Tuesday, July 7, 2009

2012 GOP Primary Polling (July 2009 -- Rasmussen)

Is Palin in? Is she out?

That's been what everyone has been trying to hash out over these last few days since the former VP nominee's resignation announcement Friday. Regardless of the answer, though, Palin remains among the top tier of candidates in Rasmussen's first poll of the 2012 Republican presidential primary race (a poll conducted after the announcement). The soon to be former Alaska governor continues to poll nearly evenly with both Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee and as a trio they consistently run about ten points ahead of former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich and well ahead of the other potential challengers.

Between the two early CNN polls on the race (here and here) and the newly released Rasmussen poll, there is a fairly clear picture of where things stand. There is a top tier of candidates that has been solidified -- whether they enter or not -- and an as of yet undetermined group of secondary candidates. And those options haven't significantly changed since last November's election. Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee had their hats thrown in the race by virtue of their showings in the 2008 Republican primaries. Similarly, Sarah Palin being tapped as the 2008 presidential ticket number two and Gingrich's continued outspoken manner kept the two of them toward the front of the 2012 presidential queue.

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Those four options have been there, but the darkhorse options behind them have emerged and faded very quickly for still being three years away from the next round of primaries and caucuses. By this point, it is a bit redundant to recount the stories of Jon Huntsman, John Ensign or Mark Sanford, but it is the candidates of that ilk who will likely fill out the primary field in just two short years. This time around, Tim Pawlenty and Haley Barbour are the secondary candidates included in the poll. And as has been the case in the CNN polls (with Bobby Jindal and Jeb Bush ), the candidates outside of the foursome mentioned above lag well behind. However, among likely Republican primary voters, it is this group of candidates that still has the most to gain. Opinion has largely solidified around Palin, Romney, Huckabee and Gingrich and it is overwhelmingly positive (favorability to unfavorability ratio) as one might expect for well-known, prospective candidates among Republican voters.

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And while the "not sures" are well into the single digits for that quartet in the Rasmussen poll, over a quarter of respondents are still unsure about both Pawlenty and Barbour. In other words, there is still a significant faction of likely Republican primary voters who have yet to fully weigh in on those secondary candidates. And there is still plenty of time for each to grow his or her support, but the second tier candidates have the most wiggle room and can yet make it up to the top tier.

Time will tell...

Recent Posts:
And Another Thing About Those Winner-Take-All Primaries

Happy July 4th! No More 'Politics as Usual' Palin Edition

State of the Race: New Jersey (7/1/09)


george kennan said...

I'm a bit stunned how high Pawlenty's unfavorables are for someone unknown enough to prompt so many "no opinions". Do these Republicans even know he's not a Democrat? I wouldn't be surprised if they were unsure.

But this was done 3 days after Palin resigned and it looks like despite what so many pundits thought, the move hasn't hurt her much at all. Even Michael Steele said 2012 is off the table for Palin now, but only Romney outpolls her. And what if her book is a huge hit and she raises heaps for Republicans? What if Huckabee decides not to run and there's enough anti-Mormon sentiment or mistrust of Romney's pro-choice past that evangelicals flock to Palin? What if the time off she uses to educate herself on national issues? Too early to write her off.

Robert said...


I think the high favorable marks and low unfavorables for Palin are a sympathy vote for someone believed to be unfavorably treated by the media. I would look for those favorables to go down and the unfavorables to go up in the next two weeks barring something else happening. Pawlenty's rap among the Republicans is that he is charismatically challenged such that he would have made McCain look dynamic if he had been chosen instead of Palin.

The biggest problem with Palin's press conference was that (1) she looked emotional and out of control and (2) Americans can forgive just about anything except being a quitter. The quitter mantra will be used against her and will be as devastating as the flip-flop label was to JFK II. I would say she is toast - just like RMN after "you won't have Dick Nixon to kick around any more" and WJC after his disastrous nomination speech at the 1988 convention.

If I were an advisor to Palin, I would tell her that she should work hard on her book, go around the country collecting IOUs from Republicans (even those she doesn't particularly like), educate herself on national and international issues (she was brilliant and articulate when discussing energy issues in the 2008 campaign), aim for 2016 not 2012, and run hard to the right for the 2016 nomination before running like hell to the center once she has captured the nomination. If that sounds vaguely familiar, it was Nixon's strategy between 1963 and 1968.

Great comments, George.