GOP’s 2012 Choice: Romney… Or Obama

June 7th, 2011 at 8:00 pm | 24 Comments |

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On the political spectrum, Barack Obama and Sarah Palin are polar opposites. Normally, that is. Today, the two figures have something in common: a new ABC/WashingtonPost poll shows that both figures are on political life support.

Actually, that really isn’t true. According to this poll, Sarah Palin should turn her bus around right this second because she has no future in national politics.

The poll shows that nearly two-thirds of voters said they definitely would “not” vote for Palin for president. These numbers are not just driven by liberal and independent opinion: 42 percent of Republicans say they’ve ruled out supporting her candidacy.

At the other end of the political spectrum, it’s hard to imagine things getting a hell of a lot worse for President Obama. His economic numbers are, well… horrendous. Almost two-thirds of independent voters (i.e. the ones who decide elections) disapprove of the President’s handling of the economy. Of those, more than half  said they “strongly” disapprove.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the poll may be that it suggests that Romney may well be the only Republican candidate that can actually beat President Obama.

Among all Americans, Mitt is running dead even (47-47) with President Obama…and among registered voters, the poll actually shows the Mittster running ahead. You might legitimately wonder how this is possible given the fact that Romney basically invented Romneycare. The answer is that four out of 10 Republicans surveyed had no opinion on the Massachusetts healthcare plan at all. That may be the case now, but rest assured President Obama’s team will educate those four voters about where the President got his brilliant idea for Obamacare.

All of that said, it still doesn’t change the fact that Romney polls well against the President while other candidates get absolutely slaughtered. Head to head, Obama beats Palin by 17, Bachmann by 13, TPaw by 11, and Gingrich and Huntsman by 10.

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24 Comments so far ↓

  • balconesfault

    Romney is far ahead of other GOPers because he at least sounds rational, on first take.

    But once the lights are shining on Romney to define how whatever he will do with/for the economy will be anything different than what GW Bush did … well, I’m awaiting that answer.

    And I suspect the Independents will be listening too.

    Because no matter how bad the economy might be right now … it’s one HELLUVA lot better than it was in January 2009.

  • ottovbvs

    47% approval is life support? A week ago he was at 57%. So in a week ten percent of the electorate have had a conversion on the road to Damascus. These polls are worthless.

  • jjv

    The fact is any Republican can bet Obama in 2012 if he plays his cards right. The best chance however is someone difficult to demonize. Romney’s Mormonism and flip flops make him vulnerable. The MSM is free to demonize Mormons and wants to, in a way it does not wish to demonize say-the Jeremiah Wrights of the world. His hold on his own base is suspect. Palin is not running yet so I don’t know why the focus on her. Tim Pawlenty is the Governor of a more important state than Massachusetts in that it has a chance of going Republican. Pawlenty is awfully hard to demonize. He does not yet have name recognition which is all the polls measure.

    Romney could not beat John McCain before his health care bill became poison. He will not be the nominee and he will not win if everyone else implodes and he gets the nomination. The constant plumping for Romney reminds me of NRO in 2008. I expect it will have similar if lesser effect.

  • think4yourself

    I actually find it amazing that Obama is doing as well as he is right now. Think about it; a recession/recovery that is running about 18 months slower than the administration hoped it would be – after pumping a couple of trillion in the economy, two year’s of incessant GOP carping including truths, half truths and outright lies. Spending all of his political capital early on stimulus and ACA. This speaks volumes to me about how weak the GOP field is and how they really don’t have any ideas that the American people trust (lowering taxes, especially when they are effectively at 50 year lows won’t do much).

  • Fastball

    Beg to differ that Pawlenty is hard to demonize. When it comes to intellectually dishonest pandering and expedient, groveling flip-flopping, TPaw gets the gold medal. When Romney panders, it seems forced and awkward, as if the brain behind the tongue knows regretfully that the fakery is untrue. When Pawlenty panders, he is smooth as silk, as if the brain behind the tongue has convinced itself that the lie being told is true and always has been true. There’s a word for what Pawlenty does – Orwellian.

  • NRA Liberal

    “Polar opposites”? You’ve got to be kidding.

