Wednesday, December 14, 2011

GOP 2012 Polling – Gingrich, Romney, Paul – Endorsements This Week - Obama No Idea Economy Was In Tough Shape When He Took Office - Commentary

Now there are three - Romney Paul and Gingrich - image

Every pollster under the sun has been polling the GOP race, both nationally and in Early Voting and Swing States – the results depending upon the pollsters are fairly consistent both in GOP only and then national polls. The GOP only national polling shows both Gingrich and Romney in the same positions with slight changes over the past week: Gallup has Gingrich with a lead of 31% to Romney’s consistent 22% - also consistent are Ron Paul at 8%, Rick Perry at 7%, Michelle Bachmann at 6% with both Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman picking up 1 point respectively and those with No Opinion (or more likely those who will vote for whomever is the nominee) moving up 5 points.

Rasmussen, on nationwide “likeability” has Romney leading with 53% of the electorate having a favorable or somewhat favorable opinion, while Gingrich is seen as favorable or somewhat favorable by 43%, among Republican voters only However, Gingrich holds the edge on the “very favorable” category leading Romney by 31 to 22%, however, both men are tied at an overall “favorable opinion” at 80%, the balance of the field falls below 50% favorability, with candidates such as Huntsman holding low favorability due to lack of exposure nationwide (i.e. Never Head of/No Opinion). Although this poll is more of a “popularity” poll, rather than a “who would one cast their vote for poll”, it is of some import given the fact that those lesser known candidates nationwide may have some time to pick up points, taking away from one of the top tier candidates.

In a second poll on the strength of candidates Rasmussen shows both Gingrich and Romney as those seen as the “strongest GOP opponents for Obama – with Gingrich at 30% and Romney at 29%. This suggests that regardless of the poll or the pollster, the enthusiasm among Republican voters, and determination to nominate someone they see as being best able to unseat the incumbent, President Barack Obama with good cause – given other pollsters weighing in on the national contest.

Gallup shows Romney and Gingrich with a “slight” edge over Obama in twelve key swing states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. These are the states where Obama held an 8 point lead in 2008 over McCain. That said, Gallup shows both Romney and Gingrich (with Romney faring better) losing ground to Obama in the national polling. With Obama at 47 to 46% (Romney) and 50% to 44% (Gingrich). Although the President’s Job Approval Rating according to Gallup shows an historical correlation between the incumbent and former one-term President Jimmy Carter’s.

President Obama's 43% average job approval rating last month ranks as one of the lowest for an elected president in November of his third year in office. Only Jimmy Carter had a lower rating, at 40%. But Carter's rating surged in late November 1979 because of a rally in support after the onset of the Iranian Hostage Crisis, and he averaged above 50% in December. All recently elected presidents were at or above 50% in December of their third year in office. (Gallup Polling December 2, 2012)
Note: as of December 10th Obama held an approval rating of 45%/to 48% disapproval. (Gallup Polling Dec. 10th)

As much as one enjoys a poll, however, the polls most likely to be close in predictability are those that are taken three weeks or less out from an election, therefore, at this juncture, national polls, or polls in states with primaries beyond the 1st week of January are much less accurate. As of this point, two states are in the spotlight: Iowa and New Hampshire. In Iowa, a caucus state, polling plays a smaller roll than in other states, due to the nature of the ground game (the candidate with the most time in on the ground and the largest group of supporters would upend a candidate that may have spent millions on advertising, but had less of a ground game. Ideology also plays a factor in this state where half of the electorate is Conservative Evangelical Voters, with the balance either leaning Moderate or Libertarian. Which would go a long way towards understanding the latest polling reported by The Daily Caller where Public Policy Polling shows Gingrich and Ron Paul within a point at 22 (Gingrich) to 21 (Paul) and Romney at 16%.

The Poll also indicates that Paul is gaining over the past week on Gingrich, while Romney remains the same, and Bachman, Santorum and Huntsman have all gained in the past week. The only candidates remaining stagnant are Perry, Romney and Johnson (The other Libertarian in the race). Again with Iowa, polls taken at the caucus could be wildly unpredictable, but, generally speaking, the candidate (s) three weeks out from the caucus will either place first or second if they lead by ten or more points. A side note on Public Policy Polling, although a decidedly Democrat leaning firm, the level of accuracy in polling close to the race has been extremely consistent.

Finally, the President is on the campaign trail as well with Politico reporting that Obama’s latest “tactic” for holding a second term is to tell the public he simply had no idea of what he was getting into as far as the economy was concerned. The actual quote: "I think we understood that it was bad, but we didn’t know how bad it was,” Obama said in an interview with KIRO in Seattle. "I think I could have prepared the American people for how bad this was going to be, had we had a sense of that." belies the fact that at the stage where an individual is the party’s nominee, they also should be well enough informed of what is taking place, not only with the economy (He did, as an acting Senator, rush to sign the TARP program), but on foreign and domestic policy as well.

One would hope, every single candidate, both GOP, the President representing the DNC, and a host of minor party candidates, all understand the extremely difficult task before them. It will come down to who the voters believe have the best understanding of the situation at hand, and who is most capable of leading the nation forward. In addition, that individual must have a record of working successfully with both sides of the aisle, and sometimes disappointing those members of their own party who would prefer a more “solid conservative” or in the President’s case, a “solid Progressive” that does not bend. Unfortunately, when the President panders to a Political Party, then gridlock ensues. That is a key sticking point for voters in this election – gridlock. Those who are the final nominees (one is a given) will have to not only prove merit to handle the job at hand, but also the record and ability to work with both sides of the aisle, without compromising principles. It is a job that, frankly, for those either crazy enough or brave enough or egotistical enough to apply and hope to get the job done.

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