Thursday, April 21, 2011

Poll Finds Few Favorites in G.O.P

But her standing among Republican respondents was the polar opposite: About half of Republicans said they viewed her favorably; 26 percent said they viewed her unfavorably.
Former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, was not far behind her in terms of name recognition. Among all American voters, he is viewed slightly more positively than negatively, with 28 percent expressing favorable views and 24 percent expressing unfavorable views. Among the poll’s Republican voters, 42 percent said they viewed him favorably and 15 percent said they viewed him unfavorably.
The poll was taken nationally Friday through Wednesday with interviews of 1,116 registered voters and 524 registered Republicans. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points for all voters and plus or minus four percentage points for Republican voters.
Over all, it showed that Republicans who are considering making presidential bids will have to woo a party that largely identifies with the Tea Party movement — more than half of Republican voters said they considered themselves Tea Party supporters — and has questions about President Obama’s origin of birth.
A plurality of Republican voters, 47 percent, said they believed Mr. Obama, who was born in Hawaii, was born in another country; 22 percent said they did not know where he was born, and 32 percent said they believed he was born in the United States.
While that might indicate that there is a receptive audience for the real estate mogul Donald J. Trump as he raises questions about Mr. Obama’s citizenship, the poll also pointed to potential roadblocks for him should he pursue a formal candidacy.
Mr. Trump has been getting considerable attention as a possibly strong contender, but just about as many Republicans view him favorably as view him unfavorably — 35 percent favorably and 32 percent unfavorably— and nearly 60 percent of Republicans interviewed said they did not believe he was a serious candidate. (Far more of all voters view him unfavorably — 46 percent — than view him favorably, 25 percent.)
If one Republican stands out in the Times/CBS News poll, it is Mr. Huckabee, who has his own show on the Fox News Channel. Roughly a third of all voters view him favorably, as opposed to a quarter who view him unfavorably. And among Republican voters, more than half view him positively as opposed to 11 percent who have negative views.
“Watching Huckabee on TV gives me a good idea of how he views things,” Floyd Petersen, a disabled contractor in Thompson Falls, Mont., said in a follow-up interview. “TV has made me know him better.”
When Republicans were asked whom they were most enthusiastic about, Mr. Huckabee was the second-most-mentioned candidate, after Mr. Romney. But the percentages were small: 8 percent named Mr. Huckabee, 9 percent named Mr. Romney and 57 percent could not name anyone.
How well a candidate is known at this stage of a campaign is not necessarily a reflection of where they will stand when the race engages in earnest. For instance, at this point four years ago, 77 percent of Republicans surveyed by The New York Times and CBS News said they did not know enough about Mr. Romney to form an opinion of him. Yet he was one of the better-known candidates by the time he dropped out in February 2008.
And the best-known and best-liked candidate at the time of that poll — taken in March 2007 — was former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York, whose campaign ultimately fizzled.
As the candidates go about building their organizations and raising money this time around, voters seem content to wait until the first caucuses and primaries get closer before solidifying their opinions.
“Right now. there is not one of the potential Republican candidates that I would be enthusiastic about even if they came out definitely,” John Pollard, a retired deputy sheriff of Tacoma, Wash., said in a follow-up interview. “I’m going to wait and see who runs when we get into the primaries.”

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