    They’re both big-goverment, neoliberals the rest is just window dressing and rhetoric.

  • Saladdin

    Don’t worry, once the primaries start, every contender will be doing their best to take down Mitt. Happened in 08, will again in 12.

    • Jim in DE

      But then, that’s the point of the article, right? It’s one thing for GOP insiders to sit back while the other candidates go pinata on Mitt when there’s just a general sense that he’d probably fare better in a general election than they would. It’s quite another for them to do so when he runs even or slightly ahead of Obama in polling while none of the other candidates get within 10 points of him.

  • Deep South Populist

    Given that choice, I will take Obama.

    The people who run the GOP at the highest levels do not represent the interests of Red State America on any issues that matter. Their economic program doesn’t help anyone in the upper-middle class or lower. They don’t care about the Red State cultural and social agenda beyond lip service and rhetoric. And while Obama’s foreign policy program is bad, the GOPs is far worse.

    We need a new paradigm for electoral politics in this country.

  • ProfNickD

    Jeb Conklin said,

    independent voters (i.e. the ones who decide elections)

    Wrong-o. Most independents will ultimately vote Democratic — Obama, Kerry, and Gore all won the “independent” vote and two of the above lost.

    What matters is the conservative turnout and vote — conservatives outnumber liberals by 2-1 so the liberal vote really isn’t relevant. Conservatives also outnumber independents by about 25%.

    ( http://www.gallup.com/poll/145271/Conservatives-Continue-Outnumber-Moderates-2010.aspx )

    So, the way that the numbers shake out in presidential elections comes down to: liberals vote heavily (85-90%) Democratic + a majority (55-65%) of independents will vote Democratic + conservatives will vote heavily (85-90%) Republican = the Republican candidate wins.

    That didn’t happen in ’08: Obama was able to win a full 20% of the conservative vote, meaning that 8% of the electorate swung to the Democratic candidate, with no corresponding swing from Democratic groups to the Republican.

    The fact that liberals votes for Obama is no big deal — it always happens; the fact that a majority of independents voted for Obama is no big deal — it always happens; the fact that 1 in 5 conservatives voted for Obama is what destroyed McCain.

    (Why conservatives voted for Obama is a different discussion.)

    Bottom line: so long as conservatives turn out and vote Republican, the Democrat candidate really can’t win.

    Independents don’t have anything to do with it.

  • drdredel

    ProfNickD,

    I’m not sure where you get your numbers. Who are these “conservatives” that outnumber liberals 2:1? The vast majority of the population is most closely aligned with the politics of Denis Kucinich and Ron Paul (though they don’t realize it, cause they have no idea what either of those guys stand for).
    1 in 5 conservatives voted for Obama?! Seriously… think about what you’re saying. Conservatives wouldn’t piss on obama if he was on fire. Whoever these 1 in 5 people were that voted for him, they were certainly not “conservative” by today’s usage of that term. And if you’re referring to real conservatives, they’re not gonna vote for a GOP candidate since the GOP hasn’t seen anyone conservative in their midsts in 20 years.

    @ jjv
    The fact is any Republican can bet Obama in 2012 if he plays his cards right.
    These would have to be magic cards played by some magic candidate, oh and it wouldn’t hurt if Obama had a stroke, cause otherwise, whoever goes up against him is going to get crushed.

  • Houndentenor

    It’s very early to make predictions. A lot can happen between now and next November. No one should take anything for granted.

    About Romney and the Mormon religion….I was raised Southern Baptist and back in the 1980s I was exposed to a steady stream of anti-Mormon propaganda at church. I am not sure how much of what I saw in the videos we were shown in lieu of Sunday night services were an accurate portrait of what Mormons actually believe or not, but I know that has to have an impact on a lot of voters all over the south. No one is going to want to say out loud that they aren’t going to vote for Romney because he’s a Mormon but I think it’s going to be an issue. I could be wrong of course, but we will find out soon enough. He probably is the GOP’s best shot at beating Obama if the economy is not better by the 2012 election. I just don’t think he can get past the religious right.

