Assessing The GOP 2012 Frontrunners: They All Stink

Once again, the frontrunners for the 2012 GOP nomination aren't looking very good at all.

Professor Bainbridge takes a look at the top five choices in the most recent NBC/Wall Street Journal Presidential preference poll among Republicans, and he’s not pleased at all:

The top 5 answers were:

  • Mitt Romney
  • Mike Huckabee
  • Sarah Palin
  • Newt Gingrich
  • Ron Paul

I wouldn’t vote for any of them. In fact, they all give me the willies, albeit in different ways. You’ve got a dog abusing, serial flip flopper. A thin skinned, self-righteous guy with a bad case of foot in mouth disease. A vapid reality TV star with a (to me) inexplicable popularity. A womanizing ego maniac. A gold bug and general loon.

If somebody sane and electable (Tim Pawlenty? Mitch Daniels?), doesn’t break through, 2012 is going to be ugly.

Yea, I’ve got to agree. I’ve made my own problems with Romney. Huckabe, Palin, and Gingrich clear enough in the past that they don’t need to be restated. I’m probably more sympathetic to Ron Paul than Bainbridge is, but I wasn’t entirely pleased with some of the elements of his 2008 campaign, and I’d be more inclined to support former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson as the long-shot libertarian Republican standard bearer. Besides that, Ron Paul is not going to win and, given his age, I’m betting he isn’t going to run. Beyond that, the only candidate outside of the top five that both impresses me and seems to be electable on a national level is Mitch Daniels. Pawlenty isn’t impressing me at all, and if his book sales are any indication, he isn’t impressing many other people either.

That’s not to say that everyone in the Top 5 is unelectable. I actually think Romney has a decent chance of beating the President were he to get the GOP nomination, and Huckabee, maybe, an outside chance. Gingrich and Palin have no realistic chance of winning at all.

Like the good Professor, I am likely going to have to rely on the Libertarians to give me someone to cast a protest vote for. But, yea, at the moment 2012 is looking really, really ugly.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. James Joyner says:

    I’m in the same boat. Romney’s both my choice and the one I think most likely to secure the nomination out of the current frontrunners. But I don’t much care for Romney.

    I’m still hoping for a dark horse candidate, whether it’s Johnson, Thune, or someone else, to emerge. But it’s getting late in the game, absurd as it may sound nearly two years out. And that’s not an endorsement of either Johnson or Thune. Even though I follow this stuff obsessively compared to normal people, I know very little about them.

  2. Smooth Jazz says:

    “Professor Bainbridge takes a look at the top five choices in the most recent NBC/Wall Street Journal Presidential preference poll among Republicans, and he’s not pleased at all”

    Why rely on NBC, their sample looks kind of hokey with a 31/21 D/R split. A 10% differential in favor of Ds over Rs exists only in the minds of Chris “Tingle” Mathews and all the Obama cheerleaders at MSDNC and the Liberal echo chamber. For all we know, maybe FOX is closer to the truth with an Obama relect number of 41% and 51% supporting the Repub. If that scenario is true, just about ANY Repub candidate has a chance of beating Obama in 2012. Notice FOX’s poll was the most recent suggesting all the pro Obama press after the memorial “speech/pep rally” is wearing off.

    http://www.foxnews.com/projects/pdf/poll1.pdf

    I know, I know: You’re probably saying to yourself FOX is in the tank for Repubs so their polls are not believable, so why post it here. But what makes FOX is less credible that the Pro Obama polls from DailyKOS, Wash Post/ABC, NBC & CBS that you always post.

  3. His suggested alternates aren’t much better. Tim Pawlenty, for example, has been pandering to anti-gay groups lately.

  4. But what makes FOX is less credible

    Well, if nothing else, the fact the Fox Poll doesn’t ask the question the article is about kinda makes it hard to use.

  5. steve says:

    Electability will not matter to the base. I had some hopes for Mitch Daniels but the protests against his going to CPAC make me think he wont make it in the primary. It’s Palin, Romney or Huckabee (if Palin does not run). Palin takes it if she can continue to avoid real interviews and firmly attach Romneycare in the minds of primary voters.

    Steve

  6. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    “I’m still hoping for a dark horse candidate…”

    You won’t have to wait long, Herman Cain should join the fray very soon.

  7. Stormy Dragon,

    Well, if nothing else, the fact the Fox Poll doesn’t ask the question the article is about kinda makes it hard to use.

    Yea I was going to point that out myself, thanks for doing that.

    Also, I’d point out that the Top 5 in the NBC poll are the same people who have been in the Top 5 of every Presidential preference poll that has been taken to date.

  8. Squiver says:

    The dark horse is John Huntsman Jr.

  9. just me says:

    I am in the same boat, For various reasons I find each of those possible candidates unpalatable. Well I could probably vote for Romney if he is the candidate, but I would have a really hard time voting for any of the others.

    I am keeping my fingers crossed that somebody else comes to the forefront to run. I think the problem is that even though a lot of voters rejected democrats at the polls this November I don’t necessarily think they have or are going to reject Obama.

