One in Five Conservatives Believe Mitt Romney is Too Liberal

    NEW YORK , N.Y. – December 14, 2011 – It’s just a few weeks until the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire primary and the Republican nomination fight is, once again, going through some changes. But, one thing that has remained constant through the past few months is that Mitt Romney has been at or near the top. One reason, however, the former Governor of Massachusetts may not have quite sealed the deal with voters yet is that, even after running for Republican nomination in 2008, people may not yet be sure who he is.

    Among all Americans, two in five like Mitt Romney as a person (40%), over one-third (36%) say they like his track record as governor and one-third (33%) like his political opinions. But over one-third of U.S. adults also say they are not sure about Mitt Romney as a person (34%), not sure about his track record as governor (38%) and not sure about his political opinions (34%).

    These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,499 adults surveyed online between November 7 and 14, 2011 by Harris Interactive.

    Among Republicans almost three in five (58%) like Mitt Romney as a person, half (49%) like his track record as governor and 57% like his political opinions. Among Conservatives, these numbers drop a little. Just half of Conservatives like Mitt Romney as a person (49%) and like his political opinions (48%) while just two in five Conservatives like his track record as governor (39%).

    When given some statements about Mitt Romney, again there is a little bit of the unknown. Just over half of Americans (54%) say Mitt Romney is an intelligent person with one-third (32%) saying they are not sure and while half (49%) believe his business experience would be an asset, again one-third (32%) are not sure. Romney has also been charged with flip-flopping and 44% of Americans agree that his stance on issues depends on who he is talking to, not his core convictions, with over one-third (36%) not sure about this.

    However, just 20% of Americans say Mitt Romney lacks experience and is not qualified to be president with half (48%) disagreeing with that statement but, again, one-third (32%) are not sure. The issue of religion has also been raised and while 52% of Americans say Mitt Romney being Mormon is not an issue, one-quarter say it is (23%) and the same number are not sure (25%). The one thing that evenly divides Americans is if he inspires confidence personally. One third of Americans think Mitt Romney does (35%), one third says he does not (33%), and one-third are not sure (32%).

    Among Republicans, two-thirds believe Mitt Romney is intelligent (69%) and that his business experience would be an asset (67%), while over half (53%) say he inspires confidence personally. Just over one-quarter (27%) say his being Mormon is an issue but two in five Republicans (41%) say his stance on issues depends on who he is talking to and not his core convictions. His numbers are a little weaker among Conservatives as just three in five say he is an intelligent person (61%) and that his business experience is an asset (61%) with less than half (46%) agreeing he inspires confidence personally. Slightly over two in five (43%) agree his stance on issues depends on who he is talking to and not his core convictions while one-quarter (26%) say his being Mormon is an issue.

    Looking at Mitt Romney’s political ideology, one in ten Americans (8%) say he is too liberal, compared to 15% of Republicans and one in five Conservatives (20%). On the flip side, 16% of U.S. adults say Mitt Romney is too conservative. One-third of Americans (32%) say he is neither too liberal nor too conservative but almost half (45%) are not sure, including one-third of Republicans (34%) and two in five Conservatives (39%).

    If Mitt Romney was the Republican nominee, one-third of Americans (33%) would vote for him, 38% would not and 25% are not sure. Two-thirds of Republicans (65%) would vote for him, but just over half of Conservatives (57%) say the same. Two in five Independents (40%) would vote for Mitt Romney while one-third would not (34%) but among Moderates two in five would not vote for him (39%) while 27% would.

    So What?

    With the Republican primary this year, much can change in a week, let alone three weeks, so it’s still anyone’s guess what will actually happen in Iowa and New Hampshire. But, one thing is certain. For someone who in his second run for the Republican nomination, Mitt Romney has not done a great job of defining who he is and what he stands for. Others have defined him and that may be one of the main reasons he has not been able to run away with the nomination, even though he’s been the front-runner for almost the whole of 2011.

    TABLE 1

    PERCEPTION OF MITT ROMNEY

    Thinking about presidential politics, looking at the list of attributes, please indicate how you feel about each.

    Base: All adults

    Total Like (NET)

    Strongly like

    Somewhat like

    Total
    , Dislike (NET)

    Somewhat dislike

    Strongly dislike

    Not sure

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Mitt Romney as a person

    40

    12

    28

    26

    14

    12

    34

    Mitt Romney’s track record as a governor

    36

    7

    29

    26

    16

    10

    38

    Mitt Romney’s political opinions

    33

    8

    26

    33

    16

    16

    34

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding


    TABLE 1A

    PERCEPTION OF MITT ROMNEY – SUMMARY OF LIKE

    Thinking about presidential politics, looking at the list of attributes, please indicate how you feel about each.

