The GOP’s 2012 Paradox: Familiarity Breeds Contempt

A new poll of Republican Presidential hopefuls shows that the more well-known the candidate, the less-well they do in a head-to-head match against Obama:

The numbers:

Mike Huckabee is the only possible GOP contender polling ahead of Obama this month, at 47/44. Going from arguably most pleasant to most angry across the spectrum of leading Republicans you then have Obama ahead of Mitt Romney 46-43, Newt Gingrich 47-43, Sarah Palin 49-43, and Glenn Beck 48-39.

Huckabee is the only candidate we polled this month to post positive favorability numbers, at 35/32. That’s because he’s relatively inoffensive to Democrats with only 44% having an unfavorable opinion of him. Mitt Romney’s favorability numbers are only slightly negative at 33/35. The rest of the GOP folks are highly unpopular with Beck’s favorability at 31/41, Palin’s at 38/52, and Gingrich’s at 30/50.

We also asked generally whether people would vote for Obama in 2012 or vote for his Republican opponent and that came out dead even at 47%. Those numbers tell us 2 things: 1) that Romney, Gingrich, and Palin are all weaker than a generic GOP nominee and 2) that it may be a little premature to write Obama’s political obituary given that he’s running even at a very, very bad time for his party.

What this suggests to me is that the GOP needs to look beyond these four big names to someone new.

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, Public Opinion Polls, 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. Brummagem Joe says:

    It goes beyond these candidates. The Republican party has “name recognition” and it is disliked even more than the Democrats and yet all Republicans are convinced the electorate can’t wait to evict the Dems and install them. It’s a lot more complicated than that I suspect.   

  2. narciso says:

    Huck is the Republican version of Carter, sanctimonious, pacifist, very weak tea, he really
    is obnoxious sectarian, and not programmatically opposed to Obama, he’s lost much more
    then he’s won in this current cycle,