  10. This Guy says:

    Look, these horse races among all adults, which also include Independent adults, not just Republicans, are so useless in getting an accurate read. First, there is no National primary, the Republican sample is much too moderate/liberal to accurately reflect a true GOP primary population and at the end of the day Its a popularity contest, who has the better name recognition. This is really only notable in that Ron Paul is 5th, because it shows just how much his brand has been elevated since 2008 and in part by the TPM. But, unless you are screening for GOP Primary voters and reporting results by state, these kinds of questions are utterly useless and are slapped on a poll to get a general read and basically drive the news cycle, a la this post from Doug. But you wouldn’t see either NBC or WSJ leading with this data because of the inherent issues stated above.

    @ Smooth Jazz — You have to know the audience…A 10 pt DEM advantage on an ADULT sample is not out of bounds and among Reg Voters its closer in this poll most likely. Also, this poll is done by two top-tier Dem and GOP pollsters, FOX does not have this level of bi-partisan talent and perspective and so it is less fair and balanced from the get-go. There is NO way Obama’s re-elect is 41-51…as much as it would please me to think that is the case.

  11. PJ says:

    “For all we know, maybe FOX is closer to the truth with an Obama relect number of 41% and 51% supporting the Repub.”

    When the top five republican candidates poll lower than the generic republican candidate, then the GOP has problems.
    The generic republican candidate would that be something like the ghost of Ronald Reagan?
    That’s the difference, the generic candidate has no flaws, but all five top republican candidates have different flaws, and because of these, they poll lower.

    “The dark horse is John Huntsman Jr.”

    Huntsman won’t run in 2012. He’ll run in 2016 though, and he’ll be formidable candidate.

  12. Axel Edgren says:

    I wonder how many are always going to be ready to vote for Not Obama, even if their preferred choice isn’t the nominee?

    I also wonder how scuffling and damaging the struggle is going to be for the candidates. Romney is going to be branded as a communist harlot, for example.

  13. An Interested Party says:

    “Romney is going to be branded as a communist harlot, for example.”

    Not to mention how certain people in the Republican electorate will feel about his religion…

  14. anjin-san says:

    Pawlenty’s book crashed and burned. Look for him to make an increasing number of crazy statements in an attempt to appeal to the GOP base.

  15. Stephen says:

    Don’t put Ron Paul down so fast.

  16. Tano says:

    Smooth Jazz,

    Well congratulations. At least you managed a complete comment without whining about poor Sarah. But your whining about “”biased’ polls is just tiring, and juvenile.

    Lets look at that Fox Poll you reference.

    Obama approval / disapp = 47 / 44. As opposed to the last time they ran this poll when it was 40 /51. That is a huge 7 point swing to the positive, and away from the negative. From this you conclude that the Obama surge is “wearing off”. You a funny guy / gal.

    Oh, but wait – you made the “wearing off’ claim because the Obama vs. generic Repub. question only had Obama at 42%. But what was it the last time they asked the question? Gee, it was 39% ! I guess that is what you meant by “fading”.

    And oh yeah, the poll also reveals that partisan allegiance which had favored the GOP by 3 points in Dec., now favors the Dems by 3 points.

    But FoxNews has always been a bit squishy liberal, eh?

  17. Ron Paul is the only candidate that can win. I’m always amused when people masquerade as a conservative republican and dash the only candidate that is truly Republican and truly constitutional.
    Everyone seems to find that “one” policy of Ron Paul’s that they don’t like and then they try to crucify him for it. Some don’t like his stance on making drugs a state issue rather than a federal one (but almost all the states have already put laws on the books to outlaw them and only a few renegade states are trying to get marijuana legal).
    Some people don’t like the “Gold Standard” but Ron paul admits that it would be impossible to return to a gold standard in one term (and probably impossible in two). He would only move toward stabilizing the currency and making the fed more transparent.
    Some people don’t like his view on abortion – what’s wrong with loving babies? Bunch of communist baby haters (ad hominim I know).

  18. mantis says:

    Why rely on NBC, their sample looks kind of hokey with a 31/21 D/R split. A 10% differential in favor of Ds over Rs exists only in the minds of Chris “Tingle” Mathews and all the Obama cheerleaders at MSDNC and the Liberal echo chamber.

    I love it. Bainbridge and Doug look at a poll to discuss the candidate preferences among Republicans, and Kenny G comes along to complain about Democratic oversampling. Kenny, they’re only talking about how the Republicans responded. That’s 100% Republican and 0% Democratic responses.

    For all we know, maybe FOX is closer to the truth with an Obama relect number of 41% and 51% supporting the Repub. If that scenario is true, just about ANY Repub candidate has a chance of beating Obama in 2012.

    And if the Republicans nominate “Generic” as their candidate, maybe you’ve got a shot.

  19. ponce says:

    “I’m still hoping for a dark horse candidate…”

    Our past three presidents (including Obama) won the first time they ran fro president.

    It’s been a long time since the good Bush was prez.

  20. Rick Almeida says:

    “Ron Paul is the only candidate that can win.”

