According to this McClatchy-Marist Poll, a plurality of registered voters nationally say they plan to vote against President Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election. However, regardless of whom voters support, the national electorate divides about who they think will actually win. Is there a Republican candidate who can mount a formidable challenge to the president? In an evolving Republican field, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney receives the backing of only 19% of Republican and Republican leaning independent voters. And, three of the top four vote getters for the Republican nomination are still on the sidelines.
“All signs point to a competitive 2012 election cycle,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “But, which scenario ends up ruling the day is still anyone’s guess.”
Second Term for Obama? 43% Plan to Vote Against President
Looking to 2012, 43% of registered voters nationwide report they plan to vote against President Obama in 2012. This compares with 36% who say they definitely plan to support him. A notable 21% are unsure. Little has changed on this question since McClatchy-Marist last reported it in April. At that time, 44% reported they planned to back someone else while 37% said they planned to vote for the president. 18%, at the time, were unsure.
Independents play a key role in Obama’s re-election bid. 43% say they would vote against Mr. Obama in 2012 while 29% are securely in his corner. Nearly three in ten independent voters — 28% — are unsure. The president has failed to make inroads with these all-important voters. In McClatchy-Marist’s previous survey, 47% of independents reported they would not support the president while 32% said they would cast their ballot for Mr. Obama. 21% were unsure.
While 70% of Democratic voters report they will unequivocally cast their ballot for the president and only 10% say they will vote against him, a notable one in five — 20% — are unsure. Not surprisingly, most Republicans — 85% — don’t plan on supporting the president while just 4% say they will. One in ten — 10% — are unsure.
Regardless of whether registered voters plan to support the president or the Republican candidate in 2012, voters divide about who will win. 44% believe the president will be victorious while 42% say the Republican candidate will win. 15% are undecided.
Looking at party lines, 67% of Democrats think the president will retain the White House while 69% of Republicans believe their candidate will defeat him. Independents divide. 44% think the Republican challenger will be sworn into office while 42% say the president will achieve a second term.
Obama Receives Majority Support Against Palin … Plurality Lead Over Rest of Field
While President Obama either leads or runs neck-in-neck with many potential Republican challengers, there is only one candidate over whom the president receives majority support. When up against former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, 56% of registered voters say they would support the president while three in ten — 30% — would back Palin. 14% are undecided. Little has changed on this question since McClatchy-Marist last reported it in April when 56% supported Obama, 34% were behind Palin, and 10% were undecided.
When the president is matched up against other leading Republican challengers, here is how the contests stand:
- The closest contest occurs between President Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Here, 46% of registered voters nationally report they would cast their ballot for the president while 42% say they would cast their ballot for Romney. 11% are undecided. Little has changed on this question since April. At that time, 46% backed the president while 45% supported Romney. Nine percent were unsure.
- When paired against former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, 48% of voters report they would vote for President Obama while 41% say they would cast their ballot for Giuliani. 12% are undecided.
- When Mr. Obama goes head-to-head with Texas Governor Rick Perry, the president receives the backing of 48% of registered voters while Perry garners 39%. 13% are undecided.
- Nearly half of registered voters — 49% — report they would cast their ballot for President Obama if he were to face off against Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. In this potential contest, 37% say they would support Representative Bachmann. 14% are undecided.
- When matched up against former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, the president has a 14 percentage point advantage. President Obama receives the backing of 47% of registered voters while Pawlenty garners 33%. A notable 20% are undecided.
Romney Edges Wide Field of Republican Primary Candidates
As the Republican field for 2012 evolves, is there a runaway favorite? Among Republicans and Republican leaning independents, here is how the contest stands:
- 19% for former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney
- 13% for former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani
- 13% for Texas Governor Rick Perry
- 11% for former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin
- 8% for Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann
- 5% for former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty
- 5% for Texas Congressman Ron Paul
- 5% for businessman Herman Cain
- 2% for former Georgia Congressman Newt Gingrich
- 2% for former U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman
- 1% for former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum
- Less than 1% for Political Activist Fred Karger
- Less than 1% for former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson
- 15% are undecided
What Matters to GOP Voters?
When it comes to the quality that is most important to Republicans and Republican leaning independents, 38% want a candidate who shares their values. Nearly one in four — 24% — believe it’s most important that the Republican candidate is closest to them on the issues. 20% say they want a candidate who has the experience to govern, and 15% say the most important quality in a Republican presidential candidate is that he or she can beat President Obama. Only 4% are unsure.
When it comes to Tea Party backing, 70% of Republicans and Republican leaning independents report that it makes no difference to their vote if a candidate is supported by the Tea Party movement. However, 20% say the Tea Party endorsement will make them more likely to vote for a candidate while 10% report it will make them less likely to vote for a specific candidate.