Poll: Primaries taking toll on GOP presidential candidates
March 5th, 2012
11:50 AM ET
11 years ago

Poll: Primaries taking toll on GOP presidential candidates

(CNN) - One day before the four Republican White House hopefuls battle for delegates in the ten states holding Super Tuesday primaries and caucuses, a new survey indicates that the fight for the GOP presidential nomination is hurting the party's image.

According to an NBC/Wall Street Journal national poll, four in ten adults say the primary process has left them with a less favorable impression of the GOP, with just over one in ten saying the primaries and caucuses have given them a more favorable view of the party.

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The survey, released Monday, also indicates that nearly 70% of people questioned used a negative comment when asked to use a word or phrase to describe the race for the nomination. That included six in ten independent voters and more than half of Republicans questioned.

Among the words or phrases used to describe the GOP: "Unenthusiastic," "discouraged," "lesser of two evils," "painful," "disappointed," "poor choices," "concerned," "underwhelmed," "uninspiring" and "depressed."

The poll indicates that the negative campaigning over the past couple of months has hurt the favorable ratings of the GOP candidates, including frontrunner Mitt Romney. According to the survey, the former Massachusetts governor has a favorable rating of 28%, with 39% seeing him in an unfavorable light. Among crucial independent voters, Romney's favorable rating is 22%, with 38% seeing him in a negative way. Romney's image right now is worse than any other recent candidate who went on to win his party's presidential nomination, according to NBC/WSJ polling.

But they survey does indicate that Romney is way ahead of his rivals for the nomination, with 38% of Republicans saying they supporting him for the nomination, his highest mark in NBC surveys. Former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania is at 32%, with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas each at 13%.

In hypothetical general election matchups, President Barack Obama has 50% to 44% advantage over Romney, and tops Romney by seven points among independent voters, and by 18 points among women. According to the survey, Obama leads Paul 50% to 42%, and beats Santorum 53% to 39% and leads Gingrich 54% to 37%.

The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll was conducted between February 29 and March 2, with 800 adults nationwide, including 400 likely Republican primary voters, questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

- CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • Polls • Republicans
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    What is the plan of the President as to where to put all of these people?
    If Obama has his way, on the welfare and food stamp rolls.

    March 5, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  2. Phil in KC

    The primary season is just giving voters a good look at the candidates. It's the candidates themselves that are giving themselves and the GOP a bad name. People are starting to see what they're really all about.

    March 5, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  3. vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    I am not ready as much as I wish I could to hand this election over to President Obama as of yet because there is too much of a wildcard out there and it has to do with that bunch we have in America that the right wing crazies try to appeal to...the ones that still either will not accept Obama because of his race or background no matter what he does in office. The GOP is going to go back to that "he's not one of US card" and even give rebirth to the "birther" craze if they have to if all else fails and there is still a faction of our nation sadly that falls for that. If that can be overcome then the prospects will be even better but I doubt if it will.

    March 5, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  4. jilli

    Ha! Let the contest continue...it won't be long before the candidates own family members won't even want to vote for them.

    March 5, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  5. Lolo

    The Republican/tea partiers do not get it yet. We are fed up with their ninsense. The true Americans who really care about our country will show them in November. This craziness has got to stop. Also @ Dominican Mama I agree with you. They have screwed themselves by bashing President Obama over and over again without lifting a finger to move the country forward. All they cared about was getting the black man out of the white house before he even got started. The racism that they have shown towards all people has done them in as well. I say good riddance republican/tea partiers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They were not doing anything productive anyway. Keep on listening to McConnell, Cantor, Boehner, Coburn, Limbaugh and all of the other old gray nuts in your party.

    March 5, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
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