GOP Hopefuls Have a Long Road to Travel

There’s always a little skepticism when the latest poll numbers come out. Not that there isn’t value, but you typically need to closely consider the source, the questions and how they were asked. An exception, however, was a recent New York Times/CBS News survey on 2012 Republican presidential candidates.

The bottom line from the story I read: Whoever is going to mount a challenge to President Obama has a long road ahead of him/her. The public doesn’t have much of an opinion of the potential candidates at this point. A few highlights:

  • Nearly 60% of Republicans in the poll "cannot point to a single candidate about whom they are enthusiastic."
  • Percentage of Republicans who say they don’t know enough about these candidates to judge them favorably or unfavorably: Tim Pawlenty, 77%; Haley Barbour, 85%; Jon Huntsman, Jr., 94%; Mitch Daniels, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum fall in a similar range as Huntsman.
  • Even the "repeaters" have some challenges: Sarah Palin, 55% of all polled have an unfavorable view compared to 26% favorable; Mitt Romney, 28% favorable and 24% unfavorable; and Donald Trump, 60% of Republicans said they did not believe he was a serious candidate.
  • Mike Huckabee got the most support, viewed favorably by a third of all voters and more than half of Republicans. Still, asked who they were most enthusiastic about, 9% said Romney, 8% Huckabee and 57% did not name anyone.

But on the positive side, I’m sure all these candidates and their advisors will say there’s plenty of time to form that favorable impression. And four years ago at this time the leading candidate in this poll (most widely known and with a favorable ranking) was former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who never became a serious contender.

It will be interesting to see how these numbers evolve and how they stack up later this year.