    Those saying Strongly/Somewhat like

    Base: All adults

    Total

    Party ID

    Party Philosophy

    Swing States

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    Cons.

    Mod.

    Lib.

    2012

    2008

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Mitt Romney as a person

    40

    58

    30

    44

    49

    37

    32

    41

    41

    Mitt Romney’s track record as a governor

    36

    49

    29

    41

    39

    36

    31

    35

    35

    Mitt Romney’s political opinions

    33

    57

    18

    39

    48

    31

    14

    33

    34

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; 2012 Swing States are Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia; 5% states in 2008 are Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina and Ohio

    TABLE 2

    ATTITUDES TOWARDS MITT ROMNEY

    Please indicate whether you agree or disagree with the following statements about Mitt Romney.

    Base: All adults

    Total Agree (NET)

    Strongly agree

    Somewhat agree

    Total Disagree (NET)

    Somewhat disagree

    Strongly disagree

    Not sure

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    He is a very intelligent person

    54

    17

    37

    14

    8

    6

    32

    His business experience would be an asset

    49

    15

    34

    19

    11

    8

    32

    His stance on issues depends on who he’s speaking to, not his core convictions

    44

    18

    25

    21

    14

    7

    36

    He inspires confidence personally

    35

    8

    28

    33

    18

    15

    32

    His being a Mormon is an issue

    23

    10

    13

    52

    12

    39

    25

    He lacks experience and is unqualified to be president

    20

    8

    12

    48

    26

    22

    32

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding


    TABLE 2A

    ATTITUDES TOWARDS MITT ROMNEY – SUMMARY OF AGREE

    Please indicate whether you agree or disagree with the following statements about Mitt Romney.

    Those saying Strongly/Somewhat agree

    Base: All adults

    Total

    Party ID

    Party Philosophy

    Swing States

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    Cons.

    Mod.

    Lib.

    2012

    2008

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    He is a very intelligent person

    54

    69

    47

    60

    61

    51

    50

    54

    53

    His business experience would be an asset

    49

    67

    36

    57

    61

    47

    35

    49

    47

    His stance on issues depends on who he’s speaking to, not his core convictions

    44

    41

    51

    46

    43

    41

    51

    43

    41

    He inspires confidence personally

    35

    53

    23

    40

    46

    32

    25

    38

    37

    His being a Mormon is an issue

    23

    27

    26

    20

    26

    21

    24

    18

    20

    He lacks experience and is unqualified to be president

    20

    13

    28

    19

    17

    19

    26

    19

    20

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; 2012 Swing States are Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia; 5% states in 2008 are Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina and Ohio

    TABLE 3

    MITT ROMNEY’S POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY

    Do you think Mitt Romney…?

    Base: All adults

    Total

    Party ID

    Party Philosophy

    Swing States

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    Cons.

    Mod.

    Lib.

    2012

    2008

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Is too liberal

    8

    15

    3

    8

    19

    3

    8

    7

    Is neither too liberal nor too conservative

    32

    48

    20

    37

    42

    30

    19

    30

    29

    Is too conservative

    16

    3

    32

    12

    1

    14

    45

    18

    19

    Not sure

    45

    34

    45

    43

    39

    53

    36

    44

    45

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; 2012 Swing States are Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia; 5% states in 2008 are Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina and Ohio; indicates less than 1%


    TABLE 4

    VOTING FOR MITT ROMNEY

    If Mitt Romney was the Republican nominee for President, which is closest to the way you think?

    Base: All adults

    Total

    Party ID

    Party Philosophy

    Swing States

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    Cons

    Mod.

    Lib.

    2012

    2008

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Would vote for him (NET)

    33

    65

    8

    40

    57

    27

    8

    36

    33

    I definitely would vote for him

    16

    35

    2

    17

    33

    10

    2

    18

    18

    I probably would vote for him

    17

    30

    6

    22

    24

    17

    6

    18

    15

    Would not vote for him (NET)

    38

    12

    67

    34

    15

    39

    71

    36

    36

    I probably would not vote for him

    13

    5

    18

    14

    7

    15

    17

    12

    11

    I definitely would not vote for him

    25

    7

    49

    20

    8

    24

    55

    24

    26

    I wouldn’t vote at all

    5

    1

    5

    4

    5

    5

    4

    5

    5

    Not sure

    25

    22

    20

    22

    23

    29

    17

    24

    26

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; 2012 Swing States are Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia; 5% states in 2008 are Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina and Ohio

    Methodology

    This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between November 7 and 14, 2011 among 2,499 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

    All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words margin of error as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

    Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

    These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

    The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

    J40989

    Q905, 910, 915, 920

    The Harris Poll ® #127, December 14, 2011

    By Regina A. Corso, SVP, Harris Poll, Public Relations and Youth Research, Harris Interactive

    About Harris Interactive

    Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American and European offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what’s next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.