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. Data Driven

    This poll matches other polls out there: Obama leads with independents, and he crushes any GOP candidate with women.

    Obama by no less than 6.

    March 5, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  2. shoegazer

    How could anyone but extremely fanatical get inspired by this insipid line-up of buffoons.It's a race to the bottom folks.

    March 5, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  3. The Real Tom Paine

    Oh, come on, folks. Everyone in the Tea Party wing knows the route is to be more conservative( sarcasm): the road to Defeat is passing through Looneyville.

    March 5, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  4. Scott

    16.7 million fewer 18-66 year old Americans are working in 2012 than in 2008. The percentage of non-working Americans in the 18-66 year old group was 33.5% in 2008, has increased to 36.8% in 2012. The total number of 18-66 year olds not working in 2012 is 84.23 million.

    16.6 million (8.3%) of unemployed 18-66 year old Americans are seeking work.

    Focus on jobs already.

    There will be 4.3 million 18 year olds graduating from High School in 2012. There will be 2.65 million new 67 year olds in 2012. The net increase in working age individuals is 1.65 million in 2012.

    What is the plan of the President, and of the Congress, as to where to put all of these people?

    March 5, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  5. MTATL67

    I have always stated that I do not believe in polls but the spread is large. Anyone of this Republican candidates would spell disaster for our country.

    March 5, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  6. Vince

    Thank you Tea Party! I'll be sending you a thank you card the first week of November. Keep up the crazy!

    March 5, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  7. Nellie Bly

    By the time the election gets here, the GOP will only have a lock on one demographic and frankly, the "old, rich white men" segment doesn't have enough participants to capture the White House.

    March 5, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    from the article:

    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.
    ----------–
    Negative campaigning has hurt favorable ratings? I would like to hear a detailed explanation of how they reached that false conclusion. The hotly contested 2008 Democratic primaries featured negative campaigning from both sides, and it only helped the favorability ratings of each candidate.

    No, their favorable ratings have fallen because the candidates are weak, and cannot live up to hopes and expectations.

    March 5, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  9. GI Joe.

    The repubs saying President Obama is wrong in his handling of Iran? HOW MANY OF THEM GET DAILY TOP-SECRET BRIEFINGS?

    March 5, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  10. Emmy Skaddittle

    Is there another voting block left for the republicans to alienate? they have already lost Latios, women, college educated...

    March 5, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  11. GI Joe.

    @Scott

    Ask all the big businesses that are hoarding their ever-increasing profits or expanding their over-seas jobs. THINK

    March 5, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  12. GI Joe.

    People should learn to think, and not just pick up on sound-bites from EITHER PARTY.

    March 5, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  13. ST

    What bad news for GOP especially Romney incase he is the nominee. Independents running away from him is something which he did not think will happen. If he will try to be moderate and win them over again, he has to declare he is NOT a "severely conservative". And if he does say so, the conservative will abandon him and not show up to vote for him come Nov. What a blunder?????

    March 5, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  14. Joe

    Obama has added over 5 trillion to the nations debt in 4 years. Of course that not taking a toll on his re-election..., as long as the Collaberating News Networks continues to not focus on it.

    March 5, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  15. Mikey

    @Scott – Where are you getting your information from? I would suggest you find a new source. Total employment was 132 million in December 2008. It is now 129 million. The total number of 18-66 year olds is less than 200 millioin people. if 84 million aren't working, that would be over 40%. Your facts are simply wrong. In fact, not even close.

    This is a frequent problem with conservatives on this site and elsewhere. You are drawing conclusions based on incorrect facts. I don't know if you are being misinformed, you are just sloppy with the facts, or you are lying. I don't really care. In the end, wrong is wrong!

    March 5, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  16. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    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."
    ------------------------
    Here's another one for you: "screwed".
    Really. This is just an excercise in democratic futility. The GOP HAS to go through these painful paces this year even though they and everyone under our sun knows they have NO chance. They effectively screwed themselves out of one when their first and ONLY pronouncement, the ONE thing they have been consistent about was making the President a one-termer. Game over.
    They screwed themselves into an inextricable corner, they've screwed what's left of their base out of viable choices, and they've screwed the rest of us who have to listen to their crap until this primary is over.
    Obama 2012.

    March 5, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  17. joe

    The bad image the GOP is getting is well deserved. They have done nothing in the last three years but obstruct and object and complain and undermine. It's about time they get the recognition they have earned.

    March 5, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  18. Al-NY,NY

    No self-respecting republican will take anything but a Rasmussen or Fox news poll seriously.
    -----

    Joe

    Obama has added over 5 trillion to the nations debt in 4 years. Of course that not taking a toll on his re-election..., as long as the Collaberating News Networks continues to not focus on it.
    -----------

    ummm. no Joe. The "collaborating..." as you call it (or is it "lamestream media") reports the news as well as anyone else. Since it is not hurting Obama right now, people know and it's reflected in the results, that he is not being held responsible for a lot of it due to Republican obstructionist policies and outright refusal to do anything real about the debt. They want it high so they can use it against Obama. Too bad thinking people see thru their plot and refudiate it

    March 5, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  19. Mikey

    @Joe – Obama Administration policy decisions have added $1T – $1.5T to the national debt, most of that tax cuts for small businesses and the middle class and stimulus spending to keep people employed. The primary reasons our debt has increased are the Bush tax cuts (the only time in history we went to war and cut taxes), the cost of the two wars, medicare part D, reduced revenues due to the recession, increased expenditures to keep our economy afloat. I know most on the right have either developed amnesia about how close we came to complete financial collapse or are rewirting history for partisan political reasons, but that doesn't mean you get a free pass to spread the manure.

    March 5, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  20. GI Joe.

    Romney's tax-cuts to the wealthy will (alone) ADD $3.4 TRLLION TO THE NATIONAL DEBT. Doesn't even count the wars he will start (with no funding, probably).

    I think every war should be paid for with increased taxes on everone, on EVERY DOLLAR THEY HAVE IN ANY FORM, before deductions and loopholes.

    March 5, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  21. Rudy NYC

    Joe wrote:

    Obama has added over 5 trillion to the nations debt in 4 years. Of course that not taking a toll on his re-election..., as long as the Collaberating News Networks continues to not focus on it.
    ---------–
    Maybe they don't focus on it because your figures are inaccurate. You include the cost of TARP, which was part of GWB's final FY2009 budget. You ignore the 8 million lost lobs during the two year recession that cut annual revenue by over $500 billion. The more the right wing blows that horn of yours, the more the right wing reminds people of how we got into this mess in the first place, and why.

    March 5, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  22. B

    Let the Food-fight continue, it is going to do them in this Fall!

    March 5, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  23. It Is Not Over Yet!

    Romney did not show up in Massachusetts to campaign and thinks things come automatically!! Just wait tomorrow we will show you how important we are.

    March 5, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  24. WhereIsPalin

    Is anyone confused about the latest poll?.......Don't worry.......I'm sure the next poll will clear up any confusion caused by this poll.

    March 5, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  25. T'sah from Virginia

    â–ºPoll: Primaries taking toll on GOP presidential candidatesâ—„
    And the General will "do them in" because redefining themselves is too late!!

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!

    March 5, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
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