Helping to Explain the Santorum Surge (or: Everybody Hates Newt)

Via WaPo‘s The Fix:  Newt Gingrich: The most disliked politician in America

A CNN/Opinion Research poll on Monday showed 63 percent of All Americans viewed Gingrich unfavorably, compared to just 25 percent who saw him in a positive light.

And today, a new CBS News/New York Times poll shows a similar split: 54 percent view Gingrich unfavorably, compared to 16 percent who say they feel positively predisposed towards him.

Those 38-point spreads between his favorable and unfavorable ratings are a new high for Gingrich in the 2012 campaign and tie his worst numbers from 1997, when he faced ethics troubles and a GOP revolt during his time as speaker of the House.

Those are some seriously atrocious numbers and vindicate anyone who argued that Gingrich would implode after South Carolina as soon as the public started paying serious attention to him again.  Newt just can’t take extended scrutiny.

Some interesting comparisons:

the numbers are worse than any national political figure The Fix could find in recent years — even, arguably, George W. Bush.

Sarah Palin, even at her most divisive, never saw her unfavorable rating rise above 60 percent in the CNN poll. And even when Republicans were demonizing Nancy Pelosi in the runup to the 2010 election, her unfavorable rating never climbed beyond the high-50s.

In fact, about the only politician who gives Gingrich a run for his money in recent years is Bush. But even when Bush’s approval rating languished in the 20s, his favorable rating — which is more of a personal measure rather than a job performance measure — stayed in the 30s.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Quick Takes, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    He even beats Nixon?

  2. PD Shaw says:

    You cocktail elites just don’t get it. The Republicans need to run an election of contrasts.

  3. legion says:

    I think it’s also pretty clear that Everybody Hates Mitt too; just not _quite_ as much as they hate everybody else. Considering the massive egos that would be on display (Newt and Palin are only the tips of the iceberg), I’d say a brokered convention could be one of the most unintentionally hilarious things any political party could ever do.

  4. MBunge says:

    If virtually the entire GOP establishment turned on Palin and was all over the media trashing her every hour for weeks on end, I’d bet her negatives would beat out Newt’s.

    Mike

  5. @MBunge:

    Yes, but then it should also be notices that the entire GOP establishment doesn’t want to go all over the media trashing her every hour for weeks on end.

    Let’s face it: Gingrich is a backpfeifengesicht.