September 6, 2011

Views of the GOP Field: Past and Present

26 and 49

Voters in general remain unimpressed by the GOP presidential field; opinion is mixed even among Republicans.

Voters remain unimpressed by the GOP field, according to a survey conducted Aug. 17-21 by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. As was the case in late May, prior to the Ames straw poll and Rick Perry’s entry into the presidential race, only about a quarter of voters (26%) say they have an excellent or good impression of the possible GOP candidates. Most (64%) say the candidates as a group are only fair or poor. Republican and Republican-leaning voters continue to express mixed views of the GOP candidates (49% excellent or good, 44% only fair or poor). In May, 44% of Republican voters said the party’s presidential candidate field was excellent or good, while 43% said it was only fair or poor. Of the party’s best-known possible candidates, only Mitt Romney and Rick Perry have broad potential appeal: 54% of registered voters who have heard of Romney say there is a good chance (16%) or some chance (38%) they would vote for the former Massachusetts governor. Nearly half (47%) say there is at least some chance they would vote for Perry, though an identical percentage (47%) says there is no chance they will support Perry. Fewer say there is at least some chance they would vote for Ron Paul (42%) or Michelle Bachmann (39%). Substantial majorities of those who have heard of Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich have ruled out voting them: 67% say there is no chance they would vote for Palin while 66% say there is no chance they would vote for Gingrich. Among Republican and Republican-leaning voters who have heard of each of the candidates, Perry generates slightly more enthusiasm than Romney: 37% say there is a good chance they would vote for Perry while 40% say there is some chance they would do so. By comparison, 28% of GOP voters say there is a good chance they would vote for Romney and 47% say there is some chance they would do so. Read More