  • Alex 0_0

    Memo from Massachusetts: Mitt is unelectable because of his flip-flops. Mittster ran as a pro-choice, pro-gay, no tax, moderate Republican. He ran ads saying he would be “better for gay rights than Ted Kennedy.” Yep. Shameless.

    Then, he flipped to anti-abortion, anti-gay Mormon weirdness, reaised taxes $700MM but called it “fees.” Yep. All this on tape.

    And besides, un-PC truth: I would never vote for a Mormon and neither would my Baptist parents (for different reasons).

  • TerryF98

    Romney would be our first “Cult” President. Americans will not vote for a cult member, and Mormonism is a cult.

    • abj

      If the Rev. Jeremiah Wright didn’t matter to the American people in 2008, I have trouble believing Mitt Romney’s Mormonism will matter to them in 2012.

      • balconesfault

        If the Rev. Jeremiah Wright didn’t matter to the American people in 2008, I have trouble believing Mitt Romney’s Mormonism will matter to them in 2012.

        There are two problems with this.

        The first is theological – people didn’t object to Obama’s association with Wright as his preacher because of theology. Wright and Obama and all the fundamentalists across America all believe that Jesus Christ was the only begotten son of the Lord our God. There’s nothing in the theological beliefs of Wright that any mainstream Christian would object to as a heresy.

        To the Mormons, Jesus Christ was a preexisting spirit who was exalted, just as Mormon followers hope to be exalted someday. The Mormons have wanted to paper this theological point over in recent times, but any Christian fundamentalist who wants to call out the Mormons for heresy has very solid grounds for doing so.

        Mind you – in my opinion this is one of the stupidest reasons anyone could pick for how they choose their political candidates of choice … but then I’ve heard a talk-show host here in Austin declare that he’d always favor a Christian against a non-Christian in any election. There are plenty of those stupid people, and our society pretty much gives them a free ride on their overt bigotry.

        The second issue is that Obama declared regarding Wright’s controversial statements: but these particular statements that had been gathered are ones that I strongly objected to and strongly condemned.

        I’m pretty sure we’re not going to see any such condemnation by Romney regarding any of the tenants of Mormonism that some Baptist idiot in Mississippi might object to. And nor should we. But it does make the situations totally non-comparable.

        Oh – and a third. The people who wouldn’t vote for Romney because of Mormonism by and large would never vote for Obama for any reason. The question is whether they show up, or go some weird 3rd party way.

        • abj

          Valid points. I should also point out that I personally didn’t spend much time thinking about the Wright controversy. Admittedly I didn’t vote for Obama, but if I were inclined to do so, it wouldn’t have affected my calculus one way or the other. One’s faith, and where one chooses to worship, is private matter as far as I’m concerned.

          “The first is theological – people didn’t object to Obama’s association with Wright as his preacher because of theology. Wright and Obama and all the fundamentalists across America all believe that Jesus Christ was the only begotten son of the Lord our God.”

          I hadn’t really thought of that and I think it’s a good point, however, Wright was portrayed in the media as something of an unhinged radical. I don’t think many Americans (white Americans in particular) really thought of him as a typical preacher because his sermons were so overtly political. They thought of him as a political, not a religious figure.

          “Mind you – in my opinion this is one of the stupidest reasons anyone could pick for how they choose their political candidates of choice … but then I’ve heard a talk-show host here in Austin declare that he’d always favor a Christian against a non-Christian in any election. There are plenty of those stupid people, and our society pretty much gives them a free ride on their overt bigotry.”

          I agree 100%. I grew up in the South and encountered a number of them over the years.

          “The second issue is that Obama declared regarding Wright’s controversial statements: but these particular statements that had been gathered are ones that I strongly objected to and strongly condemned.”

          True, but I’m not sure that’s what made the difference. As is so often observed, the American electorate doesn’t really think in shades of gray, which is what Obama’s explanation demanded. Ultimately, the issue receded into the background and outside events – specifically the financial crisis – came to the fore.

          “Oh – and a third. The people who wouldn’t vote for Romney because of Mormonism by and large would never vote for Obama for any reason. The question is whether they show up, or go some weird 3rd party way.”

          I think they so dislike Obama they’ll turn out in droves to vote for R-Not Obama.

