The 2012 Republican primary race could be an interesting one as there are no clear front runners. All the major candidates have major negatives when going before the entire electorate, and some have significant problems even in the GOP. A new Public Policy Polling survey comes as no surprise in showing that Mitt Romney does the worst of the candidates they polled among conservatives. He comes in last at 14% behind Palin (22%) , Huckabee (21%) , and Gingrich (17%) in their polling of who conservatives prefer.
While Palin leads in this survey, earlier this month Public Policy Polling showed Palin’s Republican problem. There are plenty of Republicans who like Palin but they survey identified this problem: “It’s that a lot of the Republicans who don’t like her- in contrast to the Republicans who don’t like Huckabee, Gingrich, or Romney- aren’t willing to hold their nose and vote for her in the general election.”
Both of these polls show what we already suspected–conservatives don’t like Romney and Palin would have serious problems in a general election with even many Republicans defecting to Obama. It’s too early to say if this is part of a trend, but the Republicans might have an even more difficult time if Obama continues to improve in the polls. Politico, perhaps prematurely, reports on Obama Rebounding. This is based upon a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll which shows that 55 percent of Americans believe the countrywould head in the right direction under policies proposed by Obama. This is up from 49 percent in January, but still below 63 percent which believed this in May, 2009. His approval and disapproval are tied at 48 percent, improved from a disapproval rating of 56 percent in September.
Obama continues to receive more support than members of Congress of either party. Republicans come out the worst, despite their recent victories.The survey found that 44 percent of Americans believe Republican policies would lead the country in the right direction compared to 51 percent who believe their policies would move us in the wrong direction. Policies of Congressional Democrats were supported by 48 percent.
The next two years could work to Obama’s advantage. Polls show that most voters prefer Democratic policies, even if they did not realize they were the Democratic positions. If Obama manages to work out decent compromises with Republicans and provide effective government for two years, most voters will support him. If it turns into battles over policy, actually seeing a contrast between Obama’s positions and those of the Republicans should also gain him more support–provided he doesn’t make any other major blunders such as going back on his primary opposition to the individual mandate. On most issues, an outright battle between the GOP House and Obama could lead to independents and moderates turning out for Obama in 2012 in even greater numbers than in 2008.