Poll: GOP Faithful ‘Still Waiting’

The news that Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels would not run for president further muddied a GOP race that has been described by some as "mired in mediocrity." Minus a Daniels entry, we asked a poll question regarding your favorite for the GOP nomination.

We offered five individual choices, but the overwhelming winner was "none of the above/still waiting" with 58% of the vote. Three of our individual options are already in the race, one (Jon Huntsman) is ready to make it official and one (Sarah Palin) remains a mystery. We posed the question before Texas Gov. Rick Perry became the object of speculation. A follow-up in a few months could reveal dramatically different sentiments.

The results of your votes:

  • None/still waiting: 58%
  • Mitt Romney: 13%
  • Sarah Palin: 10%
  • Tim Pawlenty: 10%
  • Jon Huntsman: 6%
  • Newt Gingrich (before his mass staff exodus): 2%

We move away from policy and politics with our current question: Do you consider Indiana a leading location for starting or growing a business? Provide your input at the top right corner of this page.

Will GOP Voters Be Cheering for “My Man… Tim?”

With Gov. Daniels out of the running for the presidency, candidates seem to be scrambling to fill the void of "calm, sober guy who can manage budgets." According to a recent article in the Daily Caller, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty appears to be vying hardest to be "the other Mitch Daniels."

In a Facebook town hall Tuesday, presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty positioned himself as the logical alternative to Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, who announced on Sunday that he would not enter the race for the White House…

Then the former Minnesota governor took one question on the subject of his education policies.

“In the state of Indiana, our governor has been really hard on teachers,” asked one girl. “What is your view of education?”

Pawlenty voiced a position on education similar to the reforms passed by Daniels in the last Indiana legislative session: school choice and vouchers, support for charter schools, and saying that education policy should be geared to help children and should “put their needs first, rather than the interests of adults in public employee union movement.”

The choice of the question seemed deliberate, as a way to position Pawlenty as the natural alternative for Daniels’ supporters.

There was a marked contrast between Pawlenty’s presentation and the way another candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, conducted a Facebook town hall last week.

Pawlenty sat at a table in Florida in front of the U.S. flag and a state flag. He wore a suit and tie and read questions off his iPad, conveying a serious atmosphere and emphasizing his tech savvy.

Romney, who has been accused of being too stiff and buttoned down, wore a shirt during his town hall, with the top two buttons unbuttoned. The town hall took place in Nevada, and in the background were a number of people who had volunteered to make phone calls to fundraise for the former Massachusetts governor.

Pawlenty’s town hall seemed much more produced and polished. But despite the fact that a Facebook town hall is meant to convey the idea that anyone can have access to the candidate, it was clear that both chose their questions carefully.

Critics argue his past support of cap-and-trade legislation will hurt him in the GOP nomination — and they say his milquetoast delivery won’t go over well in primaries. What do you think?

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.