satisfied with the current field of candidates. Only a quarter of voters will be enthusiastic if either Giuliani or Palin wins the nomination. Only one in five will be enthusiastic if Romney takes the prize.

Follow Jeb on twitter: @JGolinkin

Recent Posts by Jeb Golinkin

6 Comments so far ↓

  • gobsmacked

    The sad thing about the current GOP field is its destructive influence on political discourse. All the chest pounding and gushing about their love of country does not make up for the utter negativity of their recent rhetoric about how the country must be saved from….well from Obama I guess (even though things have actually improved under his administration, but let’s not confuse things with facts). Instead of owning up to positions and past successful stances and programs (Romneycare?) candidates are playing to the fringes. Now with Palin clackety clacking in her 3 inch heels onto the scene once again, that already negative divisive posturing will only get worse. Someone like Huntsman or Daniels are really the only non-rabid candidates that I see but with Daniels bowing out and Huntsman not declaring, the field is looking weak and unworthy.

  • nhthinker

    August 2003
    And the Republicans Are Called the Stoopid Party

    Interesting polling of Democrats:

    Two-thirds of voters — including two-thirds of Democrats — were unable to name any of the Democratic candidates for president, said the CBS News poll out Sunday.

    Now I realize that most of the populace isn’t as aware of what’s going on in the world as most of us bloggers are, but come on! Presumably, most of these Democrats voted for one of these guys for VP just under three years ago.

    Four in 10 Democratic voters said they were satisfied with the current field of nine candidates, while half said they would like more choices.

    Isn’t it strange that 67% of Democrats can’t name any of The Nine, and yet, somehow, since 40% of them are satisfied with their choices, then at least 7% of Democrats somehow know that there are nine candidates even if they don’t know who they are. But stranger still, at least 50% of Democrats want more choices, meaning that at least 17% of Democrats want someone else to run even though they don’t know who is running.

    I know this isn’t terribly meaningful, but do the folks at CBS conducting this poll have any idea how silly this is?

    The 2011 CNN Poll shows 70% of Republican primary voters would be enthusiastic, or pleased but not enthusiastic, if Romney wins the nomination. Ron Paul get a 63%- wow!

  • TerryF98

    “And the Republicans Are Called the Stupid Party”

    With very good cause. Most of the candidates are very stupid indeed.

  • indy

    Polls mean diddly squat right now.

  • Graychin

    The “elephant in the room” metaphor means an obvious fact that no one will mention. Its use here is misleading, because EVERYBODY knows and says out loud that the Republican presidential field is pathetic.

    Giuliani ran last time, spent a fortune, and how many delegates did he get? One? If he’s leading the pack in polls…..

    None of this carload of clowns can possibly win the nomination. But someone will.

  • Traveler51

    You can be forgiven if you were unaware that Mr. Giuliani was a “candidate,”

    When I read this line, I gagged on my coffee, laughing. My first thought was that this was a reference to 2008. On second thought, maybe I was correct.