Four In Ten Republicans See Romney As Most Likely To Beat Obama

Despite the fact that he finds himself fending off challenges from Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich, a plurality of Republicans believe Mitt Romney is the most likely person to beat President Obama next year:

Four out of ten Republicans believe Mitt Romney would be the most likely candidate to beat President Obama in the general election, according to a new CBS News poll.

Romney, who has lingered at or near the top of the polls since the beginning of the 2012 presidential race, led Herman Cain by a 2-to-1 margin with 40 percent support.

Cain trailed in the category with just 20 percent, followed by Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry, each with six percent. Thirteen percent of respondents said they didn’t know which candidate was most likely to beat Mr. Obama.

Unfortunately for Romney, and possibly Republicans as well, at the moment electability isn’t the top priority on voters’ minds:

Electability, however, was not most Republicans’ top priority when selecting a candidate: 58 percent said they believe it’s more important to have a nominee who agrees with them on the issues than one who can beat Mr. Obama next year. Thirty-nine percent said the opposite.

This is the reason that Romney still finds it hard to shake off his challengers, and why GOP voters seem to keep searching for the not-Romney, even when every such search has failed to yield a plausible candidate. At some point, the GOP is going to have to decide if it wants ideological purity or if it wants to win.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, US Politics, , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held 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. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Just nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    Clearly, these people need legal guardians. They cannot cope with the responsibilities of life.

  2. Hey Norm says:

    Ideological purity or winning?
    The facts are against the Republicans…so ideology is their only option.
    Funny that 40% think Romney gives them the best chance to beat Obama. That leaves me believing 60% of Republicans are insane.

  3. You’ve got an ineffective President with 9% unemployment there Hey Norm, don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched

  4. Hey Norm says:

    An ineffective President? Or a President hamstrung by the most obstructionist Congress in history? What was Congresses approval rating again?
    UE was at something like 9.7% a year ago. Care to wager where it will be in 11 months?
    Not counting my chickens…just picturing the ad with Romney contradicting himself on every topic…ending with him saying he’s the model of consistency.
    Then there is the ad with the picture of Romney at Bain with cash pouring out his pockets and the pockets of his colleagues.
    Then there is the ad with him saying the Mass Heath Care Program should be a national program.
    Then there is the ad….well you get the picture.

  5. matt b says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    You’ve got an ineffective President with 9% unemployment there

    @Hey Norm:

    An ineffective President? Or a President hamstrung by the most obstructionist Congress in history?

    One does not entirely negate the other. The truth, such that it is, lies somewhere in between.

    Calling Obama ineffective requires someone to ignore the large amount of stuff he did get through. However, to be considered fully effective, a president needs to deal with an obstructionist congress.

    While I think that Obama has improved on dealing with that congress, it’s difficult to say he’s been entirely effective in doing so throughout his tenure.

  6. michael reynolds says:

    If even Republicans can’t stand Romney, I wonder why moderates would like him?

    There is something about this guy that seems to make strong emotional attachment — or even slight emotional attachment — impossible. What’s his hook? What’s his narrative? I don’t see the story that’s going to explain Romney to voters.

    McCain had a great narrative: war hero maverick. Which blew up when he betrayed his country by proposing Sarah Palin as veep. He burned his own story. But at least he had one to begin with.

  7. Gustopher says:

    Romney has a very compelling story — being born of wealth and privilege, he lives a life of wealth and privilege, but wants nothing more than to be accepted and loved by the common man with whom he has nothing in common.

  8. sam says:

    @michael reynolds:

    There is something about this guy that seems to make strong emotional attachment — or even slight emotional attachment — impossible

    Dude is the Oakland of American politics.

  9. Kylopod says:

    Let me say at the start that I believe Romney will get the nomination, and I do think he has a serious, if not overwhelming, chance of defeating Obama–certainly more so than any of the other Republican candidates (except perhaps for virtual nonentities like Huntsman).

    That said, one of the persistent recent themes in the right-wing media universe is that Obama is toast–he’ll lose to just about any Republican candidate at this point. If conservative media continue repeating this claim, a lot of Republican voters will believe it. And that will inspire them to vote for the candidate they like most (or dislike least) rather than the one they consider the most electable. Only if they recognize that the choice of candidate may determine the outcome of next year’s election will they begin to think more pragmatically. And even then, at least a few Republican voters may think “to hell with it” and vote for a non-Romney despite recognizing his general-election strengths, because seeing an “Obama-lite” is at least as bad as seeing Obama win reelection. (That’s sort of the reasoning I was hearing from Republicans who backed Christine O’Donnell over Mike Castle in the 2010 Delaware Senate race.)

    For several reasons I think Romney will get the nomination in the end, but I still think the anti-Romney faction will continue to be loud and vocal.

  10. EddieInCA says:

    How does Romney beat Obama if 20% of evangelical conservatives stay home?

  11. G.A.Phillips says:

    lol, you libs and not libs can make this fair I guess. So far Oramacare gets blown out….

    How does Romney beat Obama if 20% of evangelical conservatives stay home?

    Good point….Not to sure it will happen but something for the Oramacare lovers to consider.

    I myself would have to get behind him, and that will suck even more then the who I was forced to get behind last year!!

  12. Roger Vallone says:

    An obstructionist Congress … he’s had to deal with this Congress for 10 months .. he had a complete Lib Congress for two years .. what did he do then other than drive this country into record debt. The last election showed that there are over 60 million functional illiterates in this country and now I guess there are even more. If you are choosing a candidate because he/she approves/disapproves of abortion or the candidates religion or some other secondary issue instead of whether that person can beat Obama, you are just as misguided as all the pro communist people that voted for Obama in the first place.

  13. matt says:

    @Roger Vallone: A complete lib congress? That’s why he was able to get through every single nomination of his and why ACA came with the public option? Good grief get a grip..