    As evidenced by his tremendous showing in 2008.

  21. Sam says:

    Doug: My thoughts exactly. Johnson is definitely my favorite — his message and record on spending are exactly what we need right now. He probably bucks party orthodoxy too much to be nominated… but, heck, if the so-cons are going to be vetoing social conservatives like Mitch Daniels anyway, we might as well support an actual libertarian.

  22. M1EK says:

    “ou’re probably saying to yourself FOX is in the tank for Repubs so their polls are not believable, so why post it here. But what makes FOX is less credible that the Pro Obama polls from DailyKOS, Wash Post/ABC, NBC & CBS that you always post.”

    Maybe it’s because Fox is the only one of those listed that ever went to court to establish their right to lie in their newscasts.

  23. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Doug, that you think Fox news is not the most accurate news source speaks volumns about your political leanings and your evaluation of truth. Megyn Kelly is a lawyer, like yourself. She however speaks truth and is photogenic. Those are two traits you lack.
    Who ever wins the GOP nomination will easily defeat this one term affirmative action President. Obama will not have the support of the middle, nor that of Wall Street. BP will not be donating to the Obama campaign like they did on the first go around. He will have the support of people like Jeremiah Wright, William Ayers, Francis Fox Piven and you Doug Mataconis., Obama will not reach 180 electorial votes. Don’t forget your reserveration at the crow fest.

  24. wr says:

    Shorter Zels — I know Megyn Kelly tells the truth for the same reason I know Sarah Palin does — because she’s hot!

    And there is the entire political philosophy of the Palinites.

  25. Kylopod says:

    >Our past three presidents (including Obama) won the first time they ran fro president.

    But only the Democrats (Clinton and Obama) could possibly be described as dark horses. Bush was the establishment favorite from more than a year before the primaries. In fact, the GOP hasn’t nominated a true dark horse in over 70 years–not since Wendell Willkie.

  26. Janis Gore says:

    Megyn Kelly is a good-looking girl but her rat-a-tat delivery drives me bonkers. She has a radio voice in a TV body.

  27. David says:

    Ron Paul is the only decent choice.

  28. Brian Knapp says:

    ZR3 – You are totally Triumph, aren’t you? Your sentence structure is starting to give you away.

  29. G.A.Phillips says:

    ***Shorter Zels — I know Megyn Kelly tells the truth for the same reason I know Sarah Palin does — because she’s hot!***

    Come on dude, who would you rather be brainwashed by? Keith Olbermann and his tie less twin brother?

  30. wr says:

    GA — When you start seeing two Keith Olbermanns, it’s time to put down the bottle…

  31. Neil Hudelson says:

    Brian,

    Now that you mention it…I do detect similarities.

    Do you think Zels has always been Triumph, even when they both posted, or do you think Triumph kidnapped the old Zels and took over the position?

    In either case, I miss triumph and his gravatar.

  32. Rostov says:

    If Daniels doesn’t win the primary, then it is likely Obama will get a second term.

  33. Michael says:

    And if the Republicans nominate “Generic” as their candidate, maybe you’ve got a shot.

    Best comment of the night.

  34. G.A.Phillips says:

    ***In either case, I miss triumph and his gravatar.***He became awesome after he mastered his relentless consistency.

    I hope that something unfortunate did not happen to him.

  35. Tlaloc says:

    Think you have it bad, what are the odds the dems will nominate4 anyone but Obama in 2012? Pretty much nil. Which leaves me looking at another green party protest vote.

    I guess we can pretend my protest vote and Doug’s protest vote cancel each other out 😛

  36. sam says:

    @Zels

    “He will have the support of people like Jeremiah Wright, William Ayers, Francis Fox Piven and you Doug Mataconis.”

    Speaking of Fox Piven, and Zels’s known propensity with threatening his opponents with violence, I wonder…

    Spotlight From Glenn Beck Brings a CUNY Professor Threats

  37. Jerm says:

    RON PAUL is coming up fast in the polls. http://www.FIGHT4TRUTH.com predicts RON PAUL will be the GOP Frontrunner in 2012!!! Sarah Palin is a quitter.

  38. JKR says:

    A Rasmussen poll in April polled Ron Paul at 41% against Obama’s 42% with Ron Paul dominating with independents.

    You’d throw that over for Gary Johnson? But then, imho, Ron Paul is such a better candidate, age doesn’t begin to touch the difference.

  39. Tlaloc says:

    so the paulbots are gearing up for another assault on sanity, huh?

  40. Michael says:

    so the paulbots are gearing up for another assault on sanity, huh?

    Oh heck yeah!

    Paul-bots vs. Palin-drones, this is going to be epic.

  41. matt says:

    Holy cow it’s 2007 again…

  42. mannning says:

    We are going to be subjeted to nearly two years of this prognostication crap. It has the fatal flaw of ignoring the possibility of highly significant events in the US and in the world during that time that would directly influence the choice of our leader and his party in 2012.

    But, it is fun to speculate anyway, even if events dictate someone not on the lists today. Two years is a long, long time.