        • balconesfault

          True, but I’m not sure that’s what made the difference.

          Here’s where you and I must agree to disagree. I believe that for many voters this made all the difference in the world … had Obama not repudiated Wright in this way, and distanced himself from Wright the rest of the campaign, a lot of voters would have had a hard time pulling the lever for Obama in 2008. At the end of the day, the charge ended up only really mattering to those determined to find something about Obama to hate, while those without that predisposition let it pass.

          Because I think Americans understand a certain shade of grey in this instance. Because almost ALL of us have someone who is close to us in one way or another who has used language that we find horribly offensive on one topic or another – a mentor, a family member, a teacher, a preacher. And we understand the idea of distancing ourselves from those instances of craziness or bigotry without feeling the need to total sever our relationships or repudiate every part of our association with them in the past.

          Obama spoke to that basic element of the human condition, and people listened. And all the economic bleeding and McCain’s illiteracy on economic issues in the world wouldn’t have gotten Obama elected had the electorate been convinced that the really did embrace the most radical preachings of Rev. Wright.

          Interesting side note is that Hillary’s team raising the original spectre of these charges served as kind of an immunization against the charges when they were raised by McCain’s team during the general election. It’s not so much that the issue receded – it’s that for everyone except for the most virulent Obama haters it was settled already.

  • balconesfault

    The problem with ProfNick’s statistics is that the branding campaign for conservatism, and demonization of the term liberal, over the last 40 years has been very successful.

    However, when you start eliminating the labels … and talking about issues. The American people are actually liberal.

    For some recent examples:

    CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll. April 9-10, 2011
    “Would you favor legislation that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from spending any money to enforce regulations on greenhouse gases and other environmental issues, or do you think the federal government should continue to provide funding to the Environmental Protection Agency to enforce those regulations?”
    Prevent EPA from spending 28%
    Continue funding 71%

    Gallup Poll. May 5-8, 2011
    “Do you think abortions should be legal under any circumstances, legal only under certain circumstances, or illegal in all circumstances?”
    Always legal 27%
    Sometimes legal 50%
    Always illegal 22%

    Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll. May 12-17, 2011.
    “What would you like to see Congress do when it comes to the health care law? They should expand the law. They should keep the law as is. They should repeal the law and replace it with a Republican-sponsored alternative. They should repeal the law and not replace it.”
    Expand 30%
    Keep as is 21%
    Replace with GOP law 19%
    Repeal and not replace 19%

    The problem the GOP has isn’t that people don’t like the conservative label.

    The problem the GOP has is that people realize that today’s GOP is driven by radicals, not conservatives.

  • DFL

    Better the devil you know than the one you can’t trust. Better to have a President Obama in 2014 than a President Romney. The difference is probably 100 House seats and eight Senate seats.

  • gmckee1985

    Lolz @ the GOP being “radical”. Truly a nutty thing to say.

    Romney could be Obama. Economy keeps on the way it is, and Obama will lose quite easily.

  • Graychin

    Newsweek, June 1995: Bob Dole 49%, Bill Clinton 40%

    NYT, March 1983: Walter Mondale 47%, Ronald Reagan 41%

    Any questions?

  • Diomedes

    ^1 Graychin

    The polls at this stage are absolutely meaningless. They are more schizophrenic than Charles Manson and can easily swing on a dime.

    The economy is still issue # 1. And it will be going into 2012. If we end up in a double dip and unemployment rises, that will be VERY difficult for Obama to overcome. But if things improve (albeit slowly) to where unemployment begins to abate and GDP growth speeds up, that will make things very difficult for the GOP.

    The economy is really the only card the GOP has to play at this stage. They can rally against health care reform (Obamacare) or the deficit. But these are just albatrosses at this stage since polls indicate that people WANT health care reform and they are also not buying into the GOP ‘fiscal conservative’ mantra. The GOP burned that bridge by voting for massive increases in government spending during the Bush years that were all purchased on the credit card. So they don’t have a leg to stand on in that regard. And the only other GOP flag waving attribute was their stance on defense. Well, that went out the window when Obama got Bin Laden.

    As the old saying goes: its the economy stupid. And that will be the make or break thing for Obama’s second term.