Romney: Condorcet Winner?

Romney polls the winner in any head-to-head matchup within the GOP candidiate pool.

I have been meaning to write a post testing Newt Gingirch’s claim that if Santorum would drop out that Newt could then lead a unified conservative attack against Mitt Romney.  Some early polling that I had seen seemed to indicate, however, that Romney was a fairly consistent second place choice for the bulk of GOP voters.  That would mean, therefore, that while a Santorum exit might increase Newt’s support base, it would also help Romney’s.

Patience (or procrastination/busyness/whatever) can be a virtue, because instead of looking at cross tabs, I can now look at poll that has specifically tested this proposition.

Rasmussen’s latest poll shows the following at the national level:

Gingrich remains Romney’s strongest rival, even when the race is reduced to a two-candidate faceoff. When it’s Romney versus the former House speaker with no other candidates in the contest, it’s Romney 46% to Gingrich’s 40%.

Pitted against Santorum, Romney leads 50% to 38%.

The frontrunner holds a nearly two-to-one lead – 58% to 30% – over Paul in their one-to-one matchup.

The poll shows that at the moment (in the multi-candidate race), Mitt’s lead is seven points nationally.  As such, Newt’s theory of an anti-Romney coalition isproblematic, since the Newy v. Mitt number only improves Newt’s position vis-a-vis Mitt by a single percentage point.

Granted:  Newt is clearly the strongest of the challengers, but we knew that already.

(A Condorcet winner is one who, when paired in head-to-head contests in a pool of candidates wins all such pairwise contests.  Such a candidate may not be the plurality winner, however.  The only reason I provide a question mark in the title is that this is one poll-I am actually pretty sure that Romney is the Condorcet candidate in this pool–as well as the plurality favorite for that matter).

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, 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


  1. Tsar Nicholas says:

    I was surprised by this post, but only in the sense that I had assumed Gingrich and Santorum already had dropped out. That aside, this nominating contest was over the instant the polls closed in Florida. The remainder merely consists of window dressing and noise.

  2. WR says:

    Thanks for the new word!

  3. Tillman says:

    I get the idea Paul’s support would improve somewhat if Gingrich and Santorum dropped out, if only because the media would be forced to pay attention to him.

  4. RalfW says:

    Well, the news tonight out of MO, MN and CO will test your theory!