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PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 4:56 pm 
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Monday, December 13, 2010

Independents on the GOP Hopefuls

Last week we took a look at how the various Republican contenders for President in 2012 do with Republicans- Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee hold the base better than Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin- and how they do with Democrats- they all do about the same even though Democratic voters like Huckabee the best.

Today we take on independents, which is where we see the widest variability in how the four Republicans do in the 7 states where we've looked ahead to the 2012 Presidential contest so far.

Romney leads Barack Obama by an average of 4 points across those states. Huckabee trails by an average of 4 points. Gingrich trails by an average of 11 points. And Sarah Palin is down by an average of 16 points. The differences in how independents respond to the Republicans are much greater than the differences in the numbers they get from Democrats or Republicans.

Even if you take Michigan and Massachusetts, which you could argue are biased toward Romney, out of the mix his average lead remains 4 points with Huckabee averaging a draw, Gingrich trailing by an average of 7 points, and Palin trailing by an average of 12 points.

Romney is clearly the strongest of the leading Republicans with independents...his problem is that he's also the least well liked of the Republicans with Republicans. The fate of his candidacy may come down to Republican voters making this choice: would they rather have someone they don't love that much who has the best chance of beating Obama, or someone they do love but whose chances of winning a general election are spottier. If 2010 is any guide Romney may not come out very well when Republican regulars are making that calculus.

The other interesting thing in these numbers is that across the 28 match ups we've tested so far- four potential Republicans in seven different states- Barack Obama leads by an average of 7 points. That's pretty remarkable coming off an election where Democrats were clocked with independents everywhere but it tells us two things: 1) this year's independent vote may have been an anomaly largely driven by more centrist Democratic leaning independents not showing up, which means Republicans are not likely to see the kinds of margins they posted this year again anytime soon and 2) these Republican candidates are really, really weak.

Posted by Tom Jensen at 2:09 PM ... efuls.html

Click on the link for full data, it's at the bottom of the article.

The happy Union of these States is a wonder; their Constitution is a miracle; their example the hope of Liberty throughout the world.
James Madison, September 1829

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