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7/8: The GOP for 2012

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7/8: The GOP for 2012

What is particularly striking about our recent national poll on campaign 2012 is the lack of definition of the GOP field of White House wannabes.   Mitt Romney, the generally recognized front-runner, has the support of a mere 19% of Republican and Republican leaning independents.  Not exactly emulating Secretariat’s run in the Belmont Stakes.  Romney is trying to make President Obama’s handling of the economy the central issue of the campaign in the worst possible way.  With his latest flip-flop, it seems he’s doing just that.

caricature of Lee MiringoffThen, there’s the bench, the second tier in the poll numbers.  What stands out about this group — Giuliani, Perry, and Palin — is that none of them, as of yet, is an announced candidate.  Does one, two, or three eventually get in and what does that do to a changing line-up that has already lost Trump, Huckabee, Christie, Daniels, and Barbour, media grabbing would be candidates?

And, then there’s the long list of niche candidates none of whom breaks into double digits at this point.  Is there a possible future nominee or president among them?  Sure.  But, it’s a very long way for any of them before they earn the keys to the oval office.

Despite this cloudy GOP picture, President Obama should not be drafting his second inaugural address just yet.  His approval rating is mired in the mid-forties and he’s at his lowest point in how voters assess his handling of the economy.  The latest unemployment figures are not likely to ease anyone’s economic anguish.

Not surprisingly, his re-elect numbers are not impressive.  Only 36% say they will definitely vote to re-elect the President, and 42% opt for the so-called “generic” Republican.  Here’s the rub.  When you replace the “generic” GOPer with the name of a specific Republican, President Obama opens up an advantage.  He even breaks fifty against Palin.

No doubt, this is a narrative that is still unfolding.  But, I sense it’s likely to be the storyline for some time.

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Lee M. Miringoff is the director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. Follow Lee on Twitter at @LeeMiringoff.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Al Pippin

    July 18, 2011 at 3:49 AM

    While Republican / Republican leaning voters may not, in general, like the particular choices that they now have, rest assured that once the Party’s nominee for the Presidency is decided, those same voters will feverishly rally their support (and more importantly so, their vote) behind and for that candidate – irrespective of their personal like or dislike for that candidate. I’m a 67 year old, former Democrat, turned Republican and I have never heard as many voters, from either Party, saying that they will vote for “ANYONE BUT…” (Obama, in this case), as I have in this past year. I’m inclined to believe that the enthusiasm gap, so strongly favoring Republican candidates in 2010, will be higher – possibly much higher, come November, 2012. Obama will not only be defeated in 2012, but rather resoundedly so at that. Mark my word!

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