Deep Dissatisfaction with Romney?

by John Sides on January 19, 2012 · 4 comments

in Campaigns and elections

Noam Scheiber:

The Romney can’t break 25% narrative may be overdone, but no other way to explain Newts resilience than deep dissat w/Romney.

I think there is another way besides “deep dissatisfaction with Romney.”  After all, the notion of Newt’s resilience is really built on about a 10-point swing in polls conducted in South Carolina.  It doesn’t show up (yet) in the national polls, and it’s unclear whether it ever will.  It depends on how the South Carolina outcome is spun  and whether the Florida outcome—where Romney is still very likely to win—immediately overtakes the news.  So I don’t think that late movement in South Carolina polls is a reliable barometer of overall feelings about the Republican field.

But more importantly, attitudes toward Romney are actually pretty favorable, even among supporters of other candidates. Including Gingrich’s supporters!

In a January 14-17 YouGov poll, 66% of Gingrich supporters said they had a “very” or “somewhat favorable” opinion of Romney.  About 15% were neutral.  The remaining 19% were unfavorable, but only 2% were said “very unfavorable”—which is how I would translate “deep dissatisfaction.”  The same thing is true of Santorum supporters: 57% had a favorable view of Romney.

Look, it’s clear that some Republicans would prefer a nominee besides Romney.  But, as Lynn Vavreck and I have argued (and see Nate Silver as well), we cannot interpret a vote for someone besides Romney as a vote against Romney.

 

{ 4 comments }

Geoff G January 21, 2012 at 11:24 am

I wouldn’t have thought so just a few days ago, but Romney is in a good position to beat expectations, and Gingrich is in a good position to fall beneath them. I assume that most party actors want Gingrich to lose and could easily spin a 5% margin for Romney as a trouncing. If Romney were already projected to win by 5-10%, he’d be in worse shape in the spin wars. Having typed this, it seems bleeding obvious, but I guess I’ll leave it here because a firm grasp of the obvious is almost as important in life as just showing up.

matt w January 23, 2012 at 10:29 am

I’m not sure that the comparison to 2008 (in the Vavreck and Sides piece) tells us much; I would have thought that 2008 was also a year in which the GOP primary voters were not enthusiastic about their eventual nominee.

Sanchit Kumar January 23, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Does anybody have comparable numbers for how many Hilary Clinton supporters viewed Barack Obama favorably in 2008? Just curious – I think it’d make an interesting comparison.

Kevin J February 10, 2012 at 10:14 pm

I found this article interesting yet I would like suggest a critique to the YouGov survey perhaps. I think it would have been insightful include an additional question asking “If Romney secures the nomination, would you vote for him or Barack Obama?” and then examine the responses for the somewhat and deeply unfavorable crowds. One can only speculate on what the data would show! Given President Obama is such a polarizing figure and according to the phrase “Republicans don’t fall in love, they fall in line” it might suggest that a vote for someone besides Romney is ultimately a vote for Romney.

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