Although I believe Romney's problems with conservatives to be real, I've come to the conclusion that PPP would like nothing more than Mike Huckabee to be the GOP nominee in 2012. Having said that, these numbers aren't pretty if you're in Mitt's camp.
We've polled eight states, not including Massachusetts, since the 2010 election ended. Romney has the lowest favorability rating of the Republican top 4 with conservatives in every single one of those states except Michigan, where he probably benefits from his dad having been the Governor. And it's not like Romney is just slightly less well liked than the others with conservatives- it's a large gap, particularly when you compare him with Palin or Huckabee. Romney's average favorability is 58%. Gingrich is next worst at 64%, followed by Huckabee at 73%, and Palin does best at 77%.Favorability among conservatives:
Not surprisingly given that they like him the least, Romney also does the worst with conservatives when Republicans are asked who their top choice as the 2012 nominee is. In six of the eight individual states Romney is last with conservatives with the exceptions being Michigan again and Wisconsin, where he narrowly edges out Gingrich to finish third. On average Romney gets just 14% with conservatives in these preliminary trial heats with Gingrich at 17%, Huckabee at 21%, and Palin at 22%.Percentage of vote among conservatives:
And because conservatives make up the lion's share of Republican primary voters, it should come as no surprise that his issues with them are now leading to poor numbers for him overall in these early snapshots. Of the last eight states we've polled Romney has led in only one- Michigan- and even there he could only salvage a tie with Huckabee. Huckabee has led in four states overall with Palin ahead in three and Tim Pawlenty ahead in his home state. Romney's average performance has been 15% with Gingrich at 16%, Palin at 20%, and Huckabee at 21%.Percentage of vote overall:
I see many of our regulars have weighed in on the comment section of PPP's report. Nice!
Read the rest HERE
Update: PPP expanded on this today.
Yesterday we wrote about part of Mitt Romney's problem with conservatives- they simply don't like him nearly as much as they do any of the other top Republican candidates for President. Today we're going to tackle the other part of Romney's- and any other Republican perceived to be a moderate's- problem with conservatives. They're likely to make up a much larger share of primary voters in 2012 than they did in 2008.If their recent surge to the right is any indication, the Romney camp is fully aware of this phenomenon. It also indicates that Mike Huckabee needs to fire his pollster.
Over the last six weeks we've polled folks who identify themselves as likely Republican voters in six states that also had an exit poll for their Republican primaries in 2008. Comparing the numbers by ideology on our recent polls with what they were for the last election makes it clear that a Republican electorate already dominated by conservatives has become even more so over the last few years.
-On average the percentage of GOP primary voters identifying themselves as conservatives in these states in 2008 was 63%. Now it's 73%. And not surprisingly in addition to the decline of liberals as an influential force in the GOP moderates are on the way down too- from an average of 29% of the primary electorate in 2008 to now 24%.
These numbers make it clear how severe Romney's problems with conservatives are- there just aren't that many moderate to liberal GOP voters left to prop him back up. There's been a thought that a centrist could win the nomination in 2012 if the conservatives cannibalize each other but I don't think moderates have a big enough piece of the pie to get someone nominated even if there are a glut of conservative candidates. The ideological composition of the GOP at this point is such that it's probably just flat impossible for someone perceived as a moderate to be their nominee.
The rest of the article and a detailed chart of PPP's data